Renovate after a rough summer...

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by phaessler, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. phaessler

    phaessler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Hey all, some feedback or advice would be great.
    I have a lawn thats just over 50K sqft, southwest Virginia, temps this year went over 100F for 10 days and rainfall was non existent. It was planted with a tall fescue blend (TAR HEEL2, MATADOR GT, FIDELITY blend) and it has severly thinned out. Temps right now are still in the 80's and I want to get started renovating.
    Well water in case anyone was wondering if it was watered during the drought period. Was last mowed June 15th, and roughly about 30% of it still looks heat dormant.
    I have a Bluebird slit seeder, and a 60" Scag, so mowing and overseeding isnt an issue, also have ability to dethatch (about 1/2" thatch now) and sweep it.
    My questions are:
    1) Am I too early to start renovating? Anxiety is a terrible thing to waste.
    2) Every lawn around me has been planted with a straight K31, am I better to overseed with that? The lawn has suffered from Pythium before so KBG or Rye is not on option accordingto the local Extension office.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    I can post some pics if it will help, let me know.
  2. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,943

    1/2 inch of thatch is a lot. might want to mow more frequently. here in NC i'm not aerating/seeding fescue until at least mid september or until the temps cool down to 70s or low 80s on a consistant basis.
  3. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    You haven't mowed in 2 months????

    Post pics.

    Too early to do anything without irrigation on an acre lawn.

    You will need to rely on mother nature for water and that isn't coming for another month.
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,665

    Not mowed since June? That was a dry spell. Use high-quality seed. Make sure it is disease resistant, particularly to the disease you have in your area. Include 10 percent Kentucky bluegrass, as this gives it more ability to creep and fill-in burnout spots. I doubt that K-31 would do you any good. Wait until temps come down below 85. If you can do it before a good rainy spell--that would help. Mow very short to open up the grass, reduce competition from the old grass and expose the soil. Water new seed if you can. Add starter fertilizer. Plus apply additional fertilizer to build thickness in September, October and November. Also apply fert in spring--but to avoid disease I have heard that you should not fertilize if temp is over 85.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2010
  5. phaessler

    phaessler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    I know it sounds extreme, and much like Arizona, but we typically go 6-8 weeks without rain during July and August, but when it does rain its thunderstorms at night and rain above 80 only promotes "patch", have seen it all, from brown patch to take-all, and like I said lost it once to pythium. Therefore the KBG is out of the question, it doesnt survive.
    The seed used was supposed to be quality, sure felt like quality ($$$), and has performed well, but this summer was the 4th hottest on record.
    Mowing can only happen when its growing , and it doesnt grow without water, and with such high temps it went dormant in less than a week.
    Mowing height is typically 3 1/2", then late june I let it go to 4 1/2".
    I will get some pictures and get them up today, and might mow tommorrow if it stays cool.

  6. yardmanlee

    yardmanlee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 898

    we usually wait til mid sept to start areating and over seeding also depends if we start getting rain, this summer has been brutal for us here, so far August has been a little better w/ the quick showers and storms
  7. phaessler

    phaessler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Thanks yardmanlee, I am out in Moneta, and use Landscape Supply for all my materials. This lawn was featured at the Roanoke home show in their ad. Typically if they say 90 in Roanoke its 95-97 here south of the parkway.

  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,665

    I suggest hire a company to slit seed when temps come down to 85. Use a brown patch resistant variety (cultivar). If the seed label does not say brown patch resistant--assume it is susceptible. Also consider the new "LS" types. LS means "Lateral Spread", a new type of tall fescue that actually creeps to fill in thin spots. Titanium LS would probably be a good choice.

    Best of luck.
  9. phaessler

    phaessler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Will look into it Riggle, I read about them in Turf a while back. I am pretreating for patch diseases with Banner MAX , and Disarm, alternately by year, seems to help alot. The ol' Virginia clay is not a well draining soil, and I know this contributes to the patch diseases.
    Trying not to get too exotic with my seed choice, as my fellow property owners cultivate crabgrass and spurges like noone you could ever imagine. Ever watch a guy dethatch almost an acre of crabgrass, then mulch mow it back in?? "Gets the seeds down so it will thicken up" was his answer, gave me
    Just ordered new blades for the Bluebird slit seeder too, guess by the time I'm ready it will cool off. ITs 90 here now and it Monday at 10:30am.
    Anyone have thoughts on topdressing? I need more equipment, honest the wife said " you need one more piece of d@#$ equipment and then you can go in business"....ha ha ha
    Thanks again and hope to hear more suggestions....
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,665

    I just looked at your webcam in your county. Clay or not I don't think drainage is the problem.
    Acid soil is common though. Better seed (disease resistant) and plenty of moisture and fertilizer is the key, (no fertilizer when its hot).

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