Why Does My Grass Grow in Clumps?

If you’ve noticed your lawn is covered in many small bunches of grass rather than a smooth, even texture, the reason for it will depend on your yard’s situation. Some types of grass grow in clusters by nature of their root systems, whether the grass is desirable or coming in as a weed.

Clumpy growth could also be due to the soil conditions that allow only some areas of the lawn to grow.

Why Do Some Patches Of Grass Grow Faster?

Many people have lawns that are made of more than one type of grass. This helps maintain coverage in different areas of the yard and overlap to provide density. Shade-tolerant grasses will grow better in areas that get less sunlight and vice versa for sun-loving grasses.

These different types of grass may have faster or slower growth rates than the other grass in the yard.

Grass Patches

The main factor in the growth rate of different types of grass is the way they spread. Some grass, like Zoysia and Bermuda, tends to spread quickly by extending its roots, providing pretty even coverage.

Other types of grass, like Tall Fescue and Rye, grow as individual clumpy groups of roots that grow from the seeds they release, and they take longer to fill in a whole area with a single species.

These different types of grass roots interact with the ground moisture levels differently. Grass with shallow roots absorb water from the topsoil closer to the surface, and grass with clumped roots tend to reach deeper down into the ground, able to withstand some dryness.

Why Is My Grass Not Growing Evenly?

Different types of grass grow better in different soil conditions, and competition will be fierce for resources when multiple species are present. Bunchgrasses will do better in drier soil, able to extract more water from deeper in the ground.

When the ground is unevenly hydrated, some areas might be getting more moisture than others, resulting in patchy growth over the lawn.

Thatch buildup can also cause die-off by blocking sunlight from reaching the ground, preventing consistent growth over the lawn. On the other hand, if your mower blades are set too low, you may be exposing the grass to too much sun, which can dry and thin out the grass.

Grass that’s too short also has a weaker root system and might die off in sections. It’s generally recommended not to cut grass below 2 inches.

Clump Grass Identification

Clump Grass Identification

When you’re unsure of what kind of grass is growing in your lawn and causing a patchy appearance, take a close look at the color and texture of the blades, as well as the extent of its reach across your lawn.

  • Fescue – Fescue is a dark green grass with finer blades and deeper roots than most other lawn grasses. Fescue grows tall and in thick bunches.
  • Ryegrass – Ryegrass looks very similar to fescue but doesn’t do as well in dry soil. Along with fescue, it’s a cool-season grass that can contribute to good lawn coverage.
  • Crabgrass – A yellowish-green color, crabgrass is a weed that grows in tight bunches and keeps low to the ground. During the summer, grass will stand out against darker or more even grasses in your yard.
  • Orchardgrass – This bunching grass has a blue hue to its green blades and is a warm-season grassy weed. It’s not as drought-tolerant as other grassy weeds but can remain year-round in good moisture.

How you deal with clumpy grass once it’s identified is a question of whether it’s the grass you want to be there or if it’s a weed.

Desirable Bunchgrass

If your lawn is covered in many small bunches of fescue or rye grass, it’s probably part of the lawn seed mix that was laid down in the past. The other types of grass might not be doing as well if the soil is too dry or compact.

Aerating, watering, and adding fertilizer to the soil can help the grasses spread on their own. Overseeding with new grass seed can then help fill in some of those gaps.

Getting Rid Of Grassy Weeds

Grassy Weeds

Since both desirable and undesirable grass can grow in bunches in your lawn, you’ll most likely start to notice the weeds by the time they’re already growing. Post-emergent spray herbicides are your best bet to get rid of these grassy weeds, and formulas are designed to be safe for your wanted turf grasses.

Spot treating clumpy grasses is effective since they grow as individual bunches. Be sure to spray during their growth period so the herbicide is well-absorbed and so the grass doesn’t mature and let out its seeds.


Author: Matt Hagens

Hi, I’m Matt the owner of Obsessed Lawn. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. Learn more about me and find me on Facebook.