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Your Essential Guide to Lawn Care in Northern Virginia

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Are you struggling to grow grass on your property? Since we all love a thick, healthy, and thriving lawn, it can become a major source of frustration if grass is growing poorly. But certain conditions such as growing grass in shade or growing grass with dogs—or even growing grass in wet areas—can be a major challenge.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the common lawn problem areas and how you might consider taking action.

1. Growing Grass in Poor Soil

So often, homeowners (and even some lawn care pros) don’t give much thought to what’s going on beneath their grass. But the true secret to a healthy and vibrant lawn is in its soil. No matter what lawn care products you use, if you’re not doing anything to fix bad lawn soil, then you’re never going to get optimal results.

Specifically, here in Alexandria, Arlington, and Springfield, Virginia, our soil is rocky and clay-like. Growing grass in clay soil or growing grass in rocky soil can be incredibly challenging if you aren’t taking steps to fix it.

Lawn aeration is one of the most valuable services you can have performed to fix clay soil. That’s why we call it the “cornerstone of our lawn care program.” On top of that (literally), you’ll also want to consider topdressing. When you topdress the lawn with compost, it will mix with the clay soil and help to improve the soil structure and microbial life. This will help you to form a better layer of topsoil.Lawn care technician aerating

2. Growing Grass in Shade

Another difficult condition is excessive shade. Growing grass in shade is challenging even for shade-tolerant grass types, as they still require at least some sunlight. If you have a heavily shaded area, your lawn will likely always struggle in that spot.

One potential solution is to perform tree pruning to allow more sunlight to filter through to your lawn. This could improve some of the growth. However, you might need to consider the fact that grass will never grow quite as well in shady areas as it does in other zones. This might warrant a solution like extended tree rings or mulched areas, perhaps with shade-loving plants.

Or, if you really want a full and healthy lawn, you might even consider removing the tree (or trees) that are causing shade.

3. Growing Grass in Summer

Another challenge can simply be the season. Growing grass in the summer can be difficult when we’re experiencing intense heat or drought conditions. There are also many notorious summer weeds that can become a problem at this time of year. That’s because the hot and dry weather typically means grass is already stressed. This is the time when opportunistic weeds see their chance to strike!
Lawn weeds in summer
The best way to address summer lawn conditions is with a lawn care company that will help keep up with summer lawn maintenance. When your lawn is in the best condition possible, it can better stand-up to summer stressors.

Of course, that’s not to say that your lawn will never be subject to summer problems. Your lawn care company cannot control Mother Nature and even when you’ve taken all of the right steps, your lawn could still experience some stress from summer heat and drought. Make sure that you’re set up with good cultural practices such as proper watering so that your lawn is getting what it needs during those periods of dryness.

4. Growing Grass with Dogs

Pet ownership is a wonderful thing. But when it comes to having a thick and thriving lawn, you probably know that dogs pose a challenge. For one, urine burn is a major concern. Because dog urine is high in nitrogen and urea, which in high doses can burn the grass, you could be experiencing lawn problems simply because of your dogs having to pee.

One solution that homeowners have found has worked is training their dog to use a spot on the lawn that isn’t highly visible, such as a side yard. Or, you might be able to train your dog to use a mulched area where you don’t have to worry about them burning the grass.

Another common dog-related lawn problem is dogs digging up the turf. There isn’t an easy fix for this. Instead, you could create a dog-friendly area on the property (maybe on the side of the house), where you don’t care as much if it gets torn up. Or, you could make sure that your pup gets plenty of play time at the local dog park instead of your backyard.

If mud is your major issue, you’ll want to look into addressing any drainage concerns. Nothing is more frustrating than feeling like you can’t send your pet out in the yard because it’s rained. Nobody wants to deal with a muddy mess if it can be avoided!

Working with a pet-friendly landscaping company who understands your concerns is the key to success.lawn drainage installation

5. Growing Grass on a Slope

Growing grass on a bank can be different than other areas of the property, as the weather conditions aren’t the same. Oftentimes a bank might be sunnier than other spots. If one area of the grass is receiving a lot of extra sun, it might need some extra TLC to perform its best.

We understand how frustrating it can be when grass seems to be performing well everywhere and then a few particular spots are problematic. It may require some troubleshooting with a lawn care professional to determine how to best address these zones.

People often assume that their lawn conditions will be the same across the entire property but that’s simply not the case. Differences in sunlight and shade are two big ones.

6. Growing Grass in Wet Areas

Just as we talked about above, there can be certain areas of the property that are wetter than others (just like there are certain areas that are sunnier). These tend to be low spots around the property. Unfortunately, this can pose some challenges. Grass can struggle to thrive if the roots are absolutely soaked as it deprives them of oxygen.

Landscape drainage solutions might be needed if you’re dealing with soggy grass.

7. Growing Grass in Mossy Areas

A lawn (or parts of a lawn) where moss is taking over, is usually the result of a combination of shade and wet soil conditions. This can occur during a particularly rainy season. But it’s also usually the result of compacted soil that isn’t draining well.

Getting rid of moss and getting grass to grow probably is not going to be a “quick fix.” It goes back to our first point about gras needing healthy soil to thrive. You’re going to need a lawn aeration service to break up the soil compaction and allow the water to drain better.

You may also need to address the shade conditions if that’s making it difficult to grow grass. As we mentioned, growing grass in shade can be challenging since even the “shade-loving grass types” need some sun.

The solution to growing grass in mossy areas may be multifaceted. A landscape pro can help you devise an effective game plan.

Choosing a Professional to Help You Address Grass Growing Challenges

We understand that grass growing challenges are a major pain. But with the right landscape professional on your side, you can overcome many of these tough situations. The key is to find the right company.

Many lawn care companies are solely focused on the lawn and don’t deal with other areas of the landscape. But since these other areas can impact the lawn, you might be getting an incomplete solution.

At Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape, we handle both professional lawn care and landscaping. That means we can help you in addressing some of the big picture issues that might be causing your lawn problems.
Healthy grass
We’ll also be honest with you when trying to grow a lawn just isn’t your best option. Sometimes converting lawn areas to mulched or hardscape areas is your best solution if the grass is never going to grow the way you desire.

At Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape, you can count on us to help guide you to the best solutions. After all, we believe that the last thing you should have to do is spend time worrying about why your lawn isn’t looking its best.

If you’d like to stop worrying about your lawn, request your quote, choose from 3 lawn care package options, and relax as you get the royal treatment.

Learn About Our Lawn Care Packages 

Krisjan Berzins - Owner, CEO

Since 1997, Krisjan has led the Kingstowne team with one simple philosophy, treat every customer like the “only” customer. His passionate pursuit of impeccable customer service has resulted in 24 successful years and a thriving company with over 85 employees, helping thousands of homeowners in the Alexandria, Arlington, and Springfield, VA area get what they want -- a worry-free property they can be proud of.