What Causes Stress to Your Lawn?

Like any living thing, a lawn reacts to stressful situations by losing vigor. Under stressful conditions, your healthy-looking lawn can stop growing, start yellowing and turn brown before you even realize there's a problem.
 
You can maintain a healthier lawn throughout the growing season by learning what causes stress and the steps you can take to prevent it or minimize the effects.
 
Here are four common causes of lawn stress:

 

Foot or Vehicle Traffic

Excessive foot or vehicle traffic on a lawn can compact the soil, which reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches grass roots. If the grass is not getting enough vital oxygen, it can start to look thin and patchy. You can bring the lawn back to good health by using a plug aerator in the spring and fall.

Hot, Dry Weather

The combination of high temperatures and lack of rainfall in the summer can severely stress or even kill a lawn. The best way to help your lawn survive is to water it deeply once a week. To minimize evaporation and reduce the risk of disease, water in the early morning and give the lawn a thorough, slow soaking that provides it with at least 1" of water.

Mower Damage

Cutting the grass too short, especially during extremely hot or dry weather, can cause it to turn brown or die. To prevent this, raise your mower deck as the lawn's growth slows so no more than 1/3 of the grass height is cut. Keep the mower blades sharpened as well, so they don't shred the grass blades and cause unnecessary moisture loss. Also, instead of bagging your cut grass, put a mulching kit on the mower so the clippings can return their nutrients to the soil and help the lawn retain moisture.

Weed Growth

Weeds can quickly get out of control if a lawn is patchy or turning brown from other kinds of stress. If there are localized spots of weed growth, troubleshoot them directly and promptly to prevent spreading. When weed growth is widespread throughout the lawn, it's more effective to use a broadcast spreader to distribute the selected weed-killing solution across the entire yard.