Is it a lawn issue, or is it an irrigation issue?

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Normally in the spring lawns green up and look amazing.  The issues with the appearance of the lawn arise once the spring rain stops and summer heat sets in.  This is when the calls start coming into the office.  As a lawn care provider, we get the calls first.  In many cases, your lawn turning brown is out of our control.  There are several reasons your lawn could be turning brown, that have nothing to do with your lawn care provider. 

Are you watering enough?

Check the soil to see if its dry.  The soil color will tell you how dry it is.  A light brown color means it’s dry and a dark brown means it’s wet.  If it’s an isolated area, you may need to run a manual sprinkler to increase soil moisture.  If you have owned your home for an extended amount of time you should notice where the troubled areas are. Most of the time areas in full sun or along heat conducting material (patios, walkways, driveways) are to blame for lack of soil moisture.

Are you watering too much?

If your irrigation system is running but the grass is not responding it could be a fungus.  Excessive watering during high heat and humidity is a recipe for disease.  Most lawn fungus thrives when moisture is readily available.  Another issue could be shallow roots.  Excessive watering in the spring causes the roots to not grow deeper.  This will have an effect when drought periods hit.

Is your irrigation system functioning properly?

When was the last time you saw your system running?  Most people run there systems so early in the morning that they never see it.  If you see green grass by the sprinkler heads and brown areas around it there is a problem.  A correctly installed irrigation system should have head-to-head coverage.  This means each head should overlap the next head closest to it.  Proper servicing and maintenance by your irrigation company is crucial to the lawn’s health and appearance.  Most irrigations companies start them in the spring and turn off in the fall.  There needs to be a summer adjustment to combat rising temperatures and lack of rain fall. 

Is it an insect issue?

There are many insects that can wreak havoc on your lawn.  Chinch bugs do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.  Their damage mimics drought stress and typically occurs during extended periods of no moisture.  This damage would occur late May to July.  Grubs in late fall will cause the lawn to brown out.  Grubs need to feed on roots to survive causing the plants to turn brown.

What is the temperature over the last week or so?

In New England we grow cool season grasses.  These grasses have an ideal temperature they thrive in.  Temperatures from 45 to 80 degrees is ideal for cool season grasses.  When we experience temperatures outside these ranges, grass will go into survival mode.  Survival mode is called dormancy.  We typically experience a 1-2 month period of excessive heat (over 85) and very little rain fall.  Grasses will start the dormancy process during these conditions.  The good news is that they will come back once temperature and adequate moisture arrive.

Asking these questions prior to contacting your provider will help our team diagnosis the issue quicker.  This will also help remedy the situation faster.