Signs Your Lawn is Unhealthy

signs of an unhealthy lawn

Much like a crying baby, our lawns do their very best to let us know when something is wrong. From changing colors to thinning to invasive weeds, our yards use these signs to communicate that unhealthy conditions are present.

However, unlike a crying baby, we can successfully interpret what our lawns are trying to tell us! If your lawn is showing any of the 9 signs on our list, it’s time to work on getting your yard back to health.

1. Footprints stay behind on the turf.

If you’ve noticed that your footprints remain visibly imprinted on your lawn after walking on it, don’t worry – it’s not a sign that you need to check the scale and hit the gym.

It is, however, a strong sign that your lawn is dehydrated. This sort of thing is common in the drought and heat of summer, so it’s not the end of the world, but it is an issue that needs to be addressed ASAP.

During some seasons, rainwater is simply not enough to keep your turf sufficiently hydrated. You’ll need to get on an appropriate sprinkler schedule and a proper watering routine.

If the issue is not addressed, grass may begin to wilt or turn a blue/green color. If your lawn remains dried out for too long, large brown patches are likely to go on display all through your yard.

2. Weeds are popping up all over the place.

Finding weeds in a yard is so frustrating that people don’t often stop to think, “why are there weeds all over?” The fact is that weeds are actually more of a sign that your yard is unhealthy rather than actually causing an unhealthy yard. Weeds thrive and aggressively spread in weak, thin spots in lawns.

If you see weeds all over the place, it’s time to up your lawn maintenance game.

Not only will you need to remove the weeds, but you should also get into the routine of regularly scheduled aeration and fertilizing services. You’ll also need to get into a proper watering and mowing habit.

3. Ground is hardened and may also have a puddling issue.

If the ground in your lawn feels tough and hardened, it may be a sign of soil compaction. This condition occurs over time due to the stress and pressure of weather and foot traffic.

All of this activity literally weighs down on your yard compressing the soil into a dense, infertile state that prevents air and nutrients from getting to the roots of the turfgrass.

Compact soil can cause a whole host of issues for your lawn, including dieback. The ground can also become so hardened that it is difficult for water to penetrate, leading to puddling issues.

Try sticking a screwdriver into the ground to check if your soil is compact. If it’s difficult to push the screwdriver in, your soil is likely to compact.

Core aeration is the best solution for compact, dense soil. Ideally, lawns should be treated twice every year to maintain a healthy yard and prevent soil compaction. 

4. Lawn shows yellow patches or is entirely yellow.

It’s pretty safe to say that no one wants to look out at their yard to find it looking like the yellow brick road. However, that may be what happens if you fertilize incorrectly. Yellow grass can often be a sign of fertilizer burn.

Apply too much fertilizer to your lawn, or apply it unevenly, and it can result in what is known as fertilizer burn. This condition shows itself in yellow patches or can even turn your entire yard yellow.

Fortunately, turf can recover from a mild case of fertilizer burn.

If you notice yellowing in your yard and think it may be fertilizer burn, run your sprinklers to thoroughly saturate the yard. Continue to water deeply for the next several days to help dilute the fertilizer. The next step you may want to take is hiring a professional lawn care company to take over your fertilizing routine for you.

5. Brown patches in the turf.

Although it is not always immediately clear what precise issue is causing brown patches to appear in your lawn, one thing is clear: brown patches = unhealthy lawn. Brown patches that are random and irregular in shape are often caused by pests like grubs or chinch bugs. However, brown patches can also appear due to drought stress or disease.

Brown patches can be very challenging to treat and repair. Start by reading our guide to brown patches. Next, you should contact a local lawn care company to definitively diagnose the underlying issue and devise a plan to restore the spots.

6. Your lawn is displaying green and yellow stripes.

If your lawn is starting to look like a yellow and green zebra, it goes without saying that something is off in your yard. Typically, when yards show stripes or regions of yellow-colored turf, it means that your grass is lacking in nutrients or getting the wrong balance of nutrients.

To restore a proper nutrient balance in your yard, you’ll need to fertilize – correctly, that is! Just because your lawn is showing signs of distress due to a lack of nutrients is not a reason to go overboard applying fertilizer.

This will almost surely cause more harm than good.

To learn how to properly restore balance in your yard, check out our handy homeowner’s guide to lawn fertilization. Another great option is to hire a lawn care company so treatments are regular and properly applied to avoid this issue occurring again.

7. Grass is thinning and turning brown.

If your lawn is starting to generally appear thin, weak, brown, and just overall lackluster, you could be mowing too short.

Cutting your grass too close to the ground is known as ‘scalping.’ Not only does scalping weaken your lawn making it more prone to weeds and disease, it could actually kill your turf.

When mowing, you should never cut more than 1/3 of the blade length at a time. You’ll also need to adjust your mowing routine throughout the seasons.

This means things like how often and how short you should cut your lawn change over the year. 

8. Your lawn has mushrooms growing.

The appearance of fungus in your yard signifies that your lawn is too wet. Excess moisture may be lingering in the soil for too long a time. Now is the time to get into a proper watering schedule.

To avoid moisture sitting in the soil too long, run your sprinklers earlier in the morning between 5am and 10am.

This will allow water to effectively penetrate the soil and roots and allow any excess moisture to evaporate through the day.

You may need to cut back on how much you’re running your sprinklers as well. If your lawn is wet enough for fungi to continually appear, then try out taking a day off your sprinkler schedule or shaving some time off each session.

It is also possible that too much shade is taking over your lawn, try trimming back some coverage to improve your yard’s access to the warm sunlight.

You should also have your lawn aerated twice a year to maintain healthy irrigation and improved drainage.

9. Turf turns brown and the blades look frayed at the edges.

If you notice that your turf is starting to turn brown all over, take a closer look at the grass blades. If they look frayed and torn, your mower blades may be at fault. Dull blades can rip and shred grass blades, quickly turning a lush lawn into a scraggly yard.

When your mower blades are sharp, grass should be cleanly cut across the top. If they look frayed or torn, your mower blades are not sharp enough. Have your blades sharpened and annually tune-up your mower.

Gecko Green is the top choice for a healthy lawn year-round!

No matter what ails your yard, Gecko Green has the #1 team to take your lawn from lacking to lush! Our lawn care program can give you the beautiful, healthy yard you deserve year-round.

Our team of lawn professionals understands that your lawn is unlike any other. This is why our treatments are customized to meet the unique needs of every property we service.

Call today to learn about our guaranteed services!

Call for a free lawn care quote today!