5 Common Lawn Care Problems—And How to Fix Them

Overcome common lawn blights and return your grass to its former green glory.

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  1. Get a Lawn Prescription


    A well-balanced, perfectly groomed lawn is the prize of the neighborhood. But having rightfully earned its reputation for fussiness, grass frustrates many homeowners with its high degree of unpredictability. Growing beautifully one day, your lawn can become a splotchy brown eyesore by the following week. Here are few tips for battling those common lawn problems that make us just about as crabby as our crabgrass.


  2. Dandelions


    These cheerful but malevolent weeds are lured by too much lawn traffic and too little calcium. Prevent dandelions by de-thatching and aerating your lawn annually. If any dandelions still manage to sneak through, spray them directly with diluted vinegar (an organic alternative to weed killer). Don't forget to have your soil tested, as it may be necessary to augment your soil with calcium to correct a chemical imbalance.

  3. Crabgrass


    This spiky weed starts competing with your grass (and winning) if you’ve mowed too closely. To help ensure that it does not make an appearance, lay down a pre-emergent herbicide like corn gluten meal. Combating existing crabgrass? Set your mower about two and a half inches higher, and water less frequently but for longer periods of time.


  4. Yellow Lawn


    If yellow is overpowering the green in your lawn, then your grass has fallen prey to iron chlorosis. This iron deficiency is often caused by highly acidic soil and can be corrected with an application of sulfur. For long-term prevention, avoid over-watering—a common cause of this condition.


  5. Brown Lawn


    The fungus that causes brown patches is most prevalent mid-summer, when warm nights and humid days conspire to keep grass from ever fully drying out. Water in the early mornings (before 6 a.m.), and be sure to water deeply. Also, take a break from fertilizing, as nitrogen can induce leaf growth, which in turn encourages the fungus.


  6. Ants


    Ants aren’t all bad: They can aerate your lawn, scavenge the eggs of other pests, and help decompose debris in your garden. However, if their mounds become too numerous in the grass, your appreciation for these tiny little armies might soon reach its limit. Take charge by raking down ant mounds as often as possible. At the same time, lay down a mix of Borax, water, and sugar.


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