Early Signs of Damage to Your Lawn or Garden and How To Address Them

11–12 minutes to read| Updated for 2022
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One of the most frustrating things about being a homeowner is dealing with damage to your lawn or garden. Whether it’s due to pests, weather, or simply poor care, seeing your once-lush green space turn brown and barren can be heartbreaking.

The good news is that there are usually early signs of damage that can help you address the problem before it gets too out of hand.

Identifying and Fixing Common Lawn Problems

Damage to the lawn can come in many forms. Some common signs of damage include brown patches, wilting grass, and an increased number of weeds. You need to be able to identify these problems so that you can determine the best course of action.

However, not all easy problems are easy to spot or treat on your own. Although there are plenty of DIY solutions available for small problems, if you are experiencing bigger issues or having trouble identifying the source of the problem, you can consult a professional lawn care company or even an exterminator.

Brown Patches of Grass

Brown patches of grass are one of the most common lawn problems people face. These patches can appear for various reasons, and diagnosing the cause can be tricky.

However, there are some signs you can look for that may help you identify the problem.

Some possible causes of brown patches include:

  • Disease
  • Pests
  • Poor drainage
  • Compacted soil
  • Excessive thatch
  • Lack of nutrients

If you notice any of these signs on your lawn, it’s important to take action right away. Left untreated, brown patches can spread and kill your grass. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to fix the problem.

If you’re unsure what’s causing the brown patches, the first step is to have your soil tested. This will help you determine if any nutrient deficiencies need to be addressed.

Once you know what’s causing the brown patches, you can take steps to fix the problem. For example, you can amend the soil with fertilizer if it’s a nutrient deficiency. You can also aerate the lawn to improve drainage if the problem is compacted soil.

These steps will help you eliminate brown patches and have a healthy, green lawn again.

Overall Grass Discoloration

There are a few different reasons why your grass may be discolored. If you’re unsure what the cause is, examine your lawn care routine and see if anything has changed recently. Then, make the necessary adjustments to get your grass to look green and healthy again. For example, if you’re watering your lawn properly, then too much or too little fertilizer could cause discoloration. Make sure you’re using the right type and amount of fertilizer for your grass type and lawn size.

Pests and diseases can also cause problems with your grass. If you see any signs of pests, such as signs of nesting, chewed-up grass, or holes in the yard, take action right away. You might have a rat infestation that could eventually lead to the inside of your house as well, which could cause even more damage to the structure of your home.

You should also stay equally vigilant against signs of disease. Be on the lookout for brown patches, wilting, or discoloration. If you see any of these signs, you can treat the affected area immediately with different kinds of chemical treatment.

Unhealthy Lawn Discolored and Patchy

Spongy Feeling Underfoot

Spongy feeling lawns are usually the result of one of a few things: overwatering, grubs, or fungus. If your lawn feels spongy when you walk on it, chances are good that one of these is the culprit.

  • Overwatering is probably the most common cause of a spongy feeling lawn. When you overwater your lawn, the soil becomes saturated and can no longer drain properly. This leads to waterlogged soil, which in turn leads to a spongy feeling lawn. If you think you may be overwatering your lawn, the best course of action is to cut back on watering and aerate it until the soil has a chance to dry out.
  • Grubs are another culprit behind spongy lawns. Lawns with grubs with them may also have dry, dead patches of grass, and other pests ripping up the grass to eat at the grubs underneath. Grubs are the larval stage of certain types of beetles, and they feed on the roots of grasses. If you suspect that grubs cause your spongy lawn, you should contact a pest control professional to eliminate them.
  • Thatch, a type of fungi in your lawn may also cause a spongy feeling lawn. Although it’s okay to have some thatch in your lawn, too much can deprive the oxygen your lawn needs to survive. You can easily treat this by “scarifying” the lawn with a rake or another scarifier.

Visible Mushrooms or Other Fungus

If you see mushrooms or other fungi growing in your lawn, it’s a sign that there is too much moisture present. This could be due to overwatering, poor drainage, or compacted soil.

To fix the problem, start by reducing the amount of water your lawn gets. If necessary, improve drainage by aerating the soil and adding organic matter.

