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You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard the old adage:

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

In the philosophical sense, being satisfied with your lot in life rather than envying your neighbor is good advice.  But when it comes to real-life lawns, sometimes certain neighbors’ lush green yards just can’t help but bring out the green monster, particularly when there are lots of little issues in our own lawns.  Read on for tips from us on how to combat three of this year’s most common problems and you’ll be the envy of even the most dedicated lawn junkie on the block 🙂


Crabgrass (Photo courtesy of
Crabgrass (Photo courtesy of

What is Crabgrass?
Crabgrass is an annual weed grass that emerges in late June or early July — if crabgrass is going to show up in your yard this year, chances are it’s already there.  It dies at first frost but will leave behind seeds for the coming year, so both weed killer now and preventative measures in the spring are important!

How to Identify Crabgrass:
Flat, broad blades pointing skyward.  When held up to the light you will see tiny hair follicles on the edges of the blades.

Treatment for Crabgrass:
We have several different herbicides in the store that will combat crabgrass, but please remember that they must be applied when temperatures are under 80 and there is no chance of rain in the forecast for at least 24 hours.  You want the herbicide to stick to the crabgrass and give it a chance to kill the weed before any rain might wash it off.  Using a pre-emergent crabgrass preventer in the spring (April usually, but definitely before the forsythia stop blooming) is also an effective tactic that will slow down its spread and eventually get rid of crabgrass in your lawn for good.


Nutgrass (Photo courtesy of
Nutgrass (Photo courtesy of

What is Nutgrass?
Nutgrass, also known as nutsedge, is a perennial lawn weed that emerges in early summer.  The term “nutgrass” refers to its root ball that looks like a nut (small white roots grow off the nut).

How to Identify Nutgrass:
Shiny, grass-like leaves grow very fast and upward, quickly outpacing normal lawn grass growth.  If you have a nutgrass issue, you will see tufts of it growing taller than the normal grass throughout your lawn.

Treatment for Nutgrass:
The rain and hot weather has made nutgrass quite a wide-spread issue in Rochester this year, but unfortunately, most weed killers and lawn herbicides do not work on nutgrass — it requires a nutgrass-specific herbicide (we do sell the packet at the store).  Please note: pulling this weed is a VERY bad idea!  When pulled, any miniscule roots left behind in the soil will quickly sprout up new nutgrass tufts, spreading the weed even more quickly throughout your lawn.

Lawn Fungus

Lawn fungus: brown patch (Photo courtesy of
Brown patch lawn fungus, one of many types of lawn fungus diseases.(Photo courtesy of

What is lawn fungus?
Unlike crabgrass and nutgrass, which are weeds that infest a lawn, lawn fungus is a disease that infects a lawn.  There are many different types of lawn fungus that affect lawns in our area, but the most common are brown patch, red thread, dollar spot, and for new lawns, pythium blight.

How to Identify Lawn Fungus:
Large brown circular patches, large brown dead areas, areas where there is a lot of brown grass mixed with a bit of green.  However, it is best to bring in a sample of turf (cut a 1 foot square section including roots and peel it back and bring it in) for us to look at before treating for lawn fungus in case the brown spots are a result of something else (under/over watering, grubs, etc.).  Pythium blight manifests in the first year of some new lawns as white cottony material among the grass, and unfortunately, is a disease that just needs to run its course.  Fertilization and over-seeding will help strengthen the lawn for the following year.

Treatment for Lawn Fungus:
We have several anti-fungal granular treatments and sprays here in the store for lawn fungus.  As noted above, we highly recommend bringing in a sample of your turf so we can be sure what we’re recommending will work on your particular lawn issue!

In closing, remember that the grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence, but with just a little effort and upkeep, your lawn can soon be “the other side of the fence” to someone else!

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