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Solving Common Lawn Problems in Texas: A Comprehensive Guide

Jack Moore
Apr 8, 2024 8:00:00 AM

When you’re serious about having a thick, healthy, and thriving lawn, it can be frustrating for problems with grass to pop up, sometimes seemingly out of nowhere. One day your lawn looks great and the next you’ve got brown spots or maybe some thin areas. Now, you’ve got to figure out what’s going on and how to solve it.

Unfortunately, lawn problems in Texas are relatively common. Our year-round warmer weather means that issues with lawn disease, pests, and weeds never really take a break (like they do in other parts of the country). 

The good news is that with proper lawn care, many types of lawn problems can be solved and sometimes even prevented.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into lawn problems and how to fix them. You deserve to have a beautiful lawn that you can be proud of.

Table of Contents

Diagnosing Common Lawn Problems in Texas

The first step to solving any lawn problem is figuring out exactly what’s going on. Some lawn issues are more overtly recognizable than others. But many lawn problems can share symptoms that make it difficult to diagnose what you’re dealing with. 

lawn care expert and homeowner inspect grass

For instance, drought damage and pest damage can share similar symptoms. And even if you narrow it down to a type of lawn problem, like disease damage, knowing specifically which disease can be another challenge.

But the most important step is recognizing that something is wrong and taking action. Let’s talk about how to know when something might be brewing.

Signs and Symptoms of Unhealthy Lawns

A healthy lawn is thick and green. But when there’s something going on with your lawn, you’re going to notice some undesirable characteristics. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of a struggling lawn.

lawn with dead spots

  • Grass is Turning Yellow or Brown: Anytime that a lawn becomes discolored, it can be a clue that something is going on. Healthy grass is green, though the exact shade of green will depend on your grass type. While some grass types are lighter than others, anytime it starts to trend toward yellow, it’s quite likely that something is amiss. Brown could mean that your lawn is dying or even dead.

  • Weeds are Invading: Of the lawn issues that really get under a homeowner’s skin, we know that weeds are high on the list. Texas lawn weeds are a major problem due to our year-round warm or hot weather. We rarely get a break from these invaders. But there could be reasons why you’re seeing more weeds pop up than normal (like problems with your soil health).

  • The Grass is Pulling Up: If the grass is pulling up or coming out in clumps, there is definitely a problem. When the grass is not firmly rooted in the ground, it’s going to die. You want to get to the bottom of what is going on in case it’s a problem that is spreading.

  • The Lawn is Full of Bare Spots or Thin Areas: If your lawn has bare patches or just areas that are thinned out, you will want to figure out what’s causing this before it becomes a major eyesore. Bare spots can stand out, even if the rest of the lawn looks great.

  • Water isn’t Draining in the Lawn: If water is pooling or your lawn is sloshy, it can really take away from being able to enjoy your property. This can also lead to longer-term problems with your lawn, or even worse, your home’s foundation. It’s important to get drainage problems corrected swiftly.

  • There is Something Growing on the Grass: Problems with lawn disease can also lead to fungus growth in the lawn. If you see cotton-like patches or stringy growths, you could have a problem with lawn fungus.

Identifying Specific Lawn Issues

Getting to the bottom of grass problems and solutions that will solve them can feel a bit like a mystery. While you can clearly see there is something going on with your lawn, figuring out exactly what’s causing it can be a bit more challenging. 

weeds at edge of lawn

Many of the grass issues we mentioned above can be the result of numerous culprits. And it’s also not uncommon for more than one lawn problem to occur at once.

Let’s dive into some of the common lawn problems that we see and explain what they entail.

Drought Stress and Heat Damage

Here in North Texas, extreme heat and drought conditions are inevitable. But this can take a serious toll on lawns. After all, water is the lifeblood of all living things and without ample water, your lawn will never be able to perform optimally. It may even die. 

irrigation expert adjusts sprinkler head

One of the early signs of drought stress is the lawn turning yellow. The lawn may eventually turn brown and even develop bare spots due to drought stress.

Common Weeds in Texas Lawns

Another one of the common lawn problems that we see is weed growth. Weeds are opportunistic growers and always looking to invade even the healthiest lawns. But if you have a particularly bad issue with weeds, it could be that you have other issues going on. 

Weeds spread more proficiently in lawns that are already weak and struggling. If you have bare spots or thin areas, that’s where you’re going to see the most weeds pop up. Weeds also tend to perform well in lawns with soil pH issues. 

We see a lot of weeds here in North Texas but some of the worst include:

  • Crabgrass: Here in North Texas we have two types of crabgrass: Smooth and Hairy. Both are annual grasses that pop up in the early to mid-spring and can grow quite aggressively. Crabgrass will grow much faster than most turfgrasses and can therefore spread rapidly. 

