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The Joy of Gardening

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Gas damage  1

Can gas leaks cause turf damage?

I have a large, approximately 8ft. round area in the front lawn where I cannot get grass to grow. Over the recent years I have tried to seed it three different times, and have replaced the dead grass with sod twice. Each time it died. An elderly gentlemen in the neighborhood suggested that it might be a gas leak. Is that possible? Is this a symptom of such a leak? Should I be concerned about the gas? And should I call the gas company?


First off, if you ever have even the slightest suspicion that you might have a gas leak, then yes by all means, contact the gas company. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Gas leaks can most certainly be responsible for killing turf above the leak. Gas forces the oxygen out of the soil and without oxygen the roots of the turf or any other plant will die. The same applies to gases like that escape from landfills like methane. In severe cases gas leaks have been documented to kill large, mature trees. So if you have repeatedly tried to grow grass and you have convinced yourself it is not one of the far more common causes, than by all means have it looked into. More common reasons would include soil compaction, poor soil quality and dense shade. Also try and be aware if there any other symptoms of a gas leak. Is there a foul odor in the air? If you listen carefully can you hear a slight hissing sound of gas escaping? If the area is wet can you see any bubbles forming in the water? All these would also indicate a natural gas leakage.

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