Are the proper precautions being taken when it comes to caring for your lawn? Homeowners in the Gresham, Happy Valley, Troutdale, and surrounding areas have killed their lawn by making simple mistakes. However, by making important adjustments to your lawn care approach or by using a professional lawn care company like J&C Lawn Care, you can see a tremendous difference in your property's appearance.

Here are six ways you might be killing your lawn.

#1: Mowing Your Lawn Too Short

Mowing too short, or scalping your lawn, can cause an abundance of problems for the turf. First, it starves the grass, causing it to turn brown. This happens because the amount of energy obtained by the grass is decreased, which causes photosynthesis to slow down. The result is a weak lawn that becomes more susceptible to stress, insects, and lawn disease. Additionally, the exposed soil creates an inviting condition for weed growth from previously dormant weed seeds.

Make sure you never set your mower to the lowest setting. Never cut your lawn lower than 2.5-3". Weekly mowing at the right height can avoid your scalping issues.

#2: Improper Fertilization and/or Herbicide Usage

Fertilizers and herbicides help your lawn grow better and stronger. Improperly using one or both of these can cause a number of issues for your lawn.

Overusing Fertilizer

Applying too much fertilizer can cause severe problems for the grass on your property. Overusing fertilizer leads to burnt and dying grass. Also, from an environmental standpoint, if your home is situated where fertilizer can run off into waterways, excess amounts can cause toxic algae to grow.

Hire professionals like J&C Lawn Care to fertilize your lawn seasonally! Fertilizer has to be applied properly and with care.

Proper Weed Control

If you have a healthy lawn, proper weed control means using it in a small, isolated area where weeds are a problem. Practicing weed prevention is the best method for reducing them on your property. Using proper mowing techniques and growing a healthy root system decreases the overall amount of weeds on your turf. Additionally, making sure that weed contol is done at the proper times of the year for your location is equally as important.

Irrigation system of a homeowner in Happy Valley that has been set for the proper amount of watering.

#3: Overwatering or Underwatering

Overwatering or underwatering can bring serious issues for your turf. Be cautious of the amount of water you use when you hydrate your property.


Oversaturating the grass prevents the water from soaking into the roots, which causes it to sit on the top layer of the soil. Overwatered lawns tend to have a yellowish or light-greenish color to them.

Other negative side effects from overwatering your lawn include:

  • Compacted soil
  • An abundance of insects
  • A shallow root system
  • Lawn fungus
  • Presence of mold or rot on the lawn

By overwatering your lawn, you can end up starving the roots by replacing its oxygen intake with water. For your soil to grow and thrive, it needs to have a steady supply of oxygen.


Dry, brown, and dehydrated lawns are the result of underwatering. One side effect of underwatering is that it invites weed growth. Another side effect is that it restricts the growth of the turf's root system, thereby weakening your grass.

Make sure your lawn is getting the right amount of water! You want to saturate your lawn about six inches into the soil. Check every 15 minutes during your first watering, to see how long it takes your soil to get wet. When you have established how long it takes, use this time period as a reference for future waterings.

#4: Letting Your Dog Poop and Urinate in the Yard

Both dog feces and urine are very high in nitrogen, their urine in particular. Though nitrogen is an ingredient in fertilizer, the concentration of it in your dog's waste far exceeds what is needed by your turf. In short, a dog taking care of its business in the yard is like dumping a small pile of nitrogen in one spot, which burns out the grass.

Additionally, dog feces contain bacteria and parasites that can easily spread to humans and animals. Some of the bacteria and parasites include salmonella, E. coli, and roundworm.

Remedy your situation by immediately scooping up and disposing of dog poop. Select one patch of grass or a gravel area that your dog can urinate or poop, to protect the rest of your lawn.

Thoughtful placement of the yard's hardscaping elements have helped this homeowner in Gresham to avoid too much foot traffic in his lawn.

#5: Too Much Foot Traffic

Reduce the amount of foot traffic to areas that start getting thin, especially during the hotter months of summer. Sometimes, your lawn will go dormant during summer to beat the heat. This is a defense mechanism used by the lawn. If there is too much foot traffic during this time, it can become brittle, break, and kill areas of the lawn.

Be conscientious of how frequently you are treading in certain areas of your yard. Be aware of where lawn furniture, grills, and other items are. Do not leave them in the same spot for too long and keep them off the grass as much as possible.

#6: Dumping Chemical Waste

Dumping chemical waste on your lawn is a sure way to kill it. It can be easy to spill fertilizer or gas on your lawn when you are refueling. To avoid this, find a safe space away from the grass to fuel up. Dumping chemicals exposes your pets, children, and other people to them, which can result in health issues. Chemical dumping can also lead to environmental concerns.

If you are in the Gresham, Happy Valley, orTroutdale region, contact J&C Lawn Care at (971) 284-2035 to handle all of your lawn mowing and maintenance. We follow proper mowing and fertilizing techniques that will help you avoid these six mistakes, and put you on the path to a healthier, greener turf!