Wednesday, July 24, 2019 / by Grant Williams
The first thing a potential buyer sees when they pull up to your home is your lawn. That patch of green -- or not-so-green -- grass is key to selling your home. Here are four Texas lawn problems to look out for before you put your house on the market.
Even in sunny Texas, you can have too much shade. Trees and structures can create bare patches in your lawn, creating shade stress. Buffalograss and bermudagrass don’t do well in the shade, so it’s best to choose something more shade-tolerant, such as St. Augustine grass, for the shady parts of a Texas lawn.
If replacing your grass is too costly, you can thin out tree branches to allow more sunlight through. It also helps to set your mower blade higher to give your lawn the chance to get more sunlight with more leaf. And keep all human and pet traffic off of the struggling, shade-stressed grass.
If you’ve lived through a Texas summer, you’ve no doubt seen drought-stressed grass. The grass turns silvery brown as it gets parched. This is where bermudagrass and buffalograss are helpful. They're both drought-tolerant. In some instances, you may not be able to do very much about it — for instance, if the municipality where you live restricts water use during droughts. If there are no drought restrictions, you should water thoroughly, early in the morning, so the water has less of the chance to evaporate.
Chinch bugs, grubs and cutworms are common insect invaders in Texas lawns.
Chinch bugs: Texas A&M University offers a low-tech way to check for chinch bugs: Cut out the bottom of a coffee can and push the can about an inch deep into the lawn. Fill it with water. If there are chinch bugs, the insects will float to the surface. The first clue, though, is irregular yellow patches in your lawn. The best way to prevent chinch bugs is to avoid drought stress.
Grubs: Grubs look like something straight out of the movie “Alien.” (Insert shudder here.) These cream-colored insects feed on the roots and cause significant damage. You don’t have to use chemicals to kill them. Instead, there are tiny worms that will do the job without harming the environment.
Cutworms: Cutworms are another common lawn pest. They hide in lawn thatch and soil. They feast on plants and grass leaves. You need to remove these as soon as you spot them since they’ll multiply quickly. Insecticidal soaps and neem oil will stop an infestation. Just mix either one with water in a spray bottle and spray it on the infected area.
If you’re unsure of what type of insect infestation you have, you can always get a free estimate from a local company that specializes in lawn treatment. Most of the time the treatment is affordable and most companies will guarantee their work.
Take-all patch and brown patch are big culprits in Texas. The difference is that take-all patch rots the roots, while brown patch rots the grass. If you have irregular spots in your lawn, you're looking at take-all patch. If they're circular, it’s most likely brown patch. In both cases, it’s recommended that you irrigate your lawn well and take other steps to prevent stress, such as not mowing too low. Also, water in the early morning to let the grass blades dry out thoroughly during the day and apply fungicide at the first sign of disease.
Preventing Lawn Care Problems
However, you should be thinking about your lawn long before the sale of your home. As the phrase goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Most lawn care problems from weeds to pest infestation can be prevented by following a proper lawn care routine which includes proper mowing, aeration, fertilization and overseeding. Though it takes either time or a bit of money, having a yard that is not only problem free but lush and green will make your life a whole lot easier when it comes time to sell your home.
Are you thinking of selling your home in the near future? Try out our free tool today to see what your home is worth.