What's New!

Find It Here

Give the Gift of Time


Online Calculating


Home Page
Home Tips
Find An Expert
Lawn Care
Home Inspection
Ask the Expert
The Store
Virtual Home Tour
Home Forums

Lawn Care

Winter Related Problems
Mowing Related Problems
Water Related Problems
Thatch Related Problems
Establishing Lawns
Weed Related Questions
Insect Related Questions
Disease Related Problems
Other Lawn Problems
Tree/Shrub Spring Period

Winter Related Problems:

QuestionI noticed that where the snow has melted my lawn is matted down in patches. Does this mean my lawn is dead?
AnswerNo. Usually this is a result of your lawn being too tall going into the winter season. Rake the matted grass to remove the dead top growth. Within a few days new grass shoots should develop. Next fall mow your lawn once more in late fall if it is too tall.

QuestionThe grass does not appear to be growing very well along the street curbing. What could be the cause?
AnswerThere could be many reasons for problems. Some of the more common causes include; soil compaction, traffic injury, salt from deicing, and drought stress. When reestablishing this area, prepare the soil by loosing the soil to a depth of several inches before attempting seed or sod. Be sure to select grass similar as to what is in the rest of the lawn. Water good after putting the new grass in.

QuestionWhat caused my lawn to die on the exposed slopes in front of my home?
AnswerThis is possibly winterkill. Often we see lawns exposed to the sun on slopes go into winter under stress from last summer drought problems. Sudden drop in temperatures affects stress plants more than healthy plants growing elsewhere in your lawn.

QuestionWhat can I do to treat irregular dead spots in my bermuda grass lawn this spring?
AnswerYour lawn may have a disease called Spring Dead Spot. This disease is very difficult to control. Rake the dead areas to encourage fill in from healthy grass plants growing adjacent to the spot.

QuestionMy centipedegrass lawn is dead, but my next door neighbor's is growing just fine. What is wrong?
AnswerCentipedegrass is very susceptible to winterkill, especially if the lawn is thatchy or is mown too high. We recommend you mow your centipedegrass lawn no taller than 1 1/2 inches.

QuestionMy St. Augustinegrass lawn is not greening up very fast this spring. What is the problem?
AnswerOften cold weather snaps in late winter setback this warm season grass. Once air and soil temperatures stay consistently above freezing your lawn will develop its normal green color.


Mowing Related Problems:

QuestionWould I be better off mowing my lawn shorter in springto avoid having to mow it as often?
AnswerNo. Always mow your lawn at the recommended cutting height. Mow frequently and only remove 1/3 of the leaf blade at each mowing. For example: we recommend you mow your bluegrass lawn at a 3-inch height. You should mow it once it reaches 4 inches.

QuestionShould I bag or remove my grass clippings?
AnswerNo. Grass clippings readily decompose when returned to your lawn. This decomposition, returns nutrients back to the soil where they are available to the turfgrass.


Water Related Problems:

QuestionWhy does my grass always look dried out under my trees?
AnswerBecause tree roots will compete for the available water in the soil. As a result the grass growing under the dripline of the tree will wilt faster than other areas of your lawn. Set the sprinklers under the tree to apply more water than you would normally apply to the entire lawn.

QuestionHow often should I water my lawn this spring?
AnswerWe recommend you water your lawn as needed to keep the soil moist to a 2-inch depth. You can measure this by inserting a nail or screwdriver into the soil. It will easily penetrate soil to the moisture depth.


Thatch Related Problems:

QuestionMy gardener always dethatches my lawn each spring. Does this affect the crabgrass preventer you apply?
AnswerSpring raking or dethatching is a common old time practice that we do not encourage. If you do dethatch your lawn do not perform this if crabgrass preventer has already been applied. The destructive nature of dethatching will disrupt the crabgrass preventer barrier.

