Grass probelms

Asked April 29, 2019, 11:14 AM EDT


My lawn is a mess, I think I may have grubs and something else. I have attached pictures (img 440, 436) so you can get a better understanding of what I am talking about. What do you recommend I do to help salvage my lawn?
Also my neighbors weeds seem to traveling over to my yard as well, what to you recommend to keep my lawn healthy and not get infested with their weeds?

Wayne County Michigan lawn management lawn bare spots

3 Responses


Thank you for the photos. Those provide a good starting point...for more questions.

The first question--Have you actually seen grubs, now or last summer? We only recommend treating for grubs if you actually find them in your lawn, or find evidence of their activity. That evidence would be the turf lifting easily off the soil--like a rug--because the roots are gone. Or possibly if your nearby neighbors have experienced those conditions.

Can you tell me when this started? Is this what was left behind when the snow melted this spring, or has this condition been progressing for some time? What did the lawn look like at the end of last season?

Is the lawn shaded? I didn't see any trees or tall buildings in the photos, but shade (and tree roots) are factors that can make a lawn more challenging to maintain.

Finally, could you please tell me a little bit about how you managed the lawn last summer. Did you fertilize? Do you water during dry periods or let the lawn go dormant? Did you use any weed control (herbicides)?

I know this is a lot of questions, but the answers will help pinpoint recommendations for making your lawn look better.


I am pretty sure I saw grubs last year, I have had them in the past, my neighbor has had them as well.
The grass has been getting worse over the last couple years, this is the worst it is ever looked in the spring.
The lawn is shaded in the morning but gets full sun in the afternoon.
Last year I did fertilizer it and watered it regularly. Last July that side of the lawn got burnt even though I watered it and tried to keep it healthy.

At this time of year, you treat grubs using what is referred to as a curative product, to kill the grubs that are present in the turf. Later in the year, you then apply a preventative product, which keeps them from becoming established for the next year. In your situation, you could apply both, but if you aren't seeing grubs right now, you may want to wait and simply apply the preventative product later in the summer. This link describes the different products you would use and when you would use them:

The dead area appears to be too large to expect existing turf to grow to fill it, so I would recommend seeding. As a first step, treat the weeds with an herbicide that targets broadleaf weeds. (These herbicides won't harm the existing grass.) Killing the existing weeds gives the new grass a better chance to get established.

If the tufts of green grass growing in the dead areas are acceptable, leave them. If not, if they are a weedy rough textured grass that you don't like, remove them. You can either dig them out, or treat them with a general purpose herbicide that kills grasses as well as broadleaf weeds. If you use an herbicide to kill this grass, choose one that allows you to plant soon after application. (The label will tell you this.)

If your soil feels compacted (hard and packed down), you might want to have it core aerated. This process removes plugs of soil from the turf, allowing more air and water into the root area. This would be good for the entire lawn, not just the area being reseeded. It's ok to leave the plugs of soil on the grass. They will break down quickly.

To seed the dead areas, start by spreading 1/4" to 1/2" of topsoil over the area to be seeded Then spread the seed, and drag a leaf rake lightly over the area. You are just using the vibration from the rake to move the seed and soil closer to the ground, not to take anything out. Apply a starter fertilizer to this area--these are lawn fertilizers that contain phosphorus. Water the area to keep it moist, but not wet, until the new grass becomes established.

After the seeds germinate, fertilize according to the schedule you use for the rest of the lawn, using the same products. You may want to use a fertilizer that includes broadleaf weed control to help manage the weeds coming from next door. How often you fertilize depends on what kind of lawn you want to have. I'm attaching a link to an article that discusses this.

The more you fertilize and water, the thicker and greener your lawn will be, but that comes at a cost, both in terms of dollars and time.

Good luck with this project! Let me know if you have additional questions, or if part of this information isn't clear.