How to keep your lawn green
Moss, disease, grubs and compaction
Moss is difficult to get rid of. Chemical controls aren't very effective, and physical methods, such as raking or hoeing, don't often get the job done. If moss is a problem, turfgrass isn't the best choice for the location. If your lawn receives less than three to four hours of direct sun daily, choose a shade-adapted ground cover or a mixture of shady perennials and mulches.
Diseases produce dead spots and pockmarked scars. The best solution is to water only in early-morning hours to discourage diseases. If you suspect a lawn disease, check with your garden center about disease-resistant cultivars or call a Master Gardener (available through your county Extension service) for help.
Grasses are full-sun plants. If your grass gets four or five hours of sun, consider shade-adapted species such as fine fescue, turf-type tall fescue, St. Augustine grass, or centipedegrass. If it's less than four hours, forget about it and plant shade-loving perennials or ground covers.
Ugly, wide-blade grass plants are usually crabgrass. Try to keep the lawn thick and green to naturally shade out crabgrass seedlings. As soil temperatures warm to 55° F., apply a preemergent herbicide such as pendimethalin. Consider a second application six weeks after the first.
Substantial dead spots in the lawn often are caused by grubs. Thanks to new products, grubs are easier to control than a decade ago. The key is to identify which species of grub you've got. Apply an appropriate insecticide about three weeks prior to egg hatch.
When soil particles get smashed from heavy traffic, the grass roots no longer have access to adequate air space for good growth. Clay soils are more prone to compaction than sandy soils, but any lawn can be compacted. A common symptom is water puddling after a rainfall. Aerate the lawn when conditions are favorable for growth. After aeration, consider top-dressing with dry compost to create a more favorable growing medium for the roots.
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