As we come to the so-called “dog days of summer,” lawn care may be falling lower on your list of important items, whether it’s because of the heat, lack of rain, increased busy schedule, or the effort of upkeep and maintenance. Don’t give up on your yard just yet. There’s a lot you can do to have a healthy, green lawn for your family to enjoy, and you can do it all without toxic chemicals that harm the environment and the health of your family and pets. Here are some common lawn problems you might be experiencing, with some natural and effective solutions.

Lawn Problem #1: Dry, brown lawn. If your grass is brown, it could be due to several culprits. You might need to do a little investigating to find out which of these common problems are occurring: over mowing, lack of nutrients, or white grubs. If you are mowing too often or too short, your grass is not able to retain moisture in hot or dry weather. Reduce the frequency of mowing, and lift your mower deck a little higher. Soil testing will help you figure out which nutrients are missing in your soil to cause your grass to turn brown, while white grubs can be taken care of by introducing beneficial nematodes to your lawn. These thin, see through worm-like creatures can help you battle lawn pests.

Lawn Problem #2: Constantly overgrown. Do you feel as though you have to mow again as soon as you stop mowing? Perhaps you live in an area that gets plenty of rain and it seems as if your lawn just won’t stop growing out of control. It’s very possible that the growth you’re seeing is weeds and not grass. To take care of your weed problem, you can try a number of solutions. Digging out weeds by the roots will help if you have patches with certain weeds. You can also buy a good organic weed killer to use on the parts of your lawn where weeds are out of control. Covering weeds, either by laying black plastic over them, or by letting your lawn grow a little longer to cut out the sunlight and/or space weeds need to grow is another solution.

Lawn Problem #3: Too many weeds, not enough grass. Determining how to handle weeds depends on which weeds are taking over your lawn. If it’s clover you’re dealing with, don’t get rid of it! Clover is very beneficial and can help add nitrogen back to your lawn, which acts as a fertilizer. If you’re noticing a lot of crabgrass, you may be cutting your lawn too short. Eliminate the crabgrass you see by digging it up by the roots, and then set your mower deck higher. Looking out over a sea of dandelions? Fix that problem by getting your soil tested. Dandelions usually tell you that there’s too much or too little of a certain nutrient in your soil. Once you know what your soil needs (or needs less of), you can balance out your soil content.

Having a great looking lawn doesn’t require a slew of chemicals or backbreaking work. In fact, a beautiful healthy lawn is more likely if you’ve got a little time and the desire to do some detective work. An organic solution is healthier for your lawn, your family and the environment, and may be more effective than those conventional lawn chemicals that crowd the shelves!