Hi, I know this question has been asked 100 times, because I did a
google search, but I wanted to ask my question anyway in case some of
the circumstances were different. Here are the details.. its approx
a year old sod.. I laid the second application of fertilizer for the
year on Sunday night. It was pretty hot out, still in the 70's when I
did it. The first application early in the spring, I used some
really nice stuff from a local garden shop. This time, I used the
hardware store special 5000 sq ft for $5 a bag stuff. It was
something around 30-0-10. I used my broadcast spreader and applied a
little less then recommended. I have in-ground sprinklers, and they
go off every morning at 5am to give a light water, then a good soaking
once a week on Wed evenings. Anyway, the sprinklers didn't go off
the next morning for whatever reason, and I noticed the lawn was
turning a little brown in some areas. OK -- I manually turned on the
sprinklers and let it get a good soaking.. Woke up this morning (two
days later) and there are nice and brown patches everywhere.. UGHH.
The blades themselves are green on the bottom near the roots.. but 75%
of the blade is brown from that point up. Any chance this is going
to be recoverable? I am giving the lawn a good soaking twice a day
today.. unless I hear differently, I will continue to do this for a
week or so unless I don't see any improvement, in which case I'll
My questions are:
1. What did I do wrong? I think the mixture of using a cheap-o fert
was mistake number 1. Mistake number two was probably applying it in
the middle of the summer during the day heat. I've used dry
fertilizers in the past with this lawn and others, and never had a bad
experience (except when I dropped a pile of it on a spot once).
2. Will the lawn come back based on what I described? I know its
impossible to tell from description alone, but I really hope someone
can lend some expertise in this!
Things I learned (so far):
1. Quit obsessing over the lawn so much... it really didnt appear to
NEED any fert.
2. If I do fertilize again, use either organic or liquid.
thanks for any insight, I'm really upset with myself right now!!
On 13 Jul 2004 16:36:25 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (boz232) wrote:
I am no lawn expert, but I do wonder...
Why are you radically changing the watering pattern that has served
you well? I am not suggesting that the modification is a bad idea, but
simply don't understand your reasoning.
Some things that I've learned...
- never fertilize a dry lawn - water a day or 2 before a planned
- water again 1 day after application
- use a drop spreader for accuracy
- use 2/3 amount recommended by manufacturer
I have great success using Bandini brand lawn fertilizers. I apply every
six weeks to dwarf fescue (in northern Califonia) using Turf Green in the
spring/summer, and Turf All Seasons in the fall/winter. I have done this
for the past six years and while I will probably get hammered by some in
this group, my lawns are thick, lush, deep dark green and the envy of the
neighborhood. Watering deeper and less often will also help, but it's been
my experience that this pattern needs to be established in spring.
Bingo.. I was/am obsessing over the lawn. I was mowing about twice a
week, usually at 3" mower height. It was looking very much like a
putting green like someone hinted at. The yard looked fantastic, and
I don't mind spending an hour or two a day working on it.. but you are
right, I broke all three of the rules 1) mow too short 2) over
fertilize 3) over water/shallow roots.
I am going to keep watering this week, it actually is starting to look
a little "less" brown.. but that could be my imagination. I'm hoping
as the weeks go by, the lawn will grow, and the brown spots will grow
as well, so eventually I will be able to mow the brown spots off until
I get to green.
I'm not sure what kind of sod I have, but its fairly broad-leaved, and
a pretty dark green color. What would you recommend for a cutting
I'm hoping it recovers still.. but I haven't written off having to
possibly resod the entire front and sides this fall when it cools
So true, the little buggers....boz232, any moles in there?
And lets not forget our mid summer friend Mr Fungus and his orchestra that
is about to play for us from now till about Sept....Its been quite a Spring
and Summer here in central Va. .. With the early 95 deg heat in mid April to
the stifling humidity to the every evening toad-choking thunderstorms, which
the water sits there and cooks up a nice stew of fungal fever....August
ain't here yet, and the almanac says below avg. rainfall and record breaking
Boz232 may have just stressed out the lawn a little, but it will recover, it
just won't look as good as the nice Spring growth it had for a short
time.....Do nothing until you are sure of what you got........
