Mike Murray: Organic Lawn Detective

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Some people think organic lawn care is boring, but Mike Murray, lawn detective, knows otherwise…

Case #1 – The Dead Spot

A recent case involved a persistent dead spot in someone’s front lawn. The home owner had replaced the sod in that area several years in a row and couldn’t figure out why it died each year. organic lawn care detective When we looked at the soil, we encountered the foul smell of anaerobic conditions. As we dug deeper, the smell of gas became more evident. The pipe ran under the lawn. The gas, mostly made of methane, replaces any oxygen in the soil and kills the normal biology. This process also feeds methane-eating bacteria in the soil. The two processes of bacterial growth and reduced oxidation kills the grass roots. Call the gas company.

Case #2 – The Thin Brown Line

In another case, a thin brown line about 3 inches wide ran across a green side yard each summer. We dug down looking for pipes or roots or rock. The soil looked just like that under the green grass on either side. We couldn’t figure it out until Alfredo was there on a sunny day. It turns out some double paned, energy efficient windows can act like a magnifying glass and focus the reflected sunlight. The intense heat can melt a neighbor’s vinyl siding, or, in this case, burn the grass. Another case solved.