Want Green Grass?
There are a number of factors that could keep your lawn from producing green grass and each of them is listed below for you to review. It is important to keep in mind that in most cases, there are a number of adverse factors present that prevents green grass lawns and it may take some time to locate and maintain the proper balance. In any case, do not assume that simply using one of the tips below will produce year-round results; a healthy lawn requires a number of factors present and it is usually a good idea to start with having a soil sample analyzed to learn the exact problems.
- Soil Temperature – Cool season grasses start to green up when the soil temperature is around 55 degrees. In most areas, this will occur when the air temperature reaches a consistent 65 degrees or higher.
- Soil PH – Most grasses prefer a PH around 7.5, so if your soil PH is above or below that it needs to be adjusted before any other steps are taken. For example, if you use fertilizer when the PH is too high or low, your efforts (and money!) are likely being wasted.
- Lacking Fertilizer – Nitrogen is the component within fertilizer that turns your grass green. A good program for dark green grass will have 3-5 pounds of nitrogen per thousand square feet. This can be applied either once or twice total per year in the spring and again in the fall.
- Bluegrass Sod – If you used sod for your lawn, then there is a good chance it is comprised of mainly Bluegrass. This variety takes longer to green up in the spring so if your neighbor’s lawn is greener than yours, be patient until the warmer summer weather arrives.
- Organic Lawn Care – Organic lawn care has many benefits but one disadvantage is that it takes longer to see the green grass effects. The premise of an organic lawn care program is to feed the soil and in turn, allow the soil will feed the plant. This process definitely takes time though, so stick with it to see green grass and a much healthier lawn.
- Thick Grass Thatch – Thatch is the dead layer of grass at the base of your lawn on the soil surface. If the thatch layer is thicker than a ½”, it will inhibit both fertilizer and water from getting to the soil. Another downfall is that is also serves to harbor insects (which damage grass roots).
- Poor Aeration – Grass clippings and other debris should be raked up regularly (referred to in the industry as dethatching) but this alone does not adequately aerate the soil. It is best to core aerate in the fall.
- Iron – If want that quick green up for an upcoming event, iron is a good way to get your lawn looking green in just a few days. Liquid iron works faster but a granular will do the job as well. Iron should be part a lawn fertilization program to get the maximum green without relying solely on Nitrogen.
- Sandy Soil – Loam (or topsoil) is soil particles comprised of clay, sand, silt and organic matter and can easily end up being disproportionate with too much sand. This will make it harder for the soil to retain moisture and nutrients, so it will have trouble creating green grass. The best remedy is to continually add organic matter to your lawn as part of your lawn care program.
- Zoysia Grass – This type of grass will turn dormant in mid-October and not green up until mid-May in many portions of the country. If you have this grass type in your lawn, be prepared to have reduced periods of green lawn or consider mixing in hybrid seed.
- Summer Heat – Cool season grasses go dormant when the temperature rises above 90 degrees; especially if the lawn is not regularly irrigated. This is not a serious problem though; if your lawn is healthy and does not have any insect or disease problems, it will green up again once the temperatures drop and water becomes more abundant.
- Dull Mower Blades – When you mow your lawn with dull mower blades, the result is a grayish look to the lawn because you’re mainly tearing the grass instead of cutting it. Replace your blades to see green grass return.
- Lack of Water – Lawns need 1-2” of water per week when they are actively growing. When its dry and your grass roots are lacking water, it will have a brown look to it. The solution in this case is to simply water your lawn more often.
- Grass Varieties – Certain grass varieties are greener than others, meaning that your neighbor’s grass may be naturally greener than yours even when both lawns are optimal. In other cases, less green grass could indicate older, mature grass that needs to be replaced.
- Affected by Insects or Disease – If your lawn is suffering from insects or diseases, then it can have an ill-looking affect that can cause all kinds of color changes. Red, orange, brown, or yellow are all common in these circumstances and proper treatment (fertilizer, herbicides, or pesticides) is the only way for green grass to return.