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How Do I Keep My Lawn From Browning in Color?

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Many people have experienced a "browning" of their lawns. This most commonly happens when your lawn goes dormant in the winter time, especially with warm season grasses. However, there is a another browning effect that can take place in the summer months when temperatures and drought take their toll on your lawn. Lets face it, water restrictions and high heat can be murder for the average lawn nut! However, there are a few things you can do to help remedy these situations:
How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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  1. Water your lawn! I know it's not rocket science, but it usually helps! The best time to water your lawn is in the early mornings. If you don't have a sprinkler system, then try to water frequently during periods of drought and high heat and saturate the lawn and soil as best as possible. For additional information, see: Watering. If you simply don't have the time and a nice looking lawn is a must, then you may want to look into installing a sprinkler system. You might not want to pay for one now, but compare the price to the time, effort, and money you currently spend watering your lawn and you might change your mind. For a list of sprinkler system companies in your area, simply click on: Lawn Companies & Services in your Area.
  2. Portable Sprinkler
    Portable Sprinkler
  3. Water your lawn a day prior to mowing it. This will allow the crowns (or tips) to recover quicker and help minimize the browning that often takes place on the crown.
  4. Do not cut more them 1/3 of the grass off during one single mowing. If you've just got back from a long vacation and the lawn is longer than usual, reset your mowing height so you do not cut more then 1/3 of the grass blades. After this "high" mowing, come back a few days later and cut in again to get it down to its normal cutting height.
  5. Know and start fertilizing your lawn yourself! Again, if this isn't up your alley, then simply contact a company that can do it for you at: Lawn Companies & Services in your Area
  6. Grow your lawn a little taller (see: How High Should I Cut my grass?).
  7. Try using a reel mower (see: What Mower should I use?) If you are getting half-moon or circular type brown spots where your mower was, think about using a reel mower instead. Even if you are following the 1/3 rule, and using a sharp blade while cutting your lawn, it still may be to thick for a rotary mower to effectively cut. Before you buy one, you might want to either borrow a neighbor's or rent a reel mower for a few weeks to see if it works and if the brown circles disappear.
  8. Learn about Lawn Diseases and Pests to try to identify the problem (if a disease or pest) and find a solution.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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