QuestionWill core aeration reduce the thatch layer in my lawn?
AnswerCore aeration will not eliminate an existing thatch problem, but when performed annually can reduce its development. You should try to aerate your lawn once per year. This can be done whenever the soil moisture allows adequate penetration of the core aeration spoons. Studies have demonstrated that spring aeration does not reduce crabgrass control.


Establishing Lawns:

QuestionI have several dead spots in my lawn. How can I overseed these areas?
AnswerLightly rake the surface inch of soil to remove dead debris and properly prepare the area for seeding. Select a grass seed that is the same type as already growing in your lawn. Lightly apply seed to the soil surface and gently pack to firm the seed into the soil. Apply a light layer of straw or seeding mulch to encourage rapid seed germination. Water lightly until the seed has fully emerged. Do not apply crabgrass preventer to newly seeded areas of your lawn.

QuestionIs it okay to sod a lawn in the spring?
AnswerYou can apply sod or plant plugs of sod as long as the temperature for grass growth is acceptable. Prepare the soil as if you were planting seed. Firmly pack the sod into the soil and water as needed to encourage deep root growth.


Weed Related Questions:

QuestionHow can I get rid of crabgrass?
AnswerCrabgrass is an aggressive weedy lawn grass that emerges each spring from seed. Mow your lawn high to thicken it and reduce the ability of crabgrass to establish in your lawn. A crabgrass preventer if used must be applied before seed germinates in late spring.

QuestionI treated my lawn last summer for dandelions, yet they always seem to reappear in spring?
AnswerDandelions set seed in puffballs that are released by wind and can be blown from one lawn to the next. Most dandelion seed germinates in the fall. The plants you see in your lawn this spring probably germinated after you applied a weed control last summer. Reapply a control product this spring once air temperatures are correct for the materials to work.

QuestionHow do I control wild violets?
AnswerWild violets are perennial plants that emerge each spring, forming beautiful, delicate flowers in late April to early May. Control is very difficult and usually requires a formulated application of a weed control product in spring for best results. Control will take more than one application over several seasons. Wild violets are favored by moist shaded growing conditions. Eliminating the weed without consideration to the site conditions is a short-term solution to this weed's persistence.


Insect Related Questions:

QuestionI had skunks tear my lawn up last fall because of grubs. What should I do this spring to control grubs?
AnswerGrubs that were a source of food for skunks last summer will not affect your lawn this season. However, as the grubs become adults and lay eggs for this season's generation of grubs, controls should be applied later this season, based on the type of grub and your location. Some grub control products must be applied near to the time eggs will hatch, whereas other products can be applied once grubs have emerged and are actively feeding in your lawn.

QuestionI notice small dead spots in my bluegrass lawn each spring. What causes this?
AnswerThis could be the result of billbug damage. Bluegrass billbug is a weevil species that lays eggs in the stems of grass plants in late spring. The eggs hatch and bore into the stem as they migrate to the base of the plant, emerging in the soil and begin to feed on the grass plants roots. The small tufts of dead grass result from their feeding behavior.

QuestionWhat are Chinchbugs?
AnswerChinchbugs are sucking insects that affect many types of grasses. Typically they are a problem under, hot dry conditions. Usually they infest sunny, exposed lawns. Left uncontrolled they can kill large sections of your lawn.


Disease Related Problems

QuestionWhat causes my ryegrass lawn to develop pink spot seach spring?
AnswerThis could be caused by a common disease problem called Red Thread. This disease causes pink, threadlike material on the surface of grass blades. Left uncontrolled, lawns will thin and eventually decline. Usually the lawn will recover with time.


Other Lawn Problems:

QuestionHow do I correct brown spots caused by my dog?
AnswerBrown spots result from dog's urinating on the lawn. Often the area surrounding the browned out grass will be a darker green. Water the affected areas to dilute the urine content in soil. Severely burned spots may require overseeding to fill in the spots in a lawn.

QuestionHow do I get rid of moles in my lawn?
AnswerMoles are very difficult to control. They forage through your lawn in search of insects and earthworms that they feed on. Mechanical traps are the most effective way to control moles,but require patience and skill to effectively trap. Controlling grubs will not prevent mole damage of lawns.

