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View Full Version : Renovate after a rough summer...


phaessler
08-15-2010, 02:05 PM
Hey all, some feedback or advice would be great.
I have a lawn thats just over 50K sqft, southwest Virginia, temps this year went over 100F for 10 days and rainfall was non existent. It was planted with a tall fescue blend (TAR HEEL2, MATADOR GT, FIDELITY blend) and it has severly thinned out. Temps right now are still in the 80's and I want to get started renovating.
Well water in case anyone was wondering if it was watered during the drought period. Was last mowed June 15th, and roughly about 30% of it still looks heat dormant.
I have a Bluebird slit seeder, and a 60" Scag, so mowing and overseeding isnt an issue, also have ability to dethatch (about 1/2" thatch now) and sweep it.
My questions are:
1) Am I too early to start renovating? Anxiety is a terrible thing to waste.
2) Every lawn around me has been planted with a straight K31, am I better to overseed with that? The lawn has suffered from Pythium before so KBG or Rye is not on option accordingto the local Extension office.
Any help would be appreciated.
I can post some pics if it will help, let me know.
Thanks
Pete

grassmasterswilson
08-15-2010, 05:46 PM
1/2 inch of thatch is a lot. might want to mow more frequently. here in NC i'm not aerating/seeding fescue until at least mid september or until the temps cool down to 70s or low 80s on a consistant basis.

bigslick7878
08-15-2010, 07:22 PM
Hey all, some feedback or advice would be great.
I have a lawn thats just over 50K sqft, southwest Virginia, temps this year went over 100F for 10 days and rainfall was non existent. It was planted with a tall fescue blend (TAR HEEL2, MATADOR GT, FIDELITY blend) and it has severly thinned out. Temps right now are still in the 80's and I want to get started renovating.
Well water in case anyone was wondering if it was watered during the drought period. Was last mowed June 15th, and roughly about 30% of it still looks heat dormant.
I have a Bluebird slit seeder, and a 60" Scag, so mowing and overseeding isnt an issue, also have ability to dethatch (about 1/2" thatch now) and sweep it.
My questions are:
1) Am I too early to start renovating? Anxiety is a terrible thing to waste.
2) Every lawn around me has been planted with a straight K31, am I better to overseed with that? The lawn has suffered from Pythium before so KBG or Rye is not on option accordingto the local Extension office.
Any help would be appreciated.
I can post some pics if it will help, let me know.
Thanks
Pete

You haven't mowed in 2 months????

Post pics.

Too early to do anything without irrigation on an acre lawn.

You will need to rely on mother nature for water and that isn't coming for another month.

RigglePLC
08-15-2010, 10:40 PM
Not mowed since June? That was a dry spell. Use high-quality seed. Make sure it is disease resistant, particularly to the disease you have in your area. Include 10 percent Kentucky bluegrass, as this gives it more ability to creep and fill-in burnout spots. I doubt that K-31 would do you any good. Wait until temps come down below 85. If you can do it before a good rainy spell--that would help. Mow very short to open up the grass, reduce competition from the old grass and expose the soil. Water new seed if you can. Add starter fertilizer. Plus apply additional fertilizer to build thickness in September, October and November. Also apply fert in spring--but to avoid disease I have heard that you should not fertilize if temp is over 85.

phaessler
08-16-2010, 07:28 AM
I know it sounds extreme, and much like Arizona, but we typically go 6-8 weeks without rain during July and August, but when it does rain its thunderstorms at night and rain above 80 only promotes "patch", have seen it all, from brown patch to take-all, and like I said lost it once to pythium. Therefore the KBG is out of the question, it doesnt survive.
The seed used was supposed to be quality, sure felt like quality ($$$), and has performed well, but this summer was the 4th hottest on record.
Mowing can only happen when its growing , and it doesnt grow without water, and with such high temps it went dormant in less than a week.
Mowing height is typically 3 1/2", then late june I let it go to 4 1/2".
I will get some pictures and get them up today, and might mow tommorrow if it stays cool.