You CAN water everyday if you can afford a good soaking and not just a short
shot of water...Cutting taller is not the only reason for deep roots with
TF, the roots will also follow the water down to the soak depth...Little
water, short , horizontal, weak roots.....Never water in the evening, It
needs Mr Sunshine to help in the chemistry of things....Golf courses water
EVERY day and will also turn on a firehose to certain parts to cool down the
When did you lime last? More than 4 months ago? I don't recall you saying
where you are, but if you have acidic soil, or even alkaline, the closer to
neutral the Ph is, the more nutrients are released to the lawn...They're in
there, just locked up.....That's why a lot of folks think lime greens up a
lawn...Its not the lime, its the goodies in the soil....Takes about 2 months
for the pellitized lime to kick in, so if you are overseeding in the fall,
do it soon.....
Me....I'd water 20 min. every other day at about 5 a.m......Take a spade out
to one of the patches and chunk it in the ground and pry back to check if it
is grubs or not.... Then take corrective action....Which would be nothing if
its fungus.....Nothing being no NPK, watering, or fungal controls...Just let
it dry out a week or so...
One problem with a complete soaking every day is that the surface never
dries, which creates one great host environment for fungus, grubs, and
insect eggs and larva. If you're keeping things completely wet (or even
damp), and things start to look even more dead (more brown, or the brown
turns to grey), then stop watering, and let it dry.
It needs Mr. Sunshine to help dry the surface so you don't create that
great host environment for all those pests. You don't want to water when
the sun is high and bright because of evaporation. The best compormise
between this all is to water at dawn to minimize evaporation, and
minimize the time that the surface stays wet.
While for most people the cost of excessive watering can be enough to
convince them to do the one inch all at once, once a week thing, there
is another reason not to over-water: Conservation. In many parts of the
country, even if the capacity of the pumping stations, filtration plants
and other infrastructure was increased, there's no more source water.
Any place that uses an underground auquafier, or places that use surface
water, but are going through a drought will have this problem
One only needs to look towards Wisconsin to see the seriousness of this
situation. The Transcontinental Divide, the divide between the Atlantic
Ocean and Missisippi River watersheds, runs just west of Milwaukee.
Until the last 20 years, the area west of the divide was mostly rural,
but it's turned suburban. The water level in the auquafier is dropping
rather rapidly now, and many of the water districts need to drill
deeper, and deeper wells, and still have problems. Meanwhile, the folks
in the city are limitted only by the capacity of the plants that process
Lake Michigan water.
Now, what should the limitted water west of the divide be used for?
Agraculture, industry, drinking, and cleaning? Or can a few people who
can afford the price be allowed to over-water their lawns? What happens
when the farmer in rural Waukesha County can't afford to drill a deeper
well, while some well-to-do guy in a Milwaukee suburb west of the divide
can afford to have a huge, green-lawned estate?
A lot of people don't see the attraction of huge expanses of lawn, but
there are a still people who do. And as long as kids need places to
play, lawns will be a desirable part of the landscape. But if the people
who love lawns don't start a reasonable watering regimen, lawns will no
longer be affordable to the middle or working classes.
To bring this all back around to the point: Don't water every day for
any extended period of time. It may be necessary for a week of seed
germination, or right after new sod is laid, but timing those events for
wetter seasons will allow Mother Nature to take care of those things
An inch a week, once a week is good for the health of a lawn, it's
usually affordable, and it conserves water. It's a trifecta win.
30-0-10 is very high nitrogen (30)
nitrogen will burn plants if used excessevly.
you may want to check with your local sod growers for more info
i would water it excessivly to wash some of the nitrogen down deeper. it may
be all u can do.
the grass will come back if not burnt too bad. if the roots survive you will
have grass again.
