Diagnosing Lawn Problems

There are many things that can cause a lawn to decline and die. Drought, soil compaction, excessive shade, chemical injury, pests and diseases are among the many possible contributing factors. If you are watering and fertilizing properly, and if the turf is receiving adequate sunlight, the problem may be due to pests or diseases. The AgriLife Extension Office in Harris County can assist you with diagnosing your lawn problems. In order to properly diagnose your lawn problem we need to see a sample.

Here is how to take and submit a sample: Cut a 4″ X 4″ section of turf out of the lawn with a couple of inches of soil and roots. It is very important that the sample contain living but declining turf from the area between healthy and dead grass. In other words we need sick grass, not dead grass if we are going to make a diagnosis (we can’t do autopsies!). Slip the sample into a plastic bag with a zip closure or twist tie closure right away to prevent escape of any insects that may be present, and write your name, phone and email on the sample bag. The following online video shows the correct way to take a sample:

Diagnosing Dead Spots in the Lawn

Drop your sample off at the AgriLife Extension office at 3033 Bear Creek Drive; Houston, TX 77084. We are open M-F from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If our office it too far away you can also mail it to us. We’ll take a look at the sample in our lab and get back to you with the results and a recommended course of action.

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