Pete

yardmanlee
08-16-2010, 07:57 AM
we usually wait til mid sept to start areating and over seeding also depends if we start getting rain, this summer has been brutal for us here, so far August has been a little better w/ the quick showers and storms

phaessler
08-16-2010, 08:58 AM
Thanks yardmanlee, I am out in Moneta, and use Landscape Supply for all my materials. This lawn was featured at the Roanoke home show in their ad. Typically if they say 90 in Roanoke its 95-97 here south of the parkway.

Pete

RigglePLC
08-16-2010, 09:57 AM
Phassler,
I suggest hire a company to slit seed when temps come down to 85. Use a brown patch resistant variety (cultivar). If the seed label does not say brown patch resistant--assume it is susceptible. Also consider the new "LS" types. LS means "Lateral Spread", a new type of tall fescue that actually creeps to fill in thin spots. Titanium LS would probably be a good choice.
http://www.mtviewseeds.com/varietiesandmixtures.htm

Best of luck.

phaessler
08-16-2010, 11:38 AM
Will look into it Riggle, I read about them in Turf a while back. I am pretreating for patch diseases with Banner MAX , and Disarm, alternately by year, seems to help alot. The ol' Virginia clay is not a well draining soil, and I know this contributes to the patch diseases.
Trying not to get too exotic with my seed choice, as my fellow property owners cultivate crabgrass and spurges like noone you could ever imagine. Ever watch a guy dethatch almost an acre of crabgrass, then mulch mow it back in?? "Gets the seeds down so it will thicken up" was his answer, gave me chills....lol
Just ordered new blades for the Bluebird slit seeder too, guess by the time I'm ready it will cool off. ITs 90 here now and it Monday at 10:30am.
Anyone have thoughts on topdressing? I need more equipment, honest the wife said " you need one more piece of d@#$ equipment and then you can go in business"....ha ha ha
Thanks again and hope to hear more suggestions....
Pete

RigglePLC
08-16-2010, 04:15 PM
I just looked at your webcam in your county. Clay or not I don't think drainage is the problem.
http://instacam.com/showcam.asp?id=BDFDV&size=S
Acid soil is common though. Better seed (disease resistant) and plenty of moisture and fertilizer is the key, (no fertilizer when its hot).

yardmanlee
08-16-2010, 05:16 PM
I use and have had great results w/ john deere landscapes tri mix its a blend and does reall well or at least for us, and probably a lot cheaper than what you can buy at the landscape supply

phaessler
08-18-2010, 08:44 AM
I just looked at your webcam in your county. Clay or not I don't think drainage is the problem.
http://instacam.com/showcam.asp?id=BDFDV&size=S
Acid soil is common though. Better seed (disease resistant) and plenty of moisture and fertilizer is the key, (no fertilizer when its hot).

That webcam is a neat thing , but its location is 14 miles east of me, and it can rain on one side of the county and be sunny on the other...ha ha ha

yardmanlee
08-18-2010, 08:46 AM
it can rain in diffrent places all the time here we dodged 3 diffrent storms yesterday and was able to get a little more done, always helps

phaessler
08-18-2010, 08:58 AM
Well soil test is back..

pH = 6.8
Phosphurus (P)= 123ppm
Potassium (K) = 287ppm

They recommended Nitrogen only at 3.5lb/1000sqft, fertilizer with N only? and I want to slit seed it, was thinking a 10-0-0 to be safe , maybe two applications.

Here are some pics, we did pick up about 1 inch of rain in the past 48 hours, and it was mowed to 4" yester (08-17-10)

Am I just to anxious? I mean the crabgrass/K31 combination next door has been green all summer, and I am struggling to let it get to that.

