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Lawns FAQs

Find answers to common lawn questions, like when to fertilize and aerate, repairing damage and more. 

Dog Damage

Q.  When I was mowing the lawn, many small white moths flew out of the grass. What are they?  Do they harm the lawn?

A.  The moths are the adult form of the webworm, and though are busy laying eggs, do not cause any damage to your lawn. The grubs, however, which are the immature stage of the webworm, feed on roots of the sod, causing brown patches in the lawn. Damage is most evident in July and August, when the growth of the grass has slowed, and the lawn is unable to quickly recover. 

Note that the presence of moths does not necessarily mean the larvae are in your soil; moths are able to fly great distances and may be coming from other infested areas. To determine if grubs are present, flush a mixture of 2 tbsp. soap with 2 gallons of water into the soil. This will usually bring larvae to the surface. Or, you can lift up a section of turf IF you see a browned section, and you will more than likely see the grub feeding on the thatch. 

If the larvae are present, then Grub Out or BTK can be applied to the area. Be sure to follow the directions for lawn application. Product should be applied late in the evening, when larvae are most actively feeding. Also, try to remove any excess thatch, especially in Spring. Aerating is also very beneficial to lawns and can be done in Spring to Fall.

Q.  In the past, I seem to remember hearing that it was NOT good to have a high nitrogen content in any fall fertilizer and that higher K and P numbers were better.  It seems that most fall fertilizers now  have a high Nitrogen content.  So what is the best fall lawn fertilzer to purchase - low or high Nitrogen content?

A.  Yes, in the past you would have heard high phosphorous being recommended for healthy roots as opposed to Nitrogen.  However turf experts do now recommend that as long as nitrogen is applied once grass growth has slowed (after August) and before the lawn goes dormant (November) the sugars that get stored are highly valuable for the lawn in spring.

Q. When can I start fertilizing my lawn?

A. It is best to fertilize in mid-spring, after the lawn has been aerated and dethatched.

Q. Which fertilizer do you recommend for my lawn in the spring?

A. We recommend Scotts Turf Starter: 20 - 27 - 5. The high middle number helps any damaged roots to re-establish. When the lawn has greened up (usually around the end of May) you may apply Scotts Turf Builder 29 - 3 - 4. The high first number (nitrogen) helps keep the lawn green.


Q. What time of year is it best to aerate?

A. Generally spring is the best time of the year to aerate. You can aerate in the fall as well.


Q. What is the best way to repair the bright yellow spots on my lawn that is caused by the dog?

A.  Having lush, green grass can be quite a challenge if you have a dog. Their urine causes unsightly yellow spots, eventually killing patches of grass. Any dog trainer will tell you that it is possible to train your pet to urinate in one area, but this takes time and patience. Here are some tips on preventing and repairing patchwork grass:

  1. As soon as you see that the grass has been urinated on (discoloration can occur within 24-48hrs in warm weather), you should sprinkle garden lime on to the area and saturate with water. The acid from your pet's urine is what burns the grass, so neutralizing it with lime then flushing with water will help.
  2. If the damage is already apparent, rake up the dead grass as much as possible. Sprinkle with garden lime and water area well. Grass seed will not germinate in acidic soil, so lime is crucial. Cover the patch with a light layer of soil, apply grass seed, then cover seed with a light layer of soil. Repaired patches must be lightly watered daily (twice in hot, dry weather) for germination within two to three weeks. A slow release starter fertilizer such as So Green 7-21-7 can be lightly applied for better root development.
  3. C.I.L. Fast Fix Lawn Repair is an all in one repair formula that includes soil conditioner, seed, mulch and fertilizer. This easy to use product can be used all season long. We do recommend raking up the dead grass and applying a light layer of soil before using this mixture.
  4. If you're in a rush, the dead patch can be cut out, then garden lime used to neutralize the soil. Greenland sells pieces of sod that you can cut to fit the patches. Water daily and within one week your lawn will look much better.

Some dogs cause more damage than others because of the levels of acid in their urine. Pet stores do sell products that are ingested by the animal to neutralize their urine. Otherwise, try to teach Fido to go in one area of your yard or while they are enjoying a walk in sod-free areas.