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Need help zone 4

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by alment, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. alment

    alment LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Hi. I am new to this site and find it quite interesting but I am in need of help to see what can be done about this grass? As can be seen, it is in terrible shape with all kinds of strange things growing and with quite a few dead spots that seem to have little tunnels. Also, there seem to be little butterflies flying around. The grass doesn't grow and is very thin. Perhaps the most challenging of all is that pesticides are illegal here (zone 4).

    Any advice other than starting from scratch?






  2. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    DON'T kill it all,that lawn is not that far away with a little TLC.

    Minimal weeds its just thin and spotty but not in a condition where it makes sense to wipe it all out.

    Spray a herbicide to kill all the weeds and then aerate dethatch and overseed.
  3. alment

    alment LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Thanks for the advice. What is the likely cause of the dry spots as I would like to attack the disease? Sod Webworms (little butterflies flying around) or something else? If this is the case, should an insecticide be applied beforehand, in parallel or after weed control?
  4. naughty62

    naughty62 LawnSite Senior Member
    from iowa
    Messages: 369

    I see a hosta in the bed , is this a shady area or a sun baked hill side hill sides can be tough. especially if the top soil is sandy,rocky or hard clay.Haul in some good topsoil,and plant a apropiate grass seed blend .If the area is a wind dried,sun baked area you should consider top soil ,maybe a fescue,bluegrass ,rye blend and plant a tree,a bush and a scrub.You do not have to do it all in one day .
  5. alment

    alment LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    The area is exposed to sun for most of the day and therefore sun baked. The base is exactly as you say: sandy, rocky and hard clay and I don't know if the base should be changed altogether for long term gain or if the current base is workable in the long run? In terms of what needs to be done to save this grass, is this the correct sequence?

    1) Insecticide for little butterflies flying around. I suspect this is what caused the damage or is this not required at this time?
    2) Aeration and dethatch
    3) Remove weeds after aeration. If some type of herbicide is used, I guess seeding is not an option for 4 weeks?
    4) Topsoil 1/8" 4 weeks after item 3)
    5) Overseed same day as topsoil?

    Anything else?:confused:

  6. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    If it were my home .........

    Have a soil test done.

    I would try and kill the weeds first, just spot spray the best you can. I would then bring in topsoil 2 weeks later and till the whole area. No need to remove the sod, but you might have a few chunks to remove. Then over-seed and water correctly.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I am not aware of any tiny butterflies that come from lawn killing grubs. We never really have those kind of problems around here. So I could be mistaken.

    A lawn like that, usually needs to be overseeded with a compost covering in the fall.

    Sandy, stoney, with hard clay is kind of a strange description. Usually in soils with both sand and clay are more described as a 'loam'.
    Unless of course there is not enough OM to bind it as a loam. In which case you may need to aerate and compost b4 you seed.
  8. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,229

    It sounds like he has turf insect problems. Shouldn't he be trying to address these?
    Focusing on overseeding is fine - but that is addressing the effect of the problem, not the cause.
  9. alment

    alment LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Just had a rainfall and seems all the neighborhood birds migrated to the patchy areas for a feast after the rain. A feast of what I'm not too sure? Neighbors's lawns were deserted in the meantime.
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,570


    Could be sod webworm. In any case the thing that it needs most is water--preferably by an irrigation system. Secondly overseed with higher quality grass. Go with a top quality rye and blue blend. Cut the weeds out as best you can. Mow tall as this helps to crowd out weeds. Also fertilize heavily as this will also reduce the weed population.

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