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Old 05-05-2013, 05:08 PM   #1
Stairguy
 
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Help with getting greener grass


I'm having tough time getting my grass nice and green. There is a lot of dead grass mixed in. It is not thatch. It is actually rooted in. I dethatched about two weeks ago and fertilized. I have this problem every year, and it never seems to go away. It is not patchy but covers entire lawn. Could it be fungus?
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:01 PM   #2
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Help with getting greener grass


It just looks like what most lawns look like after the winter. Depending on the type of grass you have it sometimes worse or better, but every type of grass has some winter kill. As long as it greens up when the weather gets nicer I wouldn't worry about it. Just give it some fertilizer and let it grow.

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Old 05-05-2013, 06:41 PM   #3
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Help with getting greener grass


It usually stays like that year round.its been like that for 4 years. It doesn't get better than that. It seems like some of the grass stays dormant, not quite dead because it still has roots, all summer long.
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:17 PM   #4
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Help with getting greener grass


Have you ever gotten a soil test to make sure you do not have to balance Ph or something? If the soil is wacked it is not able to metabolize the nutrients you send its way.

You may have a fungus but take some of the grass to an ag extension outlet or a real nursery. Or swing by the turf maintenance shed for a golf course or your park district. The folks will usually be flattered to talk with you.

You can treat blight or whatever with a fungicide. Try to water early enough in the day that the turf dries out before nightfall. Disease and insects love dark, damp turf. If you have a disease or insect problem and can pick up clippings until it is resolved that would be good.

Regular mowing is important. A dull mower blade can "grab and tug" at grass shoots causing them to brown like that too. Or shred them like split ends.

Regular feeding is the best thing you can do to ensure healthy turf. In the biz we sought to apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000sf per month if budget allowed. This may be overkill (especially since excess nitrogen run-off is causing havoc to rivers and messing up aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico) but it gives you a starting point. Nitrogen is the first number in the NPK ratio---that three digit string on the fertilizer label. A 100 pound sack marked 22-10-10 has 22 pounds of nitrogen and 10 each of phosphorous and potassium. Sadly, the rest other than coating to keep the fertilizer from sticking in clumps, can be just about anything including heavy metals.

We used a pure nitrogen fertilizer like ammonium sulfate in alternating months.

The Scotts program is expensive but good and rather fool proof for the homeowner. You will soon want a post emergent herbicide for broadleaf weeds if an issue and in another month or so a pre-emergent for crabgrass (although selective use of post-emergents for it are becoming more popular too).

Those whirlybird spreaders, even the handheld ones, are pretty good for applying fertilizer so long as you break up any clumps as you go and walk at a steady pace. Cut the application rate in half and apply in two directions to further reduce chances of burning the turf. Rinse any granules off the grass blades.

Wear a dust mask when applying any lawn chemicals.

Did they aerate when they dethatched? It will not solve the problem with the turf going brown but is good once per season if you can afford it for keeping turf healthy by opening up space for roots.
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:59 PM   #5
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Help with getting greener grass


Thanks for the detailed response.

I aerated in fall but did not do it this spring. I did do the dethatching this spring. I have noticed that the lawn isn't very responsive when I lay down fertilizer, at least i don't notice a difference. However I didn't use my usual crabgrass preventer one spring and i did notice i had an excess amount of crabgrass that year. I over seeded 2 years ago but didnt notice a difference. I think I did it to soon after my crabgrass preventer went down though.

I did a soil test last year, however it was a kit i got online and although everything check out ok, I'm skeptical on its reliability. I think that is what I need to do, get it done by a legit lab. Will they tell me what needs to be done or should I post results here and y'all can guide me in the right direction?
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:26 PM   #6
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Help with getting greener grass


If you ask for a full soil analysis the lab will tell you exactly what is going on and what you need to fix anything wrong. They will make recommendations for ongoing feeding too. Your nearest county or university ag extension may do testing but most have suffered budget and cannot or only do Ph anymore. They should have a list of reputable soil labs though.

If you have trouble understanding the report scan it and post it here and some of us will help you out. The lab should tell you how to take and ship the samples too. If there is one near they may even lend you a core sampler although a hand trowel will work too. Make sure you grab samples from different places in the yard, especially if you are on land that was scraped of topsoil for construction. You may have different soil now in different parts of your yard.

If you laid down a pre-emergent crabgrass preventer and overseeded too close together, you probably did do in the seed. If you think you need to overseed again, look into the post-emergent options for crabgrass control unless you know you have a widespread problem with it.

Do take some close ups of the brown grass and consult a nursery, turf specialist, or a nursery to see if they think you have a fungus.


Last edited by user1007; 05-05-2013 at 08:29 PM.
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