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itguy08 07-24-2012 11:25 AM

Revitalizing Lawn - Need some help
 
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We moved into a new (new to us) house back in the beginning of May. The lawn (front and back) was nice, green, and lush. Looked like the previous owner really kept up with it and I plan to as well. Set the mower to as high as it would go and kept up with mowing (sometimes 2x a week). By June it was slowing down and starting to brown. The back yard has brown patches but mostly stayed green. However the front yard pretty much turned brown and feels more like straw than grass. Makes sense as it had been dry here and we didn't water. Other homes in the neighborhood look about the same.

Now that we've had some rain the back is picking up and we just have some brown patches. The front still looks like death though with few signs of life (see the pics). About the only thing growing there is some weeds and what looks like trees. I've got some circular patches that are a different shade of brown bit the rest just looks brown and dead. Pull on it and you get a clump in your hand as it breaks off.

The previous owner left us a few bags of summer fertilizer + weed control and some fungus stuff. Plan is to get out this week and lay down the summer fertilizer and then the fungus stuff in the front. But is it too far gone at this point? Is there anything I can do to get it green again (other than spray paint :) )?

Thanks in advance!

Thunder Chicken 07-24-2012 12:16 PM

Given the heat that we have had, that lawn is pretty dormant. My lawn is in about the same condition. I give it a good drink of water every few weeks to keep it alive, but it is unlikely to green up again until the heat subsides in the late summer.

I would NOT put fertilizer down now. The grass is dormant and won't do anything with it, so you'll just be feeding the weeds.

All in all it doesn't look too bad for a dormant lawn. Be patient. This fall, rake it out well (some of the grass might die if it is in dormancy for too long), overseed and fertilize then.

itguy08 07-27-2012 12:26 PM

Thanks. With the daily rains we're having lately it seems to be coming back slowly. I may throw down the fertilizer+ weed killer the previous owner left just to help it along - it was free and it is summer stuff so it can't hurt.

For overseeding - when would be a good time to do it? Never knew it was a good idea to plant seed in the fall. I would have figured spring would be better.

user1007 07-27-2012 12:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by itguy08 (Post 975520)
Thanks. With the daily rains we're having lately it seems to be coming back slowly. I may throw down the fertilizer+ weed killer the previous owner left just to help it along - it was free and it is summer stuff so it can't hurt.

Sure it can if you cannot count on enough water. You could end up burning your turf further. I guess if it is a timed release blend you could try putting it on half the recommended rate over a couple of months rather than all at one.

How much nitrogen is in the stuff? The first number in the three number NPK ratio string printed on the sack will tell you the percentage in the sack. You do not want to apply a high nitrogen fertilizer without adequate water in drought conditions. In turfgrass management, the usual desired application rate is 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000sf per month.

Given your situation, I would wait until fall. Patience may serve you best here.

Fall is a great time to plant turfgrass if you do not expect extreme low temperatures for awhile. It is cooler outside so it is easier to keep the seed moist while it is germinating and the young plants do not have to commit energy to surviving heat. And the plants will establish nicely before it starts snowing where you are I should think. You can rinse off light frost before it causes damage. Here we don't have any real risk of significant soil freezing until after the first of the year so turf roots have all that time to establish.

danhr 07-29-2012 07:38 AM

x2

I'd wait until early september and see where it's at.

With the weather we are having, maybe hit your yard with a selective postemergent herbicide now. That will take care of your weeds, so when early september rolls around look at your yard. If you got a good amount of brown/dead spots, then hit the yard with a dethatcher and overseed in fall, then top off the seed off with manure.

If you don't have too much, you can just overseed your dead areas.

Me personally, I like starting with a fresh slate. I'm in the identical situation you are, and am going with the first mentioned option.

itguy08 08-01-2012 02:37 PM

Thanks all.

We've been having rain pretty much every day for the past week and the back is starting to grow but with a few brown areas. The front is slowly starting to come back to life in spots.

I think the plan now is to put the fertilizer on the back yard since it's growing and see what happens with the front. Probably take the advice and put down some weed killer in the front.

I'll probably overseed in the fall and then again in the spring to catch what I may have missed.


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