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-   -   Help! Very weak grass! (http://www.diychatroom.com/f16/help-very-weak-grass-13865/)

joeyboy 11-28-2007 02:04 PM

Help! Very weak grass!
 
I don't know exactly what I did wrong, but I'm mostly concerned with how to fix this!

I have 'weak' grass lol, it is soft and, well, weak haha :laughing: <<stats below>>

I mowed yesterday, for example, and watered last night. I watered this morning. Yet you can still see the lines from the mower's wheels!

If you walk across the lawn, your footsteps will be there later in the evening!


See my stats below, could it be because the potassium levels in my fertilizer are too low? I mean, my lawn looks good, it's getting better each day it seems (visually), but the stuff is just sooo soft and can't hold its shape.

I'm definitely not an expert, this is my 3rd or 4th attempt at growing a lawn since becoming a homeowner earlier this year, but somethign just feels wrong, this grass just feels very 'weak'.

Any thoughts, comments, tips, suggestions, or anything is appreciated greatly!




<< I can take some pics if needed>>

Stats:

- Central FL lawn
- annual ryegrass seed (applied at a pretty heavy rate)
- lesco fertilizer applied on 11/19, a 26/2/11 fertilizer w/ 6% slow release - nitro
- seed was for 'overseeding' my summer grass which is dormant here over winter
- morning/night watering, very religious and have only missed 1 watering since seeds were sown, lawn is now very full and lush

timber 11-29-2007 08:49 PM

joeyboy, when did you plant the turf?

joeyboy 11-30-2007 09:54 AM

Between 1 month and 3 days ago - 3 separate sowings...

After the first one came through it wasn't thick enough so I sowed again, and applied the lesco fertilizer.

Once the second came through, there was a good amount of patches still, and some weed spots (I don't use weed and feed), so I did a pretty heavy manual weeding (my lawn isn't too large, maybe 3500 sq ft), and sowed some more. I did about 50lbs of rye seed total lol.

But the grass that looks weak is the first grass from the first sowing, the weakest areas are the first areas that looked lush from the first spreading of seeds.

I don't know, I mean I'm *really* new to lawns/gardening/diy in general, but I feel it's gotta be either:
- improper fertilization (too low on something for strong cell walls and/or roots)
- too much seed


But if it's the latter, which I knew I was doing, it seemed it wouldn't matter as the strongest would stay and the weakest would die. Maybe there's just a time period where they're competing on water/nutrients, the weaker pieces die, then the stronger ones become solid?

Either that or the fertilizer balance was improper for my needs (a 26/2/11 - the more I think about it, the more it seems the potassium is far too low relative to nitrogen, so maybe the blades are just growing faster than they can really support...)

timber 11-30-2007 11:57 AM

If you were using the 26-2-11 as a starter fert for the seed that could be your problem. 6% slow release is not much. Too much N. can burn the new grass seedling as it's just emerging. We use a balanced fert such as 19-19-19, 12-12-12 or 15-15-15. There is also seed starter ferts that are avail. that have slower release factors such as 25% slow release. The potential for burn is a lot less. You are also correct about only the strong surviving and here in the midwest annual rye grass is very suseptable to seedling fungus do to too much moisture.

joeyboy 11-30-2007 06:39 PM

timber - dude you're great, I'm so glad you're here! Landscape needs more people out of all the subforums on this board imo.


Okay, couple q's.

1) about the seed rot/fungus issue, how do I approach this then? I'm doing 2 waterings daily, should I spread it to 3 and lessen water?

2) any idea where I'm gonna go for, if this is a good idea, specific fertilizer ingredients? Since I've already got so much nitro in there, and want to beef up potassium a lot, where on earth do I get that? Nobody has anything here, just finding vermiculite was the biggest hunt you could imagine!!

Oh and about the slow release rate, I know that's very, very low by practical counts, but at the store it was the BEST % of slow release they had!!!! AHhhh I just need to find a quality place to get my landscape stuff but there aren't any in my vicinity! I know you'd presume there are but I've called everyone in a reasonable range from my house, adn even went to at least 5 or 10 in person just to be sure the person on teh phone wasn't clueless as to their stock, and nothing! Every place has the same generic stuff, it's really annoying :censored:



(oh, while I got ya here - any thoughts on the bonsai approach on older trees? Is it possible to make a smaller tree, something in the 3-5' tall range, chopped down and become a bonsai? Or do ya just gotta do the time and start from small ones?)

timber 11-30-2007 07:14 PM

are there any professional landscape supply places or retail garden centers close at all? On the watering, try not to water to late in the evening if the turf doesn't get time to dry out a bit it lays wet all night and turf diseases can take hold. Root rot being the main culprit. It's ok to let new seedlings dry a little before the next watering it can even strengthen the turf. Is your soil pretty sandy down there? On the bonsai issue; there are a lot of trees that can handle severe pruning even at an older stage in life. Many of the " bonsai" trees I've seen have been tropicals. Ficus, Jade, etc.., we use a lot of evergreens; junipers, boxwood, yews etc.

spebby 11-30-2007 08:20 PM

Go to a nearby golf course and talk to the greenskeeper.

joeyboy 12-01-2007 09:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timber (Post 77651)
are there any professional landscape supply places or retail garden centers close at all? On the watering, try not to water to late in the evening if the turf doesn't get time to dry out a bit it lays wet all night and turf diseases can take hold. Root rot being the main culprit. It's ok to let new seedlings dry a little before the next watering it can even strengthen the turf. Is your soil pretty sandy down there? On the bonsai issue; there are a lot of trees that can handle severe pruning even at an older stage in life. Many of the " bonsai" trees I've seen have been tropicals. Ficus, Jade, etc.., we use a lot of evergreens; junipers, boxwood, yews etc.

