Beautiful Lawn turning into Crabgrass

All reasonable advice would be appreciated. I have a big amount of lawn approximately 10,000 square feet. Location Northern California. The lawn was established when I purchased the house. It is a thin blade grass. I use the 'Scotts' fertilizer plan and water regularly. The lawn was absolutely beautiful a few months ago (April & May) but recently it has turned brown in spots and looks dry and has lots of crabgrass. Please advice, what can I do to get my beautiful lawn back. I also aerote twice a year. Thanks,
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Most likely when you aerated your lawn you turned crabgrass seeds to the top and now crabgrass is starting to take over your lawn.
I'm far from being an expert, but it seems to me you don't need to aerate nearly as often. I've aerated my lawn only once in the 8 years that I've lived here and my lawn is doing very well. I don't intend to aerate my lawn again for several more years, or at least until my lawn really looks like it would benefit from it.
I would suggest you stop aerating, start spot spraying the crabgrass with a good herbicide and overseed your lawn this fall.
Freckles
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"trax" wrote

Hmmm. If you had a beautful lawn then but not now, what are you doing differently?
Crabgrass needs lost of sun and will quickly establish itself if there is any bare gorund. Crabgrass produces seeds that will remain dormant for 10 years or more, waiting for the right conditions. There are some (new) products out there that will kill crabgrass in lawns or you can pull the crabgrass out by hand. At the minimum, do not allow it to go to seed. Make your lawn thick by overseeding and patching the bare areas. Use a "Starter" fertilizer when you plant. Since you have a crabgrass issue, apply a pre-emergent at the right time of year for the next two years, and be careful to apply it more than 3 months before overseeding.
No need to aerate unless you are sure your ground is compacted. I have a beautiful lawn, and have never aerated. But I do have plenty of earthworms to do the job. A mulching mower adds organic matter to your lawn and will encourage worms. Mulching mowers do not cause thatch (amazing how many folks believe otherwise).
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Pre-emergent crabgrass killer needs to be applied *every* year.... and no matter how diligent you will still have some crabgrass, and if you have neighbors who don't treat their lawns you will have a lot of crabgrass... whatever is in your neighbor's lawn will end up in your lawn. Once crabgrass is growing in your lawn the best way to remove it is to dig it up with as much root as possible, spot killers will also prevent lawn grasses from growing and in fact the crab grass will return first.

How often to aerate is mostly determined on soil composition, how much traffic, and lastly earthworms.

Earthorms don't eat grass clippings, earthworms eat the organisms that break down organic matter. The earthworm population will remain constant in a particular patch of soil regardless how you mow, if you mow, if you don't mow. When you sprinkle bread crumbs on your soil earthworms will arrive, but they are not attracted to the crumbs, they are attracted to the organisms that arrive to feed on the crumbs. Most earthworms live deeply in the soil, many feet down, very few earthworms are damaged from digging in soil... earthworms multiply much faster than one can chop them up by tilling their garden... birds and other creatures consume far more earthworms than one can kill with a rototiller. The earthworm population has been constant on the planet from millions of years past. The earthworms on the planet weigh more than all other living creatures combined, including all those in the seas.

All mowers create some thatch. But mostly thatch is composed of the grass plant itself that dies naturally as part of its life cycle. All lawns benefit from regular de-thatching, at least once a year.
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Mine are within three inches from the surface.

As usual, Shelly is showing his full gamut of ignorance. The earthworms may return, but their work is destroyed. The galleries that they created allow for aeration of the soil, and its drainage. Treat your earthworms right and you will have healthy soil.

Could we have a cite on this? With less top soil, there should be fewer earthworms.

Shelly is obviously into his cups already. Take any of this advice with a cup of salt.

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Crabgrass is an annual. The only way to prevent it emerging is to apply a preemergent crabgrass killer at the proper time in early spring, this prevents last years crabgrass seed from germinating. You also need to water deeply and regularly or lawn grass will suffer but weeds of many types will not only survive but will flourish and crowd out lawn grasses. You also need to mow regularly and to the correct height (no less than 2" and remove no more than 1/3 the height of grass at a mowing), mowing too short will harm lawn grass and encourage weeds, especially crabgrass. No matter how diligent crabgrass will still emerge in spots, it's best to dig it out with as much of its root as possible... spraying with spot killer will only create a bald spot which is much more likely to host weeds before lawn grass. You are obviously not following the Scotts program or you'd have laid down preemmergent crabgrass killer with your first fertilizer application in early spring (Scotts Halts +2). And the best thing one can do to keep one's lawn healthy and weed free is not to walk on it... if you permit kids to play on your lawn then you had best resign yourself to living with crabgrass. If you don't trample your perennial shrubs why would you trample your lawn grass and expect it to survive.
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You don't say what kind of grass it is, if it is fescue it will naturally thin over a period of years and will need to be over seeded to maintain a thick lawn. Any thinning that occurs gives weeds and crabgrass an oppurtunity to thrive.
basilisk
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trax wrote:

If you use the Scott's plan, you were probably late with the crabgrass pre-emergent treatment. Don't use Scott's myself as I think they overdo it. I do use a pre-emergent that costs half as much and put it on early or in my part of the East before the forsythia blooms.
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