Have My Summer Lawn Woes Ended

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by TigerJon73, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. TigerJon73

    TigerJon73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I have posted on this site in the past about what seemed like a yearly battle against fungus and heat stress in my TTTF lawn in the Kansas City area. Sometime several years back a friend's brother who went to the Kansas State University school of Agriculture for turf management told me he recommends not fertilizing much in the summer months due to some of the more common fungi in the Midwest (brownpatch and dollar spot tend to thrive on nitrogen). Now, before I continue, I will say I could have completely misunderstood his advice. With that said, for at least the last couple summers I have not put down any fertilizer between about mid to late April and overseeing in late Sept. to mid October.

    We do have a sprinkler system we use regularly (now I am finding out I have probably been watering more than I need to).
    With what would appear to be a lack of moisture, I would always increase my zone times and my days to water (up to 40 minutes a zone, everyday, and sometimes an afternoon watering mixed in with the usual morning watering). Also, in the past it has not been unusual for my lawn to suffer horrendous areas of brownpatch. Late last summer I started purchasing Heritage G for the fungus and while at 3-4 week intervals it did improve the fungus situation, the overall appearance of the lawn was pretty lousy.

    This year I have not seen any signs of fungus yet (we've had a fairly mild spring/summer so far but it appears the heat is starting to set in). So far this year I have put down HerG on May 4 and May 26, but I haven't really seen the signs of fungus around town yet, but keep in mind I am not an expert. Still, with lots of watering my lawn just looked like it was suffering. The last time I gave the lawn any food was Weed n Feed on April 20 at half rate. I have been terrified of fungus coming in and gobbling up the nitrogen...and my grass. So, thinking my sprinkler heads needed looking at I decided to call a local company to check the system. While the dude did tweak things a little, we got on the conversation of fertilization. I told him my way (or at least what I thought my friend's brother told me)of thinking. He said he'd be even more worried of fungus attacking an unhealthy lawn. That was on June 15. On June 16 I put down Loveland's Supreme product that is a fertilizer with Iron and some other good stuff for the hell of it. I am probably going to jinx myself, but I can never remember my lawn looking as good as it does a week later and at the end of June. Also, my watering schedule has been about halved.
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    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
  2. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,545

    So if i understand you right, the point of your post is that a summertime fertilization on fescue is the way to go ? I disagree, i think you should get your nutrient's down between Sept. - April and let that get you through the summer. If you get enough nitrogen down in these month's (and i will bet your not) you can have perfectly healthy grass without fertilizing in the summertime and promoting disease or pushing a semi-dormant plant in the wrong direction, which is exactly what you are doing. Your visual assessment of that grass right now may be telling you it look's good but it's supposed to be going dormant. Your eye is just seeing green, not what's going on underground. What you think of as a lack of moisture is probably normal, grass is a lot tougher than you might think. Watering in the afternoon is a big mistake, overwatering is a big mistake. Water sparingly only early in the morning. Your watering schedule is a big reason you have patch problem's. If you do everything right then your fungicide need's will be cut by 85%. Brown patch is a normal thing on fescue, no need to be terrified of it. A quality seed help's a lot. So does sunlight. Do you mow as high as possible ? I am not trying to be negative here, just trying to help you out.
  3. TigerJon73

    TigerJon73 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57


    I appreciate the advice and I do agree I have been over-watering - I just didn't know what else to do considering I thought the problem involved a lack of water even though I figured I was giving the lawn too much. I have heard before that the best time to give the lawn nutrients is in the fall. Last year I put down pelletized lime on Sept. 1, overseeded and Scott's starter fert. on Sept. 16, spread peat in arears that got their ass kicked by fungus in the summer on Sept. 17, and put down another application of starter the third week of Oct. So far this year in regards to fertilizing, I put down an application of prevent at a half rate on Feb. 26, and the WnF at a half rate on April 20, and now the Loveland Supreme on June 16. As for the watering, I have cut back to every other day (cycle starting at 6 am), no more two times a day, and zone times cut in half. I wish I had some before and after pics to post. Also, I normally put down my grub killer the week of July 4, but this year I went about 3 weeks earlier. Like I said, my lawn is looking great and I have cut way back on the watering. I am all ears on further suggestions. Thanks again.

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