The Problem with Traditional Lawn Care

Stacks of white sacks with green ties loaded on a blue truck platform.

Are you applying traditional weed-and-feed fertilizer but still not getting results? Chances are that your soil is the problem--and the fertilizers you’re using are making it worse.

All the wrong chemicals in all the wrong places

National lawn care companies and traditional fertilizers give your lawn a lot of nitrogen and synthetic chemicals, but little else. Just like your own diet, too much of anything can be a problem. In summer, when soil temperatures climb and grass begins to stress, nitrogen in the soil can actually feed the enemy: disease! Namely, Rhizoctonia, Pythium blight, summer patch and take-all patch--all of which lead to dead areas on your lawn.

Traditional fertilizers are filled with nitrogen and chemicals because they’re cheap, and they get quick results. Nitrogen “greens up” grass, helping it grow quickly, but it’s like taking steroids in many ways--not sustainable over time.

Close-up view of grass plants showing the green blades, brown seeds, and roots in the soil.

Missing the roots

Nitrogen doesn’t do anything for your soil and root system, leaving your lawn vulnerable to disease and drought. When temperatures climb in the summer, your lawn will often die back and quickly lose all of the lush green color it had over the spring. On average, 80% of your roots will die back over the course of the summer.

Developing a solid root system is essential to preparing your grass for stress. Dumping nitrogen on your lawn can enable shallow rooting, which is counterproductive to preparing that turf for the most stressful period.

Brains before beauty

For the longer-term health of your lawn, you need to flip this strategy upside down. That’s what we’ve done at Lawnbright. Consider it our “brains before beauty” approach. Our first focus is on building the soil and root structure, strengthening what’s under the surface. 

To increase root depth and enhance soil chemistry over time add natural and organic soil conditioners at regular intervals. This approach increases organic material, which creates a healthy, more disease-resistant and drought-tolerant lawn. It also develops root biomass--which is a fancy way of saying that you’ll need less water and less nitrogen over the course of the season.

If this all sounds a little complicated--well, it can be. It’s also not one size fits all. Our strategy is to develop a custom course of treatment for your lawn, starting with a soil sample to tell us more about what it’s got and what it needs. Instead of giving you green lawn instantly, we help create a healthy root system, and the green lawn springs from that.

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