I got a load of compost from my dad's horse ranch, made from Arabian horse
dung and hay and clippings and the like. He warned me that it was very
"rich", but I got it and put it all over my lawn anyway. Well, now it is
all brown, and the areas I put more compost on are the brownest. I guess I
"burned" it. I've been watering profusely (every other day, as we've had
over 23 days of over 90 degrees temp w/o rain) in hopes of bringing it back.
It is St. Augustine, and I live in North Austin Texas. The soil is very
clay-ish, and I can see roots of the grass in runners that evidently have to
place to go. Is there anything I can do to salvage this grass? I cannot
afford to replant or re-sod right now. This is my first lawn (obviously!)
and I need help.
I'm no expert but I live in South Florida where the only grass that really
thrives is St. Augustine. The grass has gone through droughts, continuous
rain and every other thing that Mother Nature could throw at it and it
always survives. Water it normally and give it a chance. By the way, where
you have clay, we have sand and crushed coral.
How large an area is burned? Solid brown where burned, or are there
signs of green growth? Rich fertilizer burns because it dehydrates the
plant, just like when people eat too much salt. Hot summer is poor time
to fertilize with anything when plants are under stress. You can keep
watering 3x week for a while; you will see in about a week whether the
brown patches are greening up. It's a lousy time of year to plug or sod
the lawn, too, but plugs aren't that difficult, spread pretty quickly,
and don't cost. You will need to treat for weeds if weeds take hold in
the damaged areas, but that can be done later. St. Aug. is hard to kill.
There is still sign of life in the brown areas, so I'll keep watering and
hope for the best! It isn't solid brown, there are brown patches. From
your responses, I think St. Aug is the grass for me..."Hard to Kill" just
like Steven Seagal!
St. Augustine is itself a weed. The roots do not grow into the ground but
grow sideways. Three years ago we had a severe drought down here and were
unable to water at all for over a month with 90-95 degree daily temps. Soon
as we started watering, it took about a month and the lawn looked great.
The richest compost is still weaker than synthetic fertilizer. It was
probably loaded with something else, like an extreme pH leachant. Take off
what you can, and hose down the rest to dilute whatever is in there, see if
the grass comes back.
That is a generalization which, in general, isn't <necessarily> true...
Manure, particularly horse, is potentially very strong in immediately
releasable nitrogen which is the component most responsible for
The rest of the advice is fine...more water will help alleviate the
symptoms, but if it is already burned badly, quite probably only time
combined w/ water will help as the absorption will already have taken
Greetings from sunny north Austin!
I've never burned my lawn the way you describe, but some neighbors did
the first summer they moved in. Their entire lawn was completely dead
brown from overfertilizing. The next year it started coming back, and
the year after that it was fully green again.
It'll take time, but the grass will eventually come back on its own.
You probably don't need to water every other day. I'd cut back to every
four or five days, with occasional additional watering if it starts
getting too crunchy.
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