What’s That Growing on Your Lawn?
Regularly walking around your garden won’t just give you some much needed fresh air and exercise, it will also give you the opportunity to become more familiar with changes over time. Helping you to spot issues early. So, as we enter the third lockdown in England, why not spend the extended time many of us have at home to give your lawn the once over, and check for problems.
We’ve already talked about moss, but what else could you look out for?
There are various types of algae that may grow on your lawn. They are generally dark green or blackish and can create a slimy layer across your grass. You may notice that areas of your lawn with algae become slippery under foot.
Algae tends to flourish where the grass is thin, and where the lawn is draining poorly and/or is in constant shade. You may also see algae extending beyond your lawn, onto paths, decking and even trees.
Lichens are a peculiar organism and are a combination of algae and fungi, although generally most lay people will just identify them as a type of fungi, as this is what they look most like.
One of the more common lichen to appear on lawns is dog lichen. These looks like grey or black scales, which have a white underside. Each ‘scale’ can grow up to 3 cm across. Like the algae describes above, these can be slippery, but when they dry out they resemble thin pieces of paper.
The presence of dog lichen is an indication that your soil is in a very poor condition. The lichen is also a sign that the soil is compacted and not draining properly and, again like algae, is more common in shaded areas.
Liverworts can grow on trees, shrubs and other plants, as well as in soil and on hard surfaces. When liverworts grow on lawns, they have a tendency to grow at the edges. Some people are quite happy for liverworts to grow on structures such as trellises or on pots and containers as they can give them an aged look and do very little harm.
Liverworts should be removed from lawns, if only for aesthetic reasons. More important however is to address the underlying problems that have allowed liverworts to grow in your lawn. They are more common in heavy clay soils which require aeration and improved drainage.
Like liverworts, slime moulds are mostly harmless to your lawn. In addition they don’t usually last long in your lawn as they disintegrate quickly, and can be removed with something as simple as a jet of water. Slime moulds come in a variety colours, and can be yellowish, white, orange or grey-black.
Slime moulds often appear after a spell of wet weather, and although they won’t damage your grass they can point to insufficient drainage, which should be addresses.
Snow mould/ Fusarium patch
Snow mould (or Fusarium patch) is a disease caused by a fungus. Like slime moulds, this can also be a problem during periods of particularly wet weather. As well as looking unappealing, snow mould damages your turf and can be difficult to control. Signs of the disease include small patches of dying, yellowish grass, which gradually increase in size. You may also notice a pinkish or white fungal growth that looks a bit like cotton. Snow mould can be confused with red thread, so the safest thing is to ask a professional to assess your lawn. They will also be able to advise you about the most appropriate treatment.
Another change you may notice at this time of year is the appearance of molehills. This is because there is an increase in mole activity in late winter and early spring. Molehills are very easy to spot, and are formed from the soil that the moles excavate from their tunnels.
If the problem isn’t too bad you can just remove the molehills before mowing and fill any collapsed tunnels. You can then go about trying to deter them from your lawn, with options including electronic devices that emit a sound said to drive the moles away. There is also some suggestion that regular mowing and use of your garden, for example children playing, will also discourage moles.
Many organisations, including the RSPCA, suggest that you should try and live with moles where possible. However, if you are determined to find a more permanent solution to your mole problem, it is best to speak to a contractor who specialises in mole removal.
Stop problems before they arise
Many of the issues that can affect your lawn can be prevented by adhering to a regular lawn maintenance plan. Addressing poor drainage and lawn compaction, for example will go a long way to limiting the growth of many lichens, algae and other organisms on your lawn. Speak to All Green Lawn Treatments about setting up a year-round treatment plans, and solve problems before they arise.