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Old 09-02-2015, 10:56 AM   #1
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First Fall Fertilizer on Newly Sodded Lawn


In May we had all new sod installed and it took really well (Boston). I did one application of milorganite in July and it really greened up but lately with the heat it's either browning or starting to go dormant? We've gotten decent amounts of rain but I've kept up with 1" a week of watering. I also have a section that is shaded where it seems to have a lot of thatching or dead growth. I've gotten a test kit so I hope to figure where it stands with Ph, N, etc.

I'm thinking in the coming weeks it needs:

Aeration Power & raking at first fall dew
Application of fertilizer specs TBD
Seeding with light layer of compost and starter fertilizer in thin areas
Mow at lowest level for last mowing

Any other things I should know about? I'll try and post some pictures tonight.

Thanks.
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Old 09-02-2015, 01:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Aeration Power & raking at first fall dew
Application of fertilizer specs TBD
Seeding with light layer of compost and starter fertilizer in thin areas
Mow at lowest level for last mowing
Aeration Power & raking are the last thing you want to do with new sod which has under developed roots.

Application of fertilizer specs TBD A good balanced feeding something with equal numbers or higher for the last two. You want to promote root growth so you can grow the top next spring.

Seeding with light layer of compost Compost never hurts if applied lightly.

Mow at lowest level for last mowing Again not to smart grass should never be cut to less than 3" in height.
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Old 09-02-2015, 04:37 PM   #3
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You probably don't want (or need) to aerate and power rake sod after its first season - there probably isn't much thatch to speak of and the roots might still be a bit weak (i.e. you risk peeling up sections of your lawn).

I'd also not mow right now in the dry heat that we have been getting. Your grass is going dormant in the heat (normal). Chemical fertilizer is a bad idea now as it will probably burn the grass, but you can top dress with compost and keep it watered; that would help keep it cool and moist. Just wait until the fall weather rolls in and do a final mow and quick cleanup.

Never ever mow low - mow as high as you can, always. Mowing low just stresses the grass and gives weeds a chance.

Last edited by Thunder Chicken; 09-02-2015 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 09-02-2015, 04:50 PM   #4
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I thought I read something about mowing low(obviously not scalping) prior to winter so any decomposition between soil and snow doesn't form fungus...
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Old 09-02-2015, 04:52 PM   #5
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Here are a couple pictures. Backyard is very lush and green. Entire property is on the shady side as large 100+ year old trees all around the streets.

I believe the grass is Kentucky blue.

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Old 09-02-2015, 05:01 PM   #6
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For most of the summer I was picking 30+ mushrooms every morning so I'm thinking the soil is in good shape.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:33 PM   #7
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Bluegrass looks dead everywhere this time of year. That is why I have a fescue lawn and even it looks a bit tired.

If you watered that much earlier (mushrooms), don't stop now. Give the grass a chance to put down roots.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:42 PM   #8
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So in the bottom 2 pictures you think that grass can be revived with water and fertilizer vs reseeding the areas? I'll try and keep up the watering and see what my soil tests come up with over the next couple days.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:19 AM   #9
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If the roots lived the grass will revive with cooler temps and a moderate amount of water. Bluegrass is a cool season grass. As such is is always at its best in the spring and fall.

It will spread and fill in naturally if it is allowed to establish roots.
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Old 09-03-2015, 05:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjmass1 View Post
So in the bottom 2 pictures you think that grass can be revived with water and fertilizer vs reseeding the areas? I'll try and keep up the watering and see what my soil tests come up with over the next couple days.
I'd say hold off on the fertilizer for a few weeks until it cools off for good. Even with watering the grass may go dormant if it gets a lot of direct sun during the day. That's fine and nothing to worry about. When the grass starts greening up again of its own accord, then go ahead with fertilizer - the grass will actually be able to do something with it at that point. If you put it on now you will be basically wasting fertilizer.
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Old 09-05-2015, 08:04 AM   #11
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I did a ph test in 2 spots and it looks like it is 7.5, maybe closer to 8. I'm thinking 2 lbs/100sqft would get it down to 6.5-7 for Kentucky bluegrass. So for 1300sqft = 26 lbs. a 20 lb bag should get me started. Any difference in doing this now vs fall vs spring?
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Old 09-05-2015, 09:31 AM   #12
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Your enthusiasm is great, but I think you're going a little overboard.

Be careful with kit pH test results - they aren't all that accurate and if you add amendments based on a bad pH reading you can do a lot of harm. If you really want to find out what is going on in your soil, google "UMass soil tesing" - you'll find the UMass Amhest Aggie soil testing lab. You can send them a few samples of soil and they will analyze it for pH, mineral and nutrient content and organics and send you report (costs $20 or so; it's a good service). They'll also provide fertilizer recommendations and tell you what to do to correct any deficiencies, if any. Just do as they recommend and you'll be fine.

Do that, and then just water and wait for cool weather until the results come back.
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