  • Dallisgrass: Dallisgrass is often mistaken for crabgrass because they have very similar looks. Dallisgrass is also a grassy weed that grows in clumps in the lawn. But it tends to be more grayish in color than crabgrass. It can also be more difficult to control.

  • Nutsedge: Also sometimes referred to as “nutgrass,” this perennial weed has a triangular stem and foliage that sprouts in groups of three. Nutsedge can grow in dry soil and shoot up faster than your turfgrass. You might notice it sprouting out of the lawn, higher than the rest of the turf. It’s a very aggressive weed that requires specialty controls.

  • Poa annua: Also known as annual bluegrass, Poa annua grows upright and has creeping stolons. It can germinate through the fall, winter, and spring, making it difficult to control.

  • Dandelion: This bright yellow flower is a perennial weed that can keep coming back if not properly controlled.

  • Spurge: Spurge is a broadleaf weed that germinates in the late spring and grows through the summer. It is best controlled with a pre-emergent weed control in the late winter and early spring, followed by post-emergent herbicides.

  • Bittercress: Bittercress is a winter annual weed that pops up in the early spring. It can be more of a problem after rain as it thrives in wet grass.

  • Henbit: This cool-season broadleaf weed has shallow roots and spread agressively during the off-season. This is why year round lawn care is so important.

Lawn Diseases in Texas

Texas lawn problems also commonly involve lawn disease since extreme heat, limited rainfall, and rising humidity can create a recipe for fungus to start growing. There are a lot of different lawn diseases but three that we commonly see in our region include Brown Patch, Dollar Spot, and Summer Patch.

lawn disease in grass

Let’s look at each.

  • Brown Patch: As you might have guessed, this disease is characterized by the dark circular patches that will grow on your lawn. It is common during warm and humid weather conditions. 

  • Dollar Spot: Named for the small, silver-dollar-sized circles that this disease causes, Dollar Spot can start out small but spread rapidly. Those small circles can become quite large as they grow together.

  • Summer Patch: This Texas yard fungus is characterized by irregular brown patches. This disease kills grass by infecting and destroying its roots.

These diseases have common symptoms that can sometimes make them difficult to distinguish from one another. Homeowners also sometimes mistakenly think that their grass is experiencing drought stress (as discoloration is also common during periods of drought). But you can make a lawn fungus problem worse with watering. That’s because it will spread the disease around.

Pest Infestations

Bugs that eat grass (and its roots) are another common lawn problem in Texas. Sometimes this damage can be occurring right beneath your nose without you even realizing it. 

There are four pests that we are commonly concerned about here in North Texas. Let’s look at each of them.

  • Lawn Grubs: Lawn grubs are the larvae of beetles. They are born in the grass and eat the lawn’s roots. Because they are feeding beneath the surface of your grass, they can be difficult to spot and often cause major damage before you realize anything is going wrong. 
  • Chinch Bugs: Another common lawn pest in North Texas is the Chinch Bug. These small black/grayish bugs are active in the late summer and early fall. But they are pretty small and often go unnoticed until you start to see signs of their damage. These surface-feeding insects feed on lawns by sucking the plant fluids right out of your grass blades. This can cause lawns to turn yellow and eventually die.
  • Armyworms: Armyworms are the larvae of moths and are larger, but tend to be good hiders. They like to hang out in the thatch level of grass. Armyworms get their name from the fact that they stick together in large groups, like an army.
  • Fire Ants: For how small they are, fire ants can be a big problem. That’s because these pests tend to attack in numbers. If you are perceived as a threat to a fire ant colony (which could be as simple as accidentally stepping on one), you will have to face a fire ant army. Since colonies can contain up to 500,000 ants, this is a serious issue.

Treating Texas Lawn Problems

Once you figure out what’s wrong with your lawn, you’ll need to implement the proper solutions. Different lawn problems require different plans of action. 

landscaping truck in driveway

Let’s look at how to deal with four of the most common lawn issues: Drought, weeds, lawn diseases, and pests.

Solutions for Drought Stress

All living things require water to live and your lawn is no different. When lawns go through periods of drought, they can really begin to struggle. Water is required to complete the grass plant’s photosynthesis process. And if roots don’t receive the water they need, it can begin to affect growth.

As is true with many lawn problems, being proactive is the best way to deal with drought stress. This means keeping up with the weather and providing extra water ahead of periods of drought.

If you have an irrigation system, it can really simplify this process. You can ensure that your lawn continues to get what it needs even when Mother Nature isn’t able to supply it in the form of rainfall.

It’s important to know that lawn care during periods of drought can be extra challenging. Drought can make it difficult for weed control products to work and opportunistic pests tend to be more likely to attack when your lawn is struggling. These added stressors can lead to trouble if you’re not staying on top of them.

Weed Management

If your lawn has an abundance of weeds, the first step is to identify exactly which weed types you’re dealing with. The correct weed control solution will be impacted by the specific types growing on your lawn.

