Organic Lawn Problem Solver

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

By Gretchen Roberts

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Mushrooms
These fungi are among the most difficult of lawn problems to get rid of, since they are signs of a fungal mat under the soil that grows outward.

What Causes It

Fairy Ring
Fairy ring appears in the grass first as dark green circles, eventually sprouting mushrooms that can deplete the soil's nutrients and form a water-repellent mat, causing the grass to die.

Fast fix: Dig out the mushrooms and turn the soil to a depth of 2 feet, mixing in compost as you go, to break up the fungal mat and improve the soil's fertility.

Prevention: Use good maintenance practices, such as discouraging thatch buildup by using only slow-release fertilizers, and watering deeply no more than once a week instead of giving your lawn frequent shallow sprinklings.

MOSS
Low-growing, soft patches of green spongy growth are particularly common in shady areas.

What Causes It

Moss
Moss takes hold in poorly drained sites, often where the soil is acidic.

Fast fix: Rake off the moss and add compost to improve drainage. Reseed bare areas.

Prevention: If moss is persistent, plant a groundcover that thrives in damp, shady spots, such as violets or ajuga.

DIRT MOUNDS
Though the ridges in the soil aren't harmful to your lawn themselves, they are usually an indicator of a problem underground. The raised areas are difficult to mow and they make your lawn uncomfortable to walk and play on.

What Causes It

Moles tunnel through your lawn to feed on grubs and earthworms, creating ridges and mounds.

Fast fix: Press mole ridges flat with the head of a rake to restore the roots' contact with the soil and even the area for mowing.
Prevention: Remove the food source, and the moles will seek it out elsewhere. In the case of grubs (see "Brown grass"), the best long-term control comes from milky disease spores, which come in a liquid form you apply as a drench to the soil.

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