When it comes to a healthy lawn, looks can sometimes be deceiving. Most homeowners are content with their lawns looking green and cut, but that doesn’t always mean they’re in a healthy state. Checking your lawn for potential issues is important for keeping your lawn healthy all year round. The last thing you want is to ignore the signs and deal with even bigger problems later on. Here are a couple of telltale signs to look out for when assessing the overall health of your lawn.
The most obvious indicator of your lawn’s health is its colour. It’s normal for the grass to look a bit lackluster during the winter months, but of course this will depend on the species you’ve planted. Here’s how you can determine your lawn’s health by looking at its colour:
- Green grass – A green lawn indicates that your lawn is in great shape. This is mostly due to the presence of chlorophyll, which is responsible for absorbing light in order for photosynthesis to occur. Certain nutrients can determine how green your lawn is, specifically nitrogen which helps encourage accelerated growth above ground.
- Red grass – A red grass indicates that there’s a fungal problem in your lawn. If you spot red or pink tendrils in your lawn, it’s likely caused by red thread disease. Lack of oxygen and environmental factors like humidity and thick growth are often the culprits of red grass.
- Purple grass – While some types of ornamental grass are intentionally purple (fountain grass comes to mind), fescue grass is not one of them. Purple grass is mainly due to heat stress and it’s a major red flag that you should not ignore. Turn up the water, add some shade, and your lawn should eventually recover.
- Brown grass – Brown grass is the most alarming of lawn colours as this can indicate that the lawn is dying. It could be caused by serious fungal diseases like brown patch, grey leaf spot, and other overactive fungi that’s damaged the grass significantly. An investigation should be conducted immediately to identify the root cause and plan a restorative solution.
Sometimes colour alone isn’t enough to determine the health of a lawn, as you have to take into account its thickness as well to truly get an idea of its current state. You’ll know your lawn is thinning out when you take a close look and you can see right through the dirt. A thinning lawn can be due to a variety of factors like compacting soil, insufficient watering, disease problems, and too much shade. Even if the grass looks green, if it’s lost its thickness, then it’s an obvious sign that your lawn needs fixing.
Aside from visual cues, the way your lawn feels is also a good measuring stick to find out if it’s healthy or not. Healthy grass retains its shape and resists breaking when stepped on while unhealthy grass retains footprints easily. Get a good feel of your lawn by rubbing the back of your hand against the grass. A healthy lawn should feel soft and flexible whilst an unhealthy lawn will feel brittle and rough.
Some insects like ladybugs and ground beetles keep your lawn healthy by feeding on soft-bodies insect pests like beetle grubs, caterpillars, and worms. But other insects can prove harmful to your lawn as well, most notably army worms and chinch bugs. These insects thrive on dense thatch layers, which is why it’s important that you have the adequate amount of thatch in your lawn to keep such insect pests at bay.
Speaking of thatch, a healthy lawn should have a reasonable amount of thatch that does not exceed ½ inches. Any more than that and you risk causing extensive root damage to your lawn. You’ll know if your lawn’s thatch is at the right density when you water them. When watering, observe if the liquid sits on the thatch. If it’s not draining into the dirt, then the thatch is too thick. Consider dethatching your lawn with a rake or a lawn thatcher to allow sufficient water and air to keep your grass healthy.
These telltale signs will help you determine if your lawn is healthy or not. To ensure the health of your lawn, you should monitor your lawn care habits closely like lawn aerating, fertilizing, and watering to help create the perfect environment for your lawn to thrive. Look out for these signs and address them as soon as possible.