It must be the dream of every gardener the world over to look out on a lawn that is perfect in colour and presentation. Achieving the right shade of green, with perfectly balanced stripes achieved by the meticulous attention of a lawn aficionado whose only role in life is to bring perfection to your garden!
That may be the stuff of dreams. Unfortunately, in reality, the lawn is probably the most difficult thing to get right in your garden, particularly if it is constantly being bashed and battered and used as a toilet by dogs and marauding children!
There are five distinct signs that your grass is suffering. These are:
- Patchy colouration, making the lawn look dry in places
- Thin and straggly grass fronds
- Powdery residue on the grass
- Damage appearing on the grass blades, such as lesions and spots.
- Loose and flaky adherence to the soil
These are all external manifestations of an unhappy lawn. In the same way that we human beings display outward signs of distress, which actually indicate that something is going on internally. You need to treat the cause of the problem rather than sticking a plaster over the top and hoping that it will go away.
Grub Infestation – a possible cause for dry patches
While some creepy crawlies, such as worms, are good for the grass, feeding it with nutrients and re-oxygenating it, there are some grubs that are more intent on eating its roots and destroying your image of perfection. You can tell if your grass has a grub infestation as not only will it have changed colour, but it will also feel spongey to the touch.
To treat this infestation, you can apply grub killer. Once you have killed off the grubs, rake up the damaged grass (preferably in the autumn), feed it well and keep an eye on it over the winter months.
Dog pee is not an alternative for watering!
While we may love our canine friends, their love of peeing everywhere in the garden is not so endearing. Dog urine contains high levels of nitrogen, and nitrogen is definitely not good for your lawn. When your dog pees on the lawn, the nitrogen in its urine is burning the grass blades, which is why you have discovered more and more brown patches in your dog’s favourite spots.
You need to retain your pet to not use your lawn as its own personal toilet. If you have the space, create your own ‘pet pee’ area lined with artificial grass, as demonstrated by a Strood householder who solved this problem once and for all. Over a period of weeks, you will need to be disciplined in not letting your animal enter the lawn, instead encouraging it with treats and lots of praise to pee in its own assigned toilet area. Locating this area close to a hosepipe means that you can simply hose down the artificial grass whenever necessary.
Is your grass deficient in essential nutrients?
The most obvious reason why your grass is not looking good is that it is probably deficient in a number of nutrients. The three nutrients your lawn is particularly hungry for are nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous.
If your grass goes pale and patchy, it is probably lacking in nitrogen.
A potassium deficiency will manifest itself through wilting and discolouration of the grass blades.
And if your grass doesn’t seem to be growing, and has a constant burnt out look, even after rain, then this indicates a lack of phosphorous.
In one or more of these cases, look for a recommended fertiliser to inject those nutrients back into the grass.