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Old 04-09-2011, 07:03 PM
Ryno98 Ryno98 is offline
LawnSite Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 6
Lawn recovery

I have a large lawn (about 30K sq feet) of sodded Tifway 419 started in May 2010 in Northeast Texas. I didn't own the house until late June 2010 and unfortunately the sod was not exactly cared for properly until then. Proper soil amending and leveling were not done prior to laying the sod, the irrigation system coverage was sub-par, and water where I live is expensive so the builder didn't water nearly enough so he could save money. I have easily spent the amount of money he saved and then some trying to deal with problems created by drought stress and turf loss. I have made reasonable progress except on hillsides where irrigation/fertilization is a struggle and coverage remains thin. All of last year the lawn was (and so far still is) mowed by large rotary ZTRs by my LCO, at levels that in retrospect were much too high for Tifway 419 (2-3 inches). I have ordered a new Tru-Cut C27 reel that will be used when it arrives.

My specific problems:

1. As seen in the picture, there are long dead runners which can be raked up with great (impractical) effort with a thatch rake. This does not seem to be true thatch, but it gives the lawn an overall salt and pepper appearance (if pepper was green, anyway). Should I just give this time to resolve on its own? I thatch raked a small area then mowed it low with my rotary mower as an experiment but the overall appearance is unchanged -- there are just no more super long runners that I can tease out. Will the reel mower help with this? Or should I rent a dethatcher?

2. After my reel mower arrives I want to get the grass down to around 1" height. I know the rule of not cutting more than 1/3rd of the grass length at a time, but how long should I wait before mowing the next 1/3rd of length? Obviously the next day is probably too soon, but is 3-4 days enough to avoid scalping?

Thanks in advance for anyone's help. This site is great.
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