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Why Isn’t My Grass Growing?!

Possibly the worst thing that can happen to a passionate gardener is having a lawn that won’t grow. You may have moved to a new property, tried to get your hands nice and dirty, and then realised the grass is in a terrible condition. Don’t worry, all is not lost! There are several reasons why a lawn won’t grow. Here are a few you should be checking for.

First of all, drought. This is a major thing that catches out northern gardeners who move south. Many of them move to a sunny, arid area, and neglect to consider the effect the climate will have on their patch of green. If you’re far too used to letting the rain take care of your grass, then consider how much rain your grass is actually getting. When summer rolls around, it may be necessary to water the lawn regularly. Understandably, you may not be able to rush home from work several times a day! You may need to set up a sprinkler system on a timer. Bear in mind that grass will naturally become dormant after a few weeks without water. It takes over a month of drought for the roots to actually die.


Image source: Flickr

Thatch is another common reason for a sorry looking lawn. This usually manifests as several brown spots that you want to be green. If you didn’t know already, thatch is a thick layer of rotting plant matter beneath the surface of the soil. This layer can choke the roots of grass and other plants. It’s a common misconception that thatch is caused by grass cuttings. On the contrary, these decompose much faster, and add helpful nutrients to the soil in your garden. Fortunately there’s a pretty easy way to check if thatch is causing harm to your lawn. Simply dig a shallow hole – about two inches – in your lawn. Having some thatch is natural. However, if the layer is much deeper than an inch, it could be what’s killing your lawn.

Finally, shade. Even the most inexperienced gardeners know that grass needs a healthy amount of sun to grow. However, sometimes giving your lawn the right amount of sun is easier said than done. Usually, this is caused by a mature, thick-leaved tree casting a large shadow over your patch. Manually giving it enough water, or trimming back the tree can help sometimes. However, in a lot of cases, grass in the most shaded areas is unsalvageable. If you’re not too much of a purist, then you might want to consider hiring in grass pavers or another artificial solution. I know that this is cheating, and artificial grass is never quite the real thing. Still, don’t bash it before you do a bit of research. Modern artificial grass can be exceedingly realistic. In many cases though, you have to choose between a living tree and living grass.

Coping with a lawn that simply doesn’t want to grow can be very frustrating. However, there’s almost always a root and a solution. Check your grass for these problems, and then work on them!


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