To be honest I have been looking at retail places only, and they're all comparable to the landscape section at home depot - but I have not tried talking to professional landscape supply places, haven't found any, but will look for them!

Yeah, soil is (well, was :wink: ) very sandy. As I said before, this is my 3rd or 4th lawn attempt haha, I did several attempts at a bermudagrass lawn (that was always overrun with weeds a week or two after the turf looked good) over the summer, and each time did a good amendment topcoating (usually a compost/peat moss/topsoil mix). So with the multiple times it got that, the soil is, at least the top several inches, not like everyone else's here (pure sand - I'm not even joking on that, we're <5min from the beach, you grab a handful of 'soil' you're just holding sugar sand!>.

Re:bonsais, what kind of cutting/maturity levels are you talking about? Like cutting 2' off a 5' specimen? Larger % cuts, larger height trees? I like bonsai but am impatient, which you'd think would make me uninterested in bonsai hahahahha :laughing:

Quote:

Originally Posted by spebby (Post 77660)
Go to a nearby golf course and talk to the greenskeeper.

I've been tempted to do that so many times but never do, I always figure they'll have no desire to help a random kid who wanders onto their greens asking for tips lol!!

timber 12-01-2007 01:49 PM

Great idea on the golf course they never skimp on turf products. Many trees and shrubs have what's called "continuous budding" meaning you can basically cut them just about anywhere and they'll shoot a sprout off the point at which they have been cut or multiple shoots. Ex. you can cut a Magnolia down to the ground in the spring and by july the plant may have 3-4' of growth. Course, you'll lose all the blooms for that year. General, pruning or select pruning sounds like what your wanting to do.

Sammy 12-01-2007 02:01 PM

I would nix the night watering as mentioned and switch your morning watering to one or two days a week but for longer periods to soak the lawn and encourage deeper root growth.

Give it some time to grow. It wont happen over night.

timber 12-01-2007 02:22 PM

good advice, if you find a fert thats higher in phosphorus and potassium, those deep waterings along with the fert will really give you great root establishment.

joeyboy 12-01-2007 06:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sammy (Post 77748)
I would nix the night watering as mentioned and switch your morning watering to one or two days a week but for longer periods to soak the lawn and encourage deeper root growth.

Give it some time to grow. It wont happen over night.

definitely - but I can't really do that yet because I did 3 separate sowing sessions with these seeds, so I can't cut back on teh first sowing (to make the roots search for water) because my most recent sowing will die out...

Quote:

Originally Posted by timber (Post 77757)
good advice, if you find a fert thats higher in phosphorus and potassium, those deep waterings along with the fert will really give you great root establishment.

I need to find a new fertilizer, if I can't find any potassium/phosphorous solo products, maybe I'll find a very, very low nitrogen one and just use that sparingly.


Oh and I was DEFINITELY overwatering, I found a whitish cobweb (mold/fungus) growth today, damnit!

Robert131 02-11-2008 09:38 PM

I'm your board greenskeeper (we prefer the term superintendent) and from reading this post, I would say you definitely overwatered, and used too high a nitrogen fertilizer for your planting. We regularly overseed here in Vegas, and will apply seed at a rate of 7-10 lbs/1000 sf, fertilize with a starter fert such as 6-20-20. Water good first water, then water only enough to keep the seed moist, guessing you have popup sprinklers, maybe 2 mins every two hours, until the grass germinates - usually 7-10 days. Let grass grow to about 1" before making first cut, this will cause the grass to spread. Cut every 2-3 days for the first 2 weeks, then let grass grow up to about 2". Maintain this height. 3 weeks after seeding we will fertilize again with a 15-15-15 type fertilizer, 1 lb/N per 1000sf. (Apx 15-20 lbs fertilizer for your 3500 sf lawn). One month later you can fertilize again with the 15-15-15, or go with a more slow release style, feeding at 1 lb/N. Like a previous poster said, water early morning to allow grass to dry during day. With your popups, my watering schedule after the germination would be daily at 5 mins for a couple of weeks, then maybe only 3 times a week at 8-10 mins. Hard to say without knowing your soil profile. May not help this year, but next year you will have a great looking lawn.

Kyle 02-12-2008 11:34 AM

Robert
 
Regarding your instructions for watering grass seed during germination, you mentioned to water for 2 minutes every 2 hours. Am I safe to assume the is only during daylight hours?

Robert131 02-12-2008 11:09 PM

yes, start watering about 1 hour after sunrise, and water til 1 hour before sunset. The 2 minute time should keep the area moist, but you don't want to drench it, so adjustments may need to be made.


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