Lawn Care Basics
Easy Fixes for Common Lawn Problems
Don’t let these issues keep you from loving your lawn.
While, admittedly, there are more important things in life than having the perfect lawn, working toward that goal can give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction—and provide a personal oasis for you and your family. To get there, you may need to face down a few common lawn problems. Don’t sweat it. Chances are, there’s an easy fix.
If you’re looking for guidance on a specific issue, just click on the related link below.
How to Fix 7 Common Lawn Problems
1. My grass is thin.
Harsh weather, games of tag, roughhousing with the dog—these kinds of everyday events can eventually lead to thinning grass. Looks like it’s time to overseed with Scotts® Turf Builder® Thick’R Lawn™, which delivers just the right combination needed to thicken up your grass: grass seed, fertilizer, and soil improver. Mow your lawn at the lowest setting, rake it clean, then add the product to your spreader and apply according to the directions on the label. Water daily for about 2 weeks, then resume mowing when your grass is at the right mowing height, which will depend on your grass type. Check out How to Overseed a Thin Lawn for more info.
2. My lawn has bare spots.
If, on the other hand, your grass is in generally good condition but has a few bare spots, you’ll want to take a different approach. You can get those areas growing again with Scotts® EZ Seed® Patch & Repair or Scotts® Sprouts™.
EZ Seed® has a unique combination of Scotts® high performance seed, premium continuous release lawn food, and super-absorbent growing material. You loosen the soil with a rake, spread the seeds according to the package directions, and water daily until new grass seedlings are 2” tall (then you can treat it like the rest of your lawn).
With Sprouts™, you start the growing process in the bag. Just add 3 cups of water, wait 3 days for the seeds to sprout, and then spread the already growing grass onto any bare spots. Following the label directions, you should see grass pop up in 1 to 2 days. (Mind blown, we know!)
3. There are ugly brown spots on my lawn.
Okay, to be honest, this one’s a little more complicated, because there are several things that could be causing the spots. Possible culprits range from grubs or fungus to foot traffic, weed dieback, and dog urine. So, before you grab a product and start spreading or spraying, it’s important to identify what the problem is.
- If critters like raccoons and skunks have begun digging in your yard, or the dead patches of grass lift up like loose carpet, chances are you have grubs. Check out section 4 below to find out what to do.
- Spots caused by dog urine tend to have brown centers with green outer rings. Get rid of them with Scotts® EZ Seed® Dog Spot Repair Sun and Shade (or Scotts® EZ Seed® Dog Repair Tall Fescue Lawns, if you have tall fescue grass).
- Fungus tends to cause irregular patches of yellow or straw-colored grass that can range in size and shape. To fight back, apply Scotts® DiseaseEx™ Lawn Fungicide, will control a variety of fungal diseases for up to 4 weeks. Be sure to follow label directions.
- For brown spots caused by foot traffic or areas of dead weeds, a product like Scotts® EZ Seed® Patch & Repair will do the trick.
4. I think there are grubs in my lawn.
If you’ve spotted more than a few fat, C-shaped grubs in your soil when digging, you’ll need to take action. Here’s the lifecycle: Beetles emerge in early summer, feed on plants, then lay eggs in the soil. The eggs hatch in late summer as grubs, and then go to town eating plant and grass roots. The best way to stop this cycle is to treat the lawn before the grubs hatch. This means applying Scotts® GrubEx® in spring or early summer. Simply set and fill your spreader and apply it to a dry lawn, following the directions on the label, then water to activate the product. To learn more about controlling grubs in your lawn, check out How to Control Lawn Grubs.
5. The weeds are out of control.
From dollarweed and dandelions to oxalis, crabgrass, creeping Charlie, and more, weeds are the bane of any self-respecting lawn caretaker. If you’ve got a particular problem with crabgrass, refer to the next section, but for all other weed problems, here’s what you need to know. You can help avoid the issue in the first place by maintaining the overall health of your grass. To do that, follow these mowing tips, give your lawn just the right amount of water, and fertilize your grass regularly. If weed problems show up anyway, use Scotts® Turf Builder® Weed & Feed3* to feed grass while controlling weeds, or use Scotts® Spot Weed Control for Lawns if you have just a few to manage.
6. I’ve got crabgrass in my lawn.
There’s no argument about it: Crabgrass is a troublemaker. The best way to treat it is to keep it from appearing in the first place. Use Scotts® Turf Builder® Halts Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food* in early spring to stop crabgrass from sprouting and protect your lawn all season long, while fertilizing at the same time for strong, lush grass growth. Crabgrass already making its unwanted presence known? Stop it cold with Scotts® Spot Weed Control for Lawns, which kills crabgrass down to the root without harming the lawn.
7. There are stripes of yellow grass in my lawn.
Not to be the bearer of bad news, but this means you’ve probably applied your fertilizer incorrectly. (Don’t worry—it happens to the best of us.) When you walk back and forth with your spreader, be sure to slightly overlap each pass to ensure full coverage. Strips of grass that don’t receive fertilizer can appear yellow in contrast to all of the lush, new, green grass growth next to it. So, you’ll just need to tune up your application technique to make sure all of your lawn is green and growing.
A gorgeous lawn doesn’t have to require tons of work. Take care of your lawn the best you can, identify problems before they get out of hand, and apply one of these easy fixes when you need to. The result? A lush green oasis you’re going to love spending time in.
*Don’t use either of these products if you’re planning to seed, or you’ve just recently seeded, your lawn