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Old 05-22-2012, 12:13 PM   #1
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dethatch bermuda

My front yard is bermuda. Upon closer inspection, it's like every 30th blade is thick and tan...even dead. So it's a little bit like grey hair coming in. Also, the grass looks sparse out front vs. the bermuda I have out back (installed a a later date). It's like the back is wall-to-wall green carpet. Out front, there is just space between blades. It's been like this for years.

I don't see any creepers or grass roots running across the ground. I had to dig up a spot and it looks normal - just grass pretty much growing out of dirt - just like the back yard.

We have a fertilizer company and I have in-ground sprinkers. Yet my front lawn looks no nicer than neighbors who do nothing and have the same grass.


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Old 05-22-2012, 04:04 PM   #2
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If you are not seeing thatch on the soil surface there is no reason to dethatch. If you haven't you might want to aerate.

Bermuda grows fairly shallow and is a nitrogen hog. If you over water, you can leach nutrients right past the root systems. I always fed it with a fast acting fertilizer with the goal of providing 1lb of nitrogen per 1,000sf per month. Obviously you do not need the other nutrients that often so something like ammonium sulfate, which offers total nitrogen, in alternating months worked well. I used a balanced fertilizer every other month. Nothing in the dormant months, of course.

Because it grows so shallow, it is easy to fertilizer burn Bermuda. You should take a garden hose and wash any fertilizer off the blades right away. Especially if you shift to fast acting formulas.

I saw your other post. I would be inclined to introduce organic material or something like perlite before adding sand, especially if you have compact soil already. Aerate first. Then rake the additives in and water.

Bermuda is also prone to fungus and insect infections if it becomes thatched. And you should never water it later in the day then the grass can dry out. I do suspect the brown spot you described, since it went away, was fertilizer burn.

Depending on where you live? Grubs can also plague any turfgrass. You need to treat them with an insectiside for the purpose. Your lawn care or turf management folks should be able to help with this. Do make sure they know how to manage bermuda.

Your real nursery and a member of a turfgrass council in your area may have some great free advice for you. Stop by the maintenance shed of a golf course that has a creeping variety of turfgrass for counsel too. And don't forget government and university ag extension offices.

Finally, given the vast difference you describe between your front and back lawns? I would have a soil test done by a good soil lab. They are not expensive (I guess some universities or states still do them for free). You can waste a lot of money throwing food and other chemicals at your lawn. If the soil is not balanced to metabolize the nutrients you are just wasting money.

It is sad, but it is typical for housing developers to scrape land to provide a level surface for home foundations. All the rich topsoil ends up in the backyard (or hauled off) with often poor soil in front. Or soil from somewhere else is brought in to fill in the front since it is cheaper than moving the scraped stuff back in place. It is not uncommon to see dramatically different soil test results between front and back yards. Only a soil test can tell you what is up.


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Old 05-22-2012, 09:00 PM   #3
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How is the shade situation in the front yard. Bermuda doesn't do well in shade.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:04 AM   #4
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Full sun...
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