Lawn hazards You love spending time on your beautiful lawn. It serves as a playground, picnic area and a place for stargazing. But what you may not realize is that your lawn can harbor threats to your family’s health. Discover seven common lawn hazards and learn how to deal with them.

Ruts or Low Spots

When a lawn develops an uneven surface, activities like walking or mowing become treacherous. Ruts and low spots create opportunities for tripping, stumbling or turning an ankle.

Mowing in the same direction every time can eventually cause ruts, as can pushing a heavy wheelbarrow through wet grass. Familiarize yourself with what causes ruts and holes and how to repair them.

Mosquitoes

You might not associate mosquitoes with a lawn, but healthy, irrigated grass provides the microclimate adult mosquitoes crave between feeding flights: high humidity and shade. The sliver of shade cast by grass blades provides adequate shelter for these tiny bloodsuckers, which means that even a sunny lawn can harbor adult insects. Keep grass mowed to a proper height to limit mosquito-friendly hiding places.

Mushrooms

These friendly fungi are problematic when curious hands pick them for edible use. Never eat mushrooms unless you have confirmed with an expert that they’re edible. Teach children to leave them alone.

Mushrooms typically occur in a too-wet lawn – one that’s overwatered or drains poorly. Review the basics on lawn irrigation to ensure you’re watering turf correctly.

Aerating can help address some drainage issues. Mushrooms also appear when there’s buried organic matter, such as a tree stump or timber. Mushrooms break down this organic material, disappearing when the job is done.

Animal Droppings

Both pet and wildlife waste pose serious health threats. These calling cards contain parasites and bacteria that can cause diseases in people, such as salmonellosis, leptospirosis and campylobacteriosis. Pet waste frequently contains roundworms, tapeworms, salmonella and Giardia. Some parasite eggs can shift from waste to soil, where they can remain infectious for years.

Wear gloves when you gather and dispose of pet or animal waste. Wash your hands afterward with soap and water. If you have young children, make sure they know not to touch or play with animal waste.

Fleas

Fleas hide in shady, moist sections of your lawn, especially where grass is on the shaggy side. These biting insects also take refuge in areas that are cool and humid, including any spot your pet frequents. Fleas not only pose a danger to pets, but also help transmit now-rare bubonic plague. In Texas, California, and tropical and subtropical regions, fleas also carry murine typhus fever.

Reduce flea habitat by mowing grass to a proper height and dethatching your lawn, if needed. Arm yourself with our 10 ways to remove fleas from your lawn and other flea control tips.

Rodent Holes

Fill in rodent holes when you spot them in your lawn, before they become a tripping hazard. Close-ended holes where grass is lifted or pulled aside often signal that an animal is digging out grubs from your lawn.

To solve the problem permanently, do a little online research to figure out what’s digging the holes. When you know the culprit, you can tackle more long-term preventive measures.

Sticks and Stones

Always inspect your yard before mowing and remove any sticks, stones, toys and other debris that mower blades could transform into a projectile. Encourage children to stay away from the lawn as you mow, just in case you miss something.