Organic Lawn Problem Solver

Our lawn problem solver offers up safe solutions for lawn weeds, pests, and diseases.

By Gretchen Roberts


Red Grass
This is a fairly reliable indication of disease; fortunately, both red thread and rust are easily diagnosed and treatable.

What Causes It

Red Thread
Red thread, a fungus that occurs during cool, wet weather, causes circular patches of dried grass.

Fast fix: Mow regularly to remove infected blade tips, and apply compost.

Prevention: Water deeply and provide regular, adequate nitrogen by leaving the grass clippings on the lawn.

Rust, a fungus afflicting drought-stressed, nutrient-starved lawns, causes reddish spores.

Fast fix: Mow regularly to remove infected blade tips, and leave grass clippings on the lawn.

Prevention: Avoid night watering, which causes a prime damp environment for spores to grow.

Whitish Grass
Unless you're striping the lawn for a football game, white grass signals trouble.

What Causes It

Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew, which causes small patches of white or gray fungus on grass, is most common in shady, wet areas and on overfertilized lawns.

Fast fix: Spray a solution of one part milk to nine parts water over affected areas.

Prevention: Avoid overfertilizing and overwatering the lawn, and plant shade-tolerant grass in areas that get only partial sun.