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Why Isn't My Grass Green?

by Laura Horwitz, All About Lawns Columnist

Diseases can attack any type of grass, turning your lawn from a vibrant green to a dying brown. But the good news is that other causes, such as stress, injury, or deficiencies, can cause the grass to mirror these disease symptoms.

My Grass Has Stress?

Environmental changes and improper lawn maintenance can make your nice green lawn wither or turn brown. What are some common causes of stress?

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  • Watering too much or too little
  • Using too much fertilizer (leading to excessive growth) or too little fertilizer (leading to nutrition deficiencies)
  • Using too much pesticide
  • Extreme weather changes, such as very hot or very cold temperatures

Green grass can also fall victim to injuries, such as heavy foot traffic and compacted soil, both of which can be fixed by aerating.

But What if My Grass Really Is Sick?
Unfortunately, disease-causing fungi tend to permanently lurk in the soil just waiting for a moment when the grass's defenses are down, such as when it’s been injured, under stress, or suffering from a water or nutrition deficiency. That's why proper lawn maintenance is so important for keeping your luscious grass green.

But if disease has struck, don’t fear. There's usually a cure. Most diseases have very specific symptoms. For instance:

  • Fairy ring: signs include dark green circle or semi-circle, either with or without mushrooms present.
  • Leaf spot: signs include a gray, tan, or brown appearance to the grass, with tan, red, or purple spots.
  • Powdery mildew: grass looks like it’s been covered in dust and eventually turns brown.

Fortunately, these symptoms make diseases easy to identify. Simply consult a local gardening center or gardening book, examine the symptoms, and find out what you need to do. You should have your green grass back in no time.

About the Author
Laura Horwitz has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for five years in both London and the US. She had a monthly landscaping and tips column for the Sussex County magazine RH Review, and her articles have appeared in Film Focus, 6 Degrees Film, and BizBash magazine.

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