Thanks again all

Wolffy5
08-18-2010, 10:31 PM
I wouldn't overseed until the second week of September. If you renovate too early then the homeowner becomes a slave to it due to the higher temperatures. K31 shouldn't even be in your vocabulary if you are a turfcare professional. It is a horrible variety and should never be seeded in a customers yard. When did the lawn get pytium? This is clearly an over fertilization and over watering problem if you have seen it in a home lawn. A common misconception also is that you need to dethatch tall fescue. YOU DON'T!!! Tall fescue is a non thatch producing plant. If i were you and they were my customer i would overseed this fall with perennial ryegrass and seed bermuda next summer. The area you are in is a tricky place to maintain cool season turfgrasses during the hot and humid summer months. A thick dense stand of bermuda is absolutely beautiful. Don't fight the sight. If you are getting pythium, brownpatch and so on then you may need to look at alternate options such as a bermuda renovation.

Lost Pine
08-19-2010, 11:36 AM
Phassler,
I suggest hire a company to slit seed when temps come down to 85. Use a brown patch resistant variety (cultivar). If the seed label does not say brown patch resistant--assume it is susceptible. Also consider the new "LS" types. LS means "Lateral Spread", a new type of tall fescue that actually creeps to fill in thin spots. Titanium LS would probably be a good choice.
http://www.mtviewseeds.com/varietiesandmixtures.htm

Best of luck.

Anyone have any experience with these "LS" type seeds such as Titanium...? Do they really spread..?

Hw can I find where they might be sold in New Jersey ???

phasthound
08-19-2010, 11:43 AM
Anyone have any experience with these "LS" type seeds such as Titanium...? Do they really spread..?

Hw can I find where they might be sold in New Jersey ???

Contact Dr. James Murphy at Rutgers for the most up to date info on seed types for NJ.

phaessler
08-24-2010, 09:13 PM
Well started the renovation process today, going to step down my mowing height again next week in prep for slit seeding.
Mowed it to 1 1/2" today, yup looks terrible.... but the best part was my neighbor looking at me while I was doing it, you know the "goober" look, while he proceeded to fertilize his crabgrass, I had to laugh.
Rain storms all week arent making it easy to keep it short here , picked up 2" last night and another 1/2" this afternoon.
Was wondering if its worth it to plug before I slit seed?? or is it a redundant act? The "thatch" I was calling it before is now the remnants of my fine fescue which dried up, less than 1/4" of thatch in the green areas.
Will post pics as I go.
Pete

newlymowedlawns
08-24-2010, 11:59 PM
I feel your pain. I live in Winston-Salem, N.C. and some of my lawns have done the same thing. It stinks when the neighbor mows at 1.5 inches and windrows the grass and it is greener all summer. I wish there was an easier way to get organic matter into the soil besides scoop and shovel. I just dont have the time. I will try to post some picts as well. I have about 10 yards that are kinda the same way. They look beautiful until we get that week of 90+ weather. Last fall I tried a scotts hybrib bluegrass mix with the same results as Lesco stuff this summer. I will try to post some picts soon


what kind of seed did you go with

phaessler
09-10-2010, 05:11 PM
Well I spent labor day weekend (four days) renovating and I think I may have hit it right....mowed short, fertilized, limed it, then slit seeded in three directions. Temps have cooled off to 80's during the day, low 60's at night.
Running the sprinkler constantly, awaiting some rain, has been another three weeks without moisture here.
I used the JohnDeere Landscape AllPRo Transition BLend, CAL-TURF Pro Lime and an organic starter fert 14-20-4 I slit it in about around 6# per 1000. I am figuring on at least another 7-10 days before I see anything pop.
Neighbor is still cultivating his crabgrass paradise, but I see him watering the brown/grey patches from the cooler nights, gonna look bad when it all dies out.
Anyone else?

Pete

lilmarvin4064
09-10-2010, 10:23 PM
sounds like you did some good stuff. Titanium, Catalyst, Padre, Stetson II, Hunter, etc are some good fescues. I don't think KBG will do too good in your climate.