Does this sound like a good plan of attack?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by clembm, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. clembm

    clembm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2


    I have a customer that has a very stressed St. Augustine Lawn(I'll post pics tomorrow) and I'm hoping you experts can help me qualify my plan of attack or make additional suggestions. Here is the general description of the problem lawn:

    3900 sqft lawn that is completely exposed to sunlight(no trees)

    1. Overall the lawn is extremely brown and looks to be drought stricken. Owner tells me that they do not water at all and they do not have a sprinkler system.
    2. Dead spots are everywhere that when raked by hand, dirt is exposed
    3. In the sections where grass is still alive, there is a large amount of thatch/dead clippings that come up when raked.
    4. The lawn has a bad weed problem with dandelions EVERYWHERE and what looks to be large patches of dead bermuda grass. Also looks to have some woody type of dead vine growing along the ground that I've been able to pull up(I have pulled up about 15 of these dead woody vines)
    5. When test raking, the stolons are easily pulled up and it looks like the sod isn't really deep rooted.
    6. Areas of the yard are uneven/bumpy and there are visible holes in the ground(looks like the previous owner had a dog).
    7. The soil below the sod looks to be completely sand. Makes sense since this is newer subdivision and this is what they do when they lay sod for new homes here in Houston, Tx.

    So here is my plan of action(plan is to start in 2 weeks), please make suggestions as you see fit.

    1. Hand weed entire yard. (is there a quicker way to do this without using weed killer?)
    2. Hand rake entire yard cleaning up the thatch and dead areas as best we can. (Is there a quicker way to do this?)
    3. Rip out areas of the lawn that are dead in "square sections" and relay sod per normal process
    4. Aerate entire lawn in criss-cross pattern skipping re-sodded areas.
    5. Rake cores across lawn to even out areas
    6. Lay top dressing mixture of peat and soil and even out areas.
    7. Water entire lawn and teach owner proper watering techniques.

    A couple of things I am not doing, I have decided not to lay down pre-emergent weed killer nor have I planned on doing fertilizer. The rule of thumb I've been taught has been that for a really stressed St. Augustine Lawn, adding pre-emergent and fertilizer right away after doing all of the steps I've come up with is worse for the lawn.

    So, does my plan of attack sound like the correct course of action or am I way off?

    Thanks so much!
  2. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    how about this, if the soil will not support established grass how is it going to support sod????

    so step one soil test then aerate the whole thing. after that add some well finished compost(dillo dirt) in your area. then rip up the weeds and re-sod the areas that need it. add fert as needed (organic preferred).........

    yes water is important, try and explain that if you let them die of thirst and throw them in a lake it also does no good......
  3. clembm

    clembm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    So your saying don't even waste I and my partner's time raking to pull up the thatch? Should I go ahead and clean up the dead areas before I aerate and then just aerate the entire yard and do as you say with the soil test, etc.?
  4. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

  5. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,257

    I would not even attempt to recover that lawn without proper irrigation! What makes you think that it will survive again? Without water, it's going to die again and you will be blamed and probably have to redo the whole thing. I've turned down many lawns that the owners would not put in proper irrigation. I have ultimate control over my few lawns. Suggest putting in a irrigation well that will outlast any of us. Those are sorta a side for me and can be done very easily for about $2000. with pump. Irrigation lines, rotors are all extra. A bonus is that the well can be used for washing cars and almost anything not requiring potable water.

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