An effective, well-rounded well control program is one that includes both pre-emergent and post-emergent controls. Certain weeds, like nutsedge for instance, also require specialty controls.

lawn care technician spraying weed control

It’s important that you choose a lawn care company that is using a multi-faceted weed control approach with different products used for different weeds. Since various seasons can also bring new weed problems, you’ll also want to make sure that the controls are switched up based on the season.

On top of weed control products, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re using other lawn care services like lawn fertilization and lawn aeration. Services like these help to promote a thicker, healthier lawn which will naturally choke out weeds.

Controlling Lawn Diseases in Texas

Lawn disease can also wreak havoc on a healthy lawn. Since lawn fungus can spread quickly, you want to make your best effort to prevent it in the first place by practicing good lawn care habits. 

sprinkler head sprays grass

How you water your lawn can have a huge impact on managing fungus. If you’re not careful, you could create a fungi breeding ground. Ideally, you want to avoid watering your lawn in the afternoon or evening when it won’t have enough time to evaporate. Water left sitting on the lawn can lead to fungal growth.

If you already suspect that your grass issue is lawn disease, talk to a lawn care professional about the best next steps. There are fungicides that can help control lawn fungus if it’s spreading.

Lawn Pest Control

Finally, if it turns out that your grass issues are related to pest problems, then you’ll want to come up with an action plan based on the pest that you’re dealing with.

lawn care expert spraying grass for pests

Let’s look at solutions for three of the more common pests.

  • Lawn Grubs: The best approach to lawn grubs is a preventative one. Grub-prevention products can be applied to the lawn in the spring. This will prevent grubs from hatching. Since they are such a destructive pest, it’s best to take this proactive approach. However, if you do miss the window of application and are dealing with a grub problem, there are curative products that can kill them, too.

  • Chinch Bugs: To determine if you are dealing with chinch bugs, you can perform a visual inspection. Look in the “fringe areas,” where the grass is still green but is neighboring a brown area. Pull apart the thatch layer and watch closely for bug movement. If you do have a chinch bug issue, you’ll want to talk to a lawn care professional about treatment options. Going forward, you’ll also want to remove excess thatch from your lawn as this is where these pests live. Thatch can cause other issues for your lawn, too.

  • Armyworms: Armyworms move quickly as they feast on grass. They will eat everything from the grass blades all the way down to the roots. As they eat, your grass will die. At the first sign of an armyworm problem, get in touch with a lawn care professional to start treatment. If damage is severe, remedial strategies may also be required to repair the lawn.

  • Fire Ants: Fire ants can be treated with a professional-grade product that will prevent these pests from bothering your family. At Grassperson, we use a top-of-the-line product that is guaranteed by the manufacturer to last 12 months. We strongly advise against taking fire ant control into your own hands as these pests can truly be dangerous. We’ve heard horror stories of homeowners who have gotten stung many times when trying to deal with a fire ant colony on their property. Leave this pest to be dealt with by a pro.

Preventing Lawn Problems

It’s always best to take a proactive approach and prevent lawn problems in the first place. Even though there are often solutions to the problems we’re talking about, you still have to deal with damage and frustration.

healthy green grass in front of home

One way to be proactive in your approach to lawn problems is to practice good lawn care habits. Investing in an ongoing lawn care program can make a difference in the health of your lawn.

Lawn Care Best Practices

To help you avoid asking “What’s wrong with my lawn?” it’s best to get in the habit of practicing good lawn care habits. In addition to investing in a professional lawn care program that includes services like weed control and lawn fertilization, you also want to make sure that you’re mowing and watering your lawn correctly.

Proper Mowing

People often underestimate the importance of proper lawn mowing. It’s not uncommon for lawn problems to arise from improper mowing. While mowing is a relatively simple task, the fact is, everything from cut height to the mower’s condition to even timing can make a really big difference in the results and the health of your lawn.

Keep in mind that the proper mow height is going to depend on what grass type you have growing. 

lawn care company mows grass

We generally recommend cutting Bermuda around 2.5 to 3 inches, Zoysia between 1.5 and 3 inches, and St. Augustine around 2 to 2.5 inches. Cutting grass too short can put a lot of stress on the lawn.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re using a mower with sharpened blades and a level mowing deck.

Proper Watering

Watering the lawn properly will also have a big impact on its health. You want to avoid watering your lawn later in the day or at night as this can lead to the growth of lawn fungus.

sprinkler head waters grass

You also want to make sure that you’re putting down enough water. Grass in North Texas requires a minimum of two inches of water per week. You can take the guesswork out of watering by installing an irrigation system that is programmed to apply just the right amount.

Soil Health and Fertilization

Another way to prevent lawn problems is to make sure you’re paying attention to soil health. The health of your turf depends upon the health of the soil that it’s growing in.

