Grass Issue

Asked July 11, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT

My lawn has been struggling the past few years. Age 25 yrs. Use SOD program with So. States product, have irrigation, added compost with aeration 2 years ago, Creekwood Subdivision. Grass seems weak even in early spring and now turning brown. Grass looks better in places I patched using bags of topsoil. My gut is soil lacks something

Chesterfield County Virginia

5 Responses

Anytime a lawn is struggling the first order of business is a soil test to determine if the nutrients and/or pH levels are adequate or if you need specific amendments for your soil. You can pick up a soil test kit at the Chesterfield Extension office at 6807 Mimms Loop near the county administration building or at any branch of the Chesterfield Library. Directions for taking the sample and submitting it to Virginia Tech lab are included in the kit.

Next on the list of things to do is to take a sample of the grass to the office (or submit it through the library system) to determine if there are diseases or insects causing some of the problem. You will need to take a section approximately 4" square, digging down about 2" deep to get the roots as well. Be sure the section is in the transition zone so it includes both dying grass and some which is still green. This will help determine if insecticides or fungicides are needed to help clear up the problem. Please take the sample or send it via the library early in the week so it won't sit around the office over a weekend.

Also, take a screwdriver with a 4" blade and see how far you can push it into the soil. If you can't get the blade all the way in, the soil may be so compacted that the grass roots are not able to penetrate deeply enough to provide moisture and nutrients to the lawn.

Once all this information is known, the Extension office will be able to help you determine what is needed to make your lawn healthier. The publication below gives additional information on lawn maintenance and renovation for our area.

Spring and Summer Lawn Management

If you have additional questions on this subject please use the reply feature within this email or call the office at 804-751-4401.


Thanks for your advice. I stopped by the Mimms Loop office with a soil and grass sample today. Although they could not help me, the lobby person was nice enough to send me to A &L Labs. I should get the results tomorrow.

I must have misunderstood you, where should I send the grass sample?

Thank you for volunteering your time and service.


I'm terribly sorry you had this experience at the office and for any misunderstanding. A&L Laboratory is excellent and should give you good advice. The office doesn't process the soil samples but they have kits for you to send it to Virginia Tech Soil Laboratory. That was what I meant for you to do, but A&L will be faster.

The grass sample should have been left at the office for our agent (and plant pathologist) to look at for a diagnosis. When you get the lab results, I suggest you take it and the grass sample (or a fresh one) to the office. You might want to call first (804-751-4401) to be sure that Mike Likins is in. He will be happy to help you with your lawn problem.

Please let me know if you need additional help or if you experience any more problems with the office.



Thanks for all your help.

I met with Mike this afternoon. All the numbers from my soil testing look good.

In looking at my sod sample he did see a lot of brown patch and shallow root growth.
He recommended that I irrigate 2 times a week at a 1/2 inch. I was irrigating 3 times a week at 20 minutes per zone.

This time a different lobby person,and a a very pleasant and informative visit.

Hope your grass is green!!!!


Glad I could be of some help, Bob. If we can assist you with anything else, don't hesitate to contact us.