Be sure to rake up and remove any dead grass, leaves, or other debris that could be harboring fungus spores. Finally, treat the affected area with a fungicide.

Mounds of Dirt in the Grass

One common lawn problem is the presence of mounds of dirt in the grass. This is likely a sign of burrowing pests like gophers, groundhogs, fire ants, or ground-nesting bees. If you see these mounds of dirt, it’s important to take action to get rid of the pests before you cause serious damage to your lawn.

Here are some tips for getting rid of these pests:

  • Gophers or groundhogs — For these pests, set up a live trap and baited with food that will attract the pests. Once you’ve caught the pest, release it far away from your property.
  • Fire ants — There are special insecticides that you can buy to get rid of the ants. Be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully.
  • Ground-nesting bees — It’s best to leave them alone. you aren’t harmful and will eventually move on. However, if you are causing a nuisance, you can try to smoke them out by lighting a smudge pot and placing it near the nest.

Gopher holes in a green lawn creating an uneven and broken surface

Signs of Garden Damage

Although there are plenty of problems associated with lawn damage, they may not be the same problems you experience in your garden, or at least they may not look the same. Many problems in your lawn could potentially leak into your garden as well, but they may look a little bit different.

Here are some things to look for:

Wilted Plants

Wilting plants are another common garden problem. This can be caused by heat stress, drought, or even disease. Many plants or flowers can experience this, and if you find them wilting more than normal, you can provide more shade for them and water them more frequently.

If drought is the issue, you will need to water your plants more deeply and less frequently. If disease is the cause, you may need to treat your plants with a fungicide or herbicide.

Discolored or Blotchy Leaves

You may also come across discolored or blotchy leaves in your garden. Some of the most common causes include injury from the sun, fertilizers, and certain types of fungus or pests.

To fix these problems, it is important first to identify the cause. Although blotchy-colored leaves are difficult to spot, they’re typically one of the first indicators that your plants are experiencing a decline in health. Once you discover the cause, you can properly take steps to correct it or consult a professional. know what is causing the problem, you can take steps to correct it.

Wilting house plant with yellow leaves

Holes in Leaves

Many gardeners and homeowners have experienced the frustration of finding their beloved plants covered in holes. While there are many potential causes, most often, holes in leaves are caused by plant-eating pests like ants, slugs, or caterpillars. These pests may also leave behind black droppings or slime trails.

To get rid of these pests, you’ll first need to identify them correctly. This can be done by observing the holes in the leaves and comparing them to pictures of common pests.

Once you’ve identified the pest, you can get rid of them using traps, baits, or chemicals specific to that type of pest.

In some cases, holes in leaves may be caused by disease or fungal growth. If you suspect this is the case, you’ll need to take a sample of the affected leaves to a garden center or nursery for diagnosis.

Mounds or Runways in the Dirt

Just like lawns, gardens can also experience mounds in the dirt, which are also caused by rodents, such as voles, and can be a real nuisance.

There are a few different ways to get rid of rodents on your lawn. However, if you have a serious infestation, you may need to call in a professional. If you’re getting rid of rodents on your own, here are a couple of methods:

  • Traps — They’re relatively inexpensive, and can be very effective. When setting traps, it’s important to use the right bait. Mice and voles are attracted to peanut butter, but you can also use cheese or other food items that are high in fat. Once you’ve baited the trap, all you need to do is wait for the rodents to take the bait and get caught.
  • Poison — This should be a last resort, as it can be very dangerous. If you do decide to use poison, be sure to follow the directions carefully. Never use more than the recommended amount, and be sure to keep it away from children and pets.
  • Prevention tactics — The best way to keep rodents out of your lawn is to prevent them from getting there in the first place. If you have a lot of trees or shrubs in your yard, trim them back so that the rodents can’t get to your lawn. Check your fencing periodically to ensure it’s in good repair and that there are no gaps or holes where rodents could get through.

What To Do About Damage to Your Lawn or Garden

Catching the signs of lawn and garden damage early is key to preventing further damage, and the process of elimination can help you determine whether the most likely cause is pests, disease, weather, or even improper care.

If you are unsure whether you can fix lawn or garden problems yourself, it is important to call a pest control company.

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