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Old 05-17-2014, 08:59 AM   #16
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Dying grass needs help


If I were you I would take up the grass and take it back to Lowes then amend your soil and replant the sod. The hard soil here in CA must be properly amended to become loose soil. CA soil is usually low in silt and sand, sticky and slippery in winter, and hard and dry in summer. Even though the clay soil is high in nutrients, it doesn't allow roots to breathe and water to properly drain. Additionally, the compacted soil makes root penetration difficult. Incorrectly amending hard soil can worsen it and make it hard as cement.

Water the soil to help soften the hard surface. Avoid drenching and over-watering the soil, but use enough water to moisten it. Allow the moisture to penetrate into the soil over two days. Cultivate the soil to a depth of 8 inches. Dig up the soil and loosen it, using a spading fork. Remove any rocks, and pulverize lumps and clods. Wait two days so the dug up soil dries. Spray water over the soil to moisten it and rake the soil surface to further remove clumps. Spread a 2-inch layer of organic material, such as compost or leaf mold, over the soil surface. Use a shovel to incorporate the material into the soil at the full depth of 8 inches. Repeat this step until you've created a bed that consists of 50 percent native soil to 50 percent organic material. Spread gypsum over the soil surface at a rate of 1 pound per 5 square feet. Work it into the soil at a depth of 8 inches. Gypsum helps take apart clay particles and promotes soil porosity. Get a test kit and test the soil to see what else you need to add or remove from the soil.

Now you should be ready to put the sod down. Bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia are the grasses I have found that grow best here in CA. Theses grasses grow strongly when the soil temps are between 70 and 90 F and the air reaches a balmy 80 to 95 F. The go dormant when the weather gets cooler (not when the weather is hot like cool weather grasses do). During hot summers, when temperatures rise above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, grass usually needs 2 inches of water per week. If you water deeply twice per week, the moisture should be able to penetrate deeply into the roots. During high temperatures, it is best to water in the morning, as when the sun is scorching overhead, the water has less chance of getting to the roots before evaporating.

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Old 05-18-2014, 03:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Talk to the ag office before you do anything. They will take a soil sample, then tell you what needs to be done.

With Compost you have to be careful. Depending on where you get it from. Depends on what was added.
Nice website. Has a section on Gardening with limited water. Clay soil is very common here, so I will call them during the week when they are open. Can I just buy the compost at Home Depot and spread it lightly over the grass? Over time it will soak into the ground?


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Originally Posted by djlandkpl View Post
It would help to know the variety of grass.

Where I live, my lawn will go dormant in the summer when it gets hot. The whole thing turns brown but greens up again when it cools off and it rains.

Sounds like you have a similar situation. Did a small hole and fill it with water. If it doesn't drain, sand and compost will help. If water drains right out, then just compost.

Start with the grass variety first.
Not much rain in California, so most of the time the grass is brown. When it did rain, the grass was really green but might have been due to the weather being so cool every day. I may must dig several holes, but compost in them and see what happens? Bought the lawn from Home Depot, so no idea what kind of variety it is.

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Originally Posted by Fairview View Post
A drip too much work?

Rather than spraying a couple of gallons of water once per day to water the surface, try laying the garden hose down with a stream of water about the size of pencil lead and leaving it for the day. Your choice, either soak it or look at it like it is. Sand? , I live in it and it has 0 value in this application.
I was trying to use less water since California is in a drought, but finding that the grass takes much more water than ground cover. I don't want to leave the water on, since I will probably forget about it. I have cement between my spout and the garden, so I would have to dig under the cement to get a drip system installed.

I might just convert the area to ground cover. I have some nice ground cover in another part of the backyard that takes little water, and stays green all year. I posted some pics. Not sure what kind of ground cover it is, but one of the best I have ever seen. Can't even find it at the local nurseries.
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:24 PM   #18
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Dying grass needs help


Be careful with watering. This is the Drought map for California. http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive...onitor-map.php http://ca.gov/drought/
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:44 PM   #19
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Dying grass needs help


Switching to a non water intensive plant is a great idea. You could transplant some of the ground cover you like and see if it spreads.
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:49 PM   #20
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Dying grass needs help


The garden hose drip was just a suggestion as a temporary to determine if drought was the problem, and I strongly believe it is. If it is then you have more information on corrective measures, grass, ground cover, stone garden, or other.

To prevent forgetting here is a tip so you can multi-task without forgetting unless you forget what you set the timer for.

If you have a cell phone, set the duck quacker on the timer. If it starts quacking turn it off quickly if you are in a super market or department store. If you need to accomplish 3 things simultaneously, then use the alarm function too. Life can really get complicated.

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