Tree/Shrub Spring Period


Winter Related Problems

QuestionMy evergreen shrubs looked fine last fall, but now some have brown leaves. What has happened to them and will they die?
AnswerNo, in most cases the leaves browned due to winter conditions. Once plants resume growth in the spring, this damage is often covered over with new leaves. Some pruning may be necessary.

QuestionWill ornamental plants recover from winter injury? And what should I do?
AnswerIf the plants are cold hardy to your area, then recovery is likely. Wait until all danger of frost is past and plants have resumed growth, then prune out the dead portions. Watering (if needed) and fertilization will also help recovery.


Insect Related Problems:

QuestionSeveral of my trees have webbing on branches and leaves on those branches continue to disappear. What is this?
AnswerThe problem sounds like an insect called Tent Caterpillars. This insect feeds on certain plants during early spring. Treating early while the insects (caterpillars) are small will help reduce damage.

QuestionI noticed swarms of small insects on my trees new growth. What are these?
AnswerThese insects are likely aphids. They favor succulent new growth and can build up to large numbers very quickly. Many insect control products control them.


Disease Related:

QuestionMy crabapples lost their leaves last summer. Is this normal? How can I prevent this from happening?
AnswerMany crabapples are prone to a disease called Apple Scab. This disease attacks during early spring and causes spots to develop on the leaves. With wet weather, this disease becomes severe and leaf drop occurs. Protecting the developing leaves before the disease attacks will help prevent leaf drop.

QuestionIs spring a good time to establish new trees and shrubs?
AnswerYes. Many plants are available for purchase during spring when weather conditions are generally favorable for plant establishment. Plant early, after danger of frost and before summer stress.

QuestionWhat do I need to consider when planting a new plant?
AnswerIt is important to select a plant that will do well in your landscape. Consider the soil conditions (soil pH, drainage, slope), exposure (light, shade, wind) and space in this new location. Purchase a plant that will thrive with the site conditions.

QuestionThe plants I have purchased are in plastic pots. Can I plant these without removing the pots?
AnswerNo. All container materials should be removed. Often plants that are grown in containers have roots that circle around the container edge. It is best to cut into the roots to disrupt this circular growth of the roots.

QuestionShould I place mulch around a new plant?
AnswerYes. Place a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch around the plant. This will conserve moisture and help control weeds.

QuestionShould I cut back a plant after planting?
AnswerGenerally pruning at planting is unnecessary. Prune only broken or damaged branches. Some pruning to shape the plant may be helpful.



QuestionIs spring a good time to apply mulch around my trees and shrubs?
AnswerYes. However, wait until the soil has a chance to warm up. Maintaining a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch is all that is necessary.

QuestionIs it necessary to apply mulch around plants each year?
AnswerNo. Apply mulch when necessary to maintain a 2 to 3 inch layer. Any thicker layer of mulch may cause problems. Raking the mulch will give it a new look.



QuestionCan my trees and shrubs be pruned in the spring?
AnswerYes, many trees and shrubs can be pruned during spring. However, spring blooming plants (azaleas, rhododendrons, forsythia, lilac) should be pruned after they flower. During early spring, some plants may bleed, but this causes no permanent damage.

QuestionMy ornamental grasses turned brown over the winter. What should I do?
AnswerMany ornamental grasses turn color during the winter. The brown leaves and stems should be cut down to the ground. New leaves and stems will develop from the plant base.

Cleaning | Lawn Care | Home Inspections | Pests | Home

1-888-762-5326 Need Help?  | 
Privacy Statement
Copyright © 1998-2013 The ServiceMaster Company. All rights reserved

Terminix®     Merry Maids®    TruGreen®    ServiceMaster Clean®
American Home Shield®     ServiceMaster Restore®     Furniture Medic®    AmeriSpec®

Brand names are registered trademarks of The ServiceMaster Company and its affiliates.

Inside. Outside. All around the House. ®