Help – My Lawn is Dry and Patchy!

In an ideal world, our grass would grow full and green without much effort on our part – maybe a mowing once a week, or a watering here or there. Unfortunately, Colorado’s scorching sun and lawn pests make this lawn dream extremely unrealistic. Even if you fertilized at all the right times and got your sprinkler system perfected last year, you could still be experiencing the negative side effects of a stressed lawn. Read on for a few tips on how to restore it to its natural green beauty.

The secret is to understand the root of the problem before throwing different solutions at your lawn. Just because your lawn is looking a bit brown and wilted doesn’t mean it’s underwatered. In fact, some fungal problems can be exacerbated by the addition of water!

Test Soil Dryness

One way to identify if the soil is truly dry and stressed is to use the ‘screwdriver test’. Push a screwdriver into the ground. If it easily penetrates the soil, the ground is not dry, and you should not water more.

If it is dry, you may need to test your sprinkler system to make sure it is functioning properly. Watch it run and see if it is missing certain spots of the lawn or shooting in the wrong direction. If that’s the case, you may just need to follow up by hand in the dry areas or adjust your sprinkler heads.

Adjust Your Mowing

If your lawn is suffering heat stress, it can also help to mow just a little bit higher. Grass that is left at three inches or taller is better able to shade the soil, retain moisture, and reduce heat stress. It is important that you do not remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade in any one mowing.

Lawn Fungus

If you suspect that you have lawn fungus, you may be seeing patches of brown or yellow spots. A lawn with fungus should be watered less frequently and for longer periods of time to allow the soil more time to absorb the water. Lawn suffering from fungus will also benefit from a higher mow. Anything less than three inches can encourage fungal diseases.


Over time, soil becomes compacted tighter and tighter. If you’re still experiencing lawn problems, it may be time to aerate your yard. This will help to loosen soil and encourage healthy grass growth. Aeration improves airflow through your lawn, helps the grass roots grow stronger, and allows for better nutrient and water absorption.

As always, let us know if you have questions about caring for your lawn! Our friendly team members at Alpine Gardens are happy to help. Give us a call at 970-226-2296.