The OP says he waters every day, and he apparently loves chemical
fertilizers, so his lawn probably has a very shallow, immature root
system. With a lawn that's so stressed already, the kind of watering
needed to wash out the nitrogen is going to make it ripe for an
infestation that'll eat what's left. And he'll spend a fortune on the
water bill doing it.
My advice would be to write-off this summer. The only way to save this
summer would be to put down some good soil, and then re-sod on top of
it. Of course a newly sodded lawn in summer is going to take a lot of
water, too, so that's not a good option.
What I would say is plan on some work in September. Spread some compost
over what's left of the lawn, cover that with a nice soil, and reseed.
If you do this just before the cooler weather and the fall rains start,
you'll need to use far less water. And for goodness sake, don't use any
fertilizer! Overseed in spring to fill in the thin spots.
Then next summer, stop the madness of watering every day. Water an inch
deep once a week. Period. (If the current soil is so hard that it won't
soak-up that kind of water in one delivery, aerate it before putting
down the compost and new soil. Rake-up the plugs of the old soil, and
throw them into your compost pile for the next year.) This time you want
the roots to grow deep, and the lawn to get strong. That doesn't happen
if you water daily.
Also, remember to leave the lawn high. There's nothing in the OP's post
to indicate how high he mows, but so often the people who are so
obsessed with their lawn that they even consider using a chemical
fertilizer in summer also think their goal is something that looks like
a putting green. That's just not a realistic style for a lawn, unless
you plan to hire a full-time greens keeping crew, and budget for
replacing the sod each year.
A good, healthy lawn, growing in good soil, watered properly requires
far less fertilizer than the OP uses. I fertilize once in fall with a
"winterizer" fertilizer that's balanced for root development (rather
than the blade growth a high nitrogen fertilizer aims for), and I use
1/2 the manufacturer's recommendation applied with a drop spreader for
Fertilizing more than once a year, watering more than once a week,
cutting too short. Those strategies may help you get a putting-green
lawn in the short term, but they do not result in a sustainable lawn,
and they require lots of maintenance and money during the time that they
do look like a putting green. I think most people have better ways to
spend their time and money.
He's right. Daily watering, that amazes me.
A brown lawn in hot, dry conditions is a dormant, not dead, lawn. Keeping
it lush and green in these conditions is doing you no favours.
Consider some xeriscaping if the long term trend is like this?
Start with a soil test. Based upon the results adjust the pH first and
then provide nutrients as required.
Most extension centers can provide a soil test or direct you to a soil
test for a nominal fee.
Mow often enough to return the grass clippings to the lawn where they
can provide food and organic material to improve the soil.
Half of the lawn's nitrogen input can be provided by just returning
the clippings to the soil either directly or composted and applied as
On 13 Jul 2004 16:36:25 -0700, email@example.com (boz232) wrote:
The best time to apply fertilizer is a day after a soaking rain. Use
a slow-release fertilizer (or organic fertilizer). Cost has little to
do with burning. It climbs to 100 degrees here, so 70's sounds rather
cool. Your spreader may not be working properly. Load the spreader
bin on the pavement rather than the lawn to avoid spillage.
Time will tell. You may need to remove the dead grass (thatch) before
considering overseeding in the fall.
Where are you located? If you have a cool season grass, you don't want to
give it ANY nitrogen during the hot summer months. You only want to give
nitrogen to a cool season grass in the spring and fall. If you want your
lawn greener during the hot summer months, then use a fertilizer with little
or no nitrogen that has Fe (iron) in it. Lesco sells a nice one, or you
could just use plain ironite.
giving nitrogen to a cool season grass in the summer heat when the grass in
going dormant will only stress the grass more.
Also, you ALWAYS want to use a slow-release fertilizer, they are much less
likely to burn your lawn.
Matt in MI
firstname.lastname@example.org (boz232) wrote in message
A lesson learned. But there is another side to this story. High
nitrogen fertilizer can be used as weed control. In a yard that has
occasional broad leaf weeds like dandelion, a tablespoon of 35-0-0
placed in the center of the weed will kill the weed without damaging
surrounding turf or subjecting kids or animals to herbicides. Been
doing it for years and it works well.
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