Troubleshooting Common Lawn and Garden Problems

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

Maintaining beautiful lawns and gardens can be challenging, especially if problems such as brown spots, pests, and weeds occur. Fortunately, most lawn issues are easy to prevent, identify, and correct. You may have to act quickly and decisively, though. For example, weeds can rapidly take over a yard or garden if you let them be for too long.


Proper control of weeds is essential to a good lawn. Regular watering, fertilization, and aeration can safeguard against this issue.

Check your yard and garden regularly for emerging weed seedlings or clusters. Pull them or use a hoe if needed. You can deploy herbicides, but choose a type that won’t kill your grass. Make sure the herbicide matches the type of weed you’re trying to control, and always follow the instructions.

Brown Spots

Pet urine, insect damage, and fungal diseases are among the common causes of brown spots.

  • Use insecticides to treat insect damage.
  • Apply the best fungicides for lawns to prevent harmful fungal diseases from spreading.
  • Water the affected area immediately after your pet urinates to dilute the nitrogen in the urine. This nitrogen can cause brown spots.
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Pets are actually a top culprit keeping many yards from being the best they can be. To minimize the damage, you could avoid fertilizing your lawn in the areas where your dog urinates. These spots likely already get more than enough nitrogen. You can also encourage your dog to drink more water to dilute the nitrogen in the urine.

If you plant grass, choose ryegrass and fescue. They are the most urine-resistant, while Kentucky Bluegrass and Bermuda are not.

It can also help greatly to train your dog to do its business in one area of the yard. That spares the rest of your lawn. In addition, certain dietary supplements can make the nitrogen in urine less damaging.

Patchy Grass

A lack of sunlight, poor soil quality, or disease can cause patchy grass. If your lawn is shaded, try trimming nearby trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight to reach the grass.

To improve soil quality, add fertilizer and organic matter to the soil. In cases of disease, fungicides can help prevent further damage.

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Thin or Bare Spots

A lack of nutrients, compacted soil, or disease may result in thin or bare spots. Aerate your lawn regularly to improve soil quality and enable more air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the soil.

Fertilizers and fungicides also aid in healthy growth and disease prevention.

Yellow Grass

Overwatering, underwatering, or nutrient deficiencies may result in yellowing grass. Check soil moisture levels and adjust your watering schedule as needed. Fertilizer can also give a boost to a yellowing lawn.

Damaged Grass

If damaged grass is about the size of a fist, you can probably leave it alone. The surrounding grass should fill the patches within a few weeks (provided the underlying problem such as damage from a shovel or dog urine does not continue).

Larger areas of grass should benefit from working up the soil and reseeding. Remove some of the dry, dead grass blades so that you can see the soil underneath. Put soil you’ve collected from elsewhere in your yard into a bucket. Bagged soil or potting mix work fine, too. Add two handfuls of grass seed to the bucket, ideally matching the seed to the grass type of your lawn.

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Sprinkle the mixture over the damaged grass spot in your yard and gently water it. Keep the area moist until seeds germinate, and give the newly growing grass a little time to blend in more completely with the rest of the lawn.


Heatwaves, droughts, and frost can damage your plants. Try matching your plant types to the climate you live in (follow plant hardiness zones). Also, shade cloth, frost covers, and irrigation systems are several ways to protect against weather damage and regulate temperature and moisture levels.

Pests in Your Garden

Aphids, spider mites, caterpillars, and other pests can cause damage to fruit and vegetable plants by eating their leaves, stems, and fruits. Use insecticides, neem oil, or natural predators such as ladybugs and praying mantises.

Watering Issues

Overwatering or underwatering plants can lead to root rot, wilting, and death. Water your plants consistently, and monitor soil moisture levels.


Plant diseases such as powdery mildew and blight can stunt the growth of your plants or kill them. To avoid these diseases, remove infected plant parts, and maintain good sanitation practices in your garden.

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Sanitation practices include removing dead or diseased plant material, rotating crops, cleaning gardening tools, and using clean soil. Fungicides can be a great help in preventing the spread of disease, too.

Lawn and garden problems can be annoying, but, fortunately, are relatively easy to identify and take care of. By being proactive and responding quickly when issues arise, you can keep your lawns and gardens looking great.

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