Dead Lawn - Im such a NEWB!

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by TBone, Aug 28, 2002.

  1. TBone

    TBone LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Okay, please forgive me if this subject has been done to death, but at this point, I'm desperate.

    My lawn appears to be dead. Last year I had it professionally fertilized, which didn't appear to help much, so I discontinued the service (yes, I watered throughout the summer). This year, my lawn just decided to croak. I usually don't cut more than 1/3 off the top, and in the middle of the summer, I watered like a madman but it never came back. Now, when you walk over the lawn, the dead grass (and tons of thatch) just kicks up behind you. You can run your foot over the "grass" and it just crumbles to pieces. Also, there is a lot of thatch on top of it.

    It WAS a new lawn (new home), and was sodded completely two years ago. Now, I'm trying to figure out how to start over. My wife called our local lawncare professional, and he said just drop see on top of it, even though there is a lot of thatch. It has always been my understanding that this is a VERY bad idea. When the lawn is dead, I thought you were supposed to dethatch, aerate, seed, fertilize, water (in that order). He said that dethatching and aeration isn't necessary, and that the seed will just fall into the thatch and germinate under it (I can't possibly understand HOW, but whatever). So, I have a few questions:

    (I live in Ohio, and my entire lawn is exposed to sun all day long, and gets scorched in the summer)

    1. What type of seed should I use, given the location and direct sunlight?

    2. How should I prep the lawn before seeding?

    3. When exactly should I seed (early September, late September)?

    4. What should I do after seeding? If I should fertilize, what fertilizer should I use?

    Thank you SO much for your help, everyone.
  2. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,261

    Sod is the most unhealthy grass available. It probably was layed with tons of thatch in it.

    Here goes!
    1. Rent a dethatcher and beat the hell out of whats there. (go deep enough to slice the soil)
    2. Rake the loose stuff and toss.(don't worry about all of it just the bulk.
    3. Seed with quality seed (no depot/menards/lowes/etc.) $2-$2.50 /lb.
    4. Fertilize with starter fert with middle number at 24-25 eg. 6-24-24. (at time of seeding aprox 4lbs/1000 sqft)
    5. Mulch with straw aprox 50% coverage don,t use too much. (dead grass will also act as mulch)
    6. Water and keep soil moist at all times(not drenched)
    7. Mow as soon as grass is tall enough to cut.
    8. Fert with slow release fert 20-25 first number 3lbs/1000 sqft.
    9. Over seed thin areas early spring.

    Grass types Everyone just loves Bluegrass. It's soft has dark green color in spring and fall ( well fall if it is't dead )
    When you find a good size seed dealer ask him about improved varieties of turf type tall fescue. (not K31) They will survive the heat and draught . Ask if they have any plots or customers that have used TTTF. Check it out. Nuff for now.

  3. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,261

    Treat for grubs next summer, that may have been one of your problems this year.
  4. larrv45390

    larrv45390 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 45

    1grnlwn has it right but it you may want to aerate befor you thatch and seed it.

    HOWARD JONES LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    You might do a soil test - that stuff may have died due to being on solid rock, clay, etc.
  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,065

    You may have watered too much if you "watered like a mandman." Fungus and root rot can occur if the lawn gets too much water.

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