5 clues your lawn is giving you that it's in trouble – and how to fix them, fast

What your lawn is trying to tell you? Here are 5 problems to watch out for – and expert solutions for a healthy patch

Lawn mowed with stripes with house in background
(Image credit: Alamy)

Achieving a lush green lawn may seem like a simple process, but there are often obstacles to overcome. While knowing how to plant grass seed correctly is a great way to promote overall grass health – it is even more important to watch to your lawn as it grows. 

Hot weather (and bad weather), fungi and lawn care mistakes all have an inevitable impact on your efforts to make your lawn green and thick. And with these problems come symptoms that are a natural sign to take action. 

5 most common lawn problems

If you're looking to accentuate your backyard landscaping ideas, these five common lawn problems may be holding you back. However, the solution doesn't need to be a challenge. Here's how to spot and fix the problems quickly.

Green lawn with summerhouse and tree in blossom

(Image credit: Polly Eltes)

1. It's spongy 

If your lawn feels spongy, it is possible that thatch has built up for more than a couple of centimeters under your foot This will likely stop your lawn from growing well. However, the solution to thatch is simple, according to the lawn maintenance experts at Toolstation. They recommend scarifying the lawn using a rake or scarifier to remove the moss from around the base of the grass plants. 

2. It has a reddish tint

'If your lawn has taken on a reddish tint, it’s often a sign of a fungal disease called red thread,' the experts explain. This is especially common after a period of warm, wet weather when these diseases are more common. 

To treat red thread, you should apply a high nitrogen fertilizer [such as this one on Amazon] to your lawn.  This should cure the problem and all your grass to grow green once again. 

3. It's yellow with white tips 

If your lawn appears slightly yellow with white tips, it could be down to your best lawn mower, as it is likely that its blades just need sharpening. 

'The white tips indicate that the mower is tearing the blades of grass, creating frayed edges,' the experts explain. 'As a rule of thumb, mower blades should be sharpened after every 25 hours of use.'

Lush green lawn curving around beds of trees and mature shrubs

(Image credit: Nicola Stocken)

4. There are dry, bleached spots  

Dollar spot is another disease caused by a fungus called Sclerotinia homoeocarpa. It is responsible for distinctive small, circular patches of dead grass that are often bleached white or straw-colored, and again, your lawn mower could be the culprit.  

'It’s often a sign that you’re not mowing your lawn regularly enough or that it needs a boost of nitrogen,' the experts say. Similarly, our guide on repairing patches will allow you to find a solution that works in your garden. 

5.  There are yellow or brown bald patches  

Nothing dampens your perfect lawn edging ideas quite like the arrival of yellow or brown bald patches. And these unaesthetic spots are, once again, a sign that your lawn mower is causing a problem. 

'Unsightly yellow or brown patches that are almost devoid of grass are often a sign that your mower height is set too low,' the experts warn. 'Effectively, this causes parts of your lawn to become scalped. This can be avoided by adjusting the height of your lawnmower.'

How can I bring my lawn back to life?

The first thing to do is diagnose whether your lawn is dead or merely dormant (which it might be if the weather is extremely hot, for example). If it is dormant, it may just need to wait out the hot weather and get a little regular rainfall to recover. If there seems to be excess thatch, you should get rid of this; if the lawn is poorly aerated, till the soil; if it needs feeding, fertilize the lawn; if there are bald patches, plant new grass seed or lay turf; then finally put in a care routine to keep your grass healthy.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.