Lawn fertilization plays a big role in nourishing the lawn by delivering nutrients that it needs to perform its best. Applying fertilizer throughout the year will help your lawn grow thicker and stronger and will improve its color as well.

lawn care technician fertilizes grass

Another service that helps to improve the health of your soil is lawn aeration. Lawn aeration in Texas is so important due to our sandy loam soil type, which is prone to compaction. This can make it difficult for oxygen, water, and nutrients to get to where they are needed. 

Aeration involves the process of making holes through the lawn by pulling small soil plugs with a special machine called an aerator. This helps alleviate compaction and allows your soil to breathe again. It creates a more favorable environment for the root system to grow. Healthier roots mean a healthier lawn which means fewer lawn problems.

aeration cores and seed in grass

You can follow a lawn aeration service with topdressing, which involves spreading high-quality, composted material atop the lawn to add valuable microbial activity to it. This improves soil health.

Seasonal Lawn Care in Texas

Here in North Texas where its warm year round, it’s important to keep in mind that your lawn is going to have needs throughout the year. But those needs are going to differ at different times of the year. 

homeowner and account manager talk in front of home

You want to make sure that you’re working with a lawn care company that provides seasonal lawn care and also addresses the specific lawn issues that might pop up at that particular time. 

There are even winter lawn care needs, even though the active growing season is slowing down or coming to a halt. A lot of it has to do with planning ahead and taking proactive care. For instance, since spring weeds start growing in the winter, preventative weed treatments will nip some of these tough-to-manage weeds in the bud. That means fewer lawn issues come spring.

When to Call the Professionals

Plenty of people tackle lawn care on their own, but there are some reasons why you might want to hand these services over to a pro.

DIY Lawn Issues

We understand that people don’t want to pay for services that they feel they could do themselves. Why can’t you just pick up a bag of weed and feed at the hardware store and handle lawn care on your own?

While that’s certainly possible, the results of DIY lawn care tend to be subpar to what a professional can achieve. You’re also more likely to make a mistake and burn your lawn or misdiagnose a problem that then gets out of hand.

DIY lawn care is also not free. You’re still investing a lot of time and money into products and equipment to perform these services on your own. And even after spending that money you might be dissatisfied with your results.

A homeowner is also going to likely struggle to diagnose problems with grass. As we’ve explained in this guide, many different lawn problems mimic one another and figuring out what’s wrong with my grass is not a simple task. But when you have a pro giving an expert eye to your property, they’ll know all about lawn problems and how to fix them.

Benefits of Hiring a Pro

Some of the best benefits of hiring a professional lawn care service is that they’ll be able to make expert diagnoses and implement the proper solutions to help get your lawn back on track. 

With good lawn care habits, you might even be able to avoid many lawn issues in the first place. Since repairing problems can be costly, this is like a protection of your investment in your lawn.

lawn care technician pulls hose to treat grass

You will also gain back your time. People often tend to undervalue their time or underestimate how much time lawn care can really take. They assume it’s something they can quickly knock out on a weekend. 

But multiple trips to the store and finding the right day to perform lawn care services can be a hassle (and more time consuming than people realize). Your time is valuable and you probably have better ways you’d like to spend it.

How to Choose a Lawn Care Provider

At the end of the day, it simply might not be worth the lawn care mistakes that can be made with DIY lawn care. 

So, how do you go about choosing a good lawn care company?

Check Out Our Essential Guide To Hiring a Lawn Service
As with choosing any service, you can start the process with some research. Look into the lawn care providers in your area and then spend time on each of their websites. 

You should also look at the lawn care programs they offer.

A good lawn care program is one that is comprehensive with services like weed control, fertilization, disease prevention and control, pest prevention and control, aeration, and topdressing. Of course, every lawn is different so you want to choose a lawn care provider that will develop customized solutions for your property.

We’d also caution against shopping on price. You obviously want affordable lawn care but you don’t want CHEAP lawn care. You deserve to get amazing results so you’re going to need a company that invests in high-quality products, equipment, and well-trained people. These are good reasons why one company might cost a little bit more than another.

When you do make a wise choice in your lawn care provider, you can avoid quite a few lawn problems by letting an expert take control of your lawn.

We’re Here to Help

At Grassperson, we’re here to help however you need us. Hopefully this guide has given you some helpful advice on common lawn problems in Texas and how they can be handled. Even better, we believe many problems can be avoided with preventative and proactive care.

If you are on the hunt for a lawn care provider in North Texas to help you with lawn problems, we’d love for you to consider Grassperson. We’ll help you put your worries to rest and get your lawn back on track to being the best on the block.

Ready to get a worry-free lawn at your Flower Mound, Highland Village, or Lewisville, TX home? Get a free quote and get ready to enjoy the best lawn on the block with no hassles on your end.

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