NEED LAWN HELP SOLUTIONS!!!!!!

   #1  

deere4320

Silver Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2010
Messages
187
Location
Northwest CT
Tractor
2008 Deere 4320 eHydro w/400X FEL and Unloaded R4's
Hi All,
It has been really hot in the northeast east for the last 5 or 6 weeks. Our lawn look terrible. I has dead patches and the whole thing is burnt up. I thought we could seed it with that new Scotts "EZ Seed" that is guaranteed to grow anywhere but it is very expensive. We also live in a valley so the soil is very rocky. I was thinking if we rip the whole thing up and start from scratch and with new seed covered in straw and a lot of water. What do you guys suggest?
 
   #2  

RxRatedZ71

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2010
Messages
251
Location
Edmond, OK
Tractor
JD 3203
This time of the year is scorching hot in Oklahoma also. We live on hard-packed red clay. Our house was new in May 2008 and we have been battling the yard situation also. We had erosion problems in the back and found a trucking company that could supply a grass-sand-dirt mixture by the semi load. We put down 5 truck loads and watered it like crazy. We tried to spread it out with the box-blade, but I finally gave up and just drove back and forth over it with my 1/2 ton pickup to pack it in. The grass (and pasture weeds) came up superbly!

It wasnt practical to do this for the front yard, so I resorted to ripping it up with the scarifiers on the box-blade and them seeded and fertilized like crazy. I then took an old wooden pallet and drug it behind my ATV to level it all out and stir it up. We are putting down bermuda seed ($40 for 15lbs) and then also fescue ($39 for 50lbs). I waited a bit late last year and it got too hot, but I caught it again this year before the heat arrived and its done surprisingly well.
 
   #3  

beenthere

Super Star Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2001
Messages
17,037
Location
Southern Wisconsin, USA
Tractor
JD_4x2_Gator, JD_4300, JD_X485, JD_425, JD_455, JD_110
deere4320
Did your lawn look good in the spring, before the hot spell?
 
   #4  

AchingBack

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
2,468
Location
Southern Oregon
Tractor
Mahindra 2615HST
Generally, early fall will be the best time to rennovate your lawn. If you wait until late September to mid October you won't be dealing with broad leafed weed activity.

In order to grow a beautiful lawn, you need a deep root system; anywhere from a minimum of 6" and beyond is ideal. If you don't have an ideal seed bed, you are waisting your money. Unless you already know the soil makeup of your lawn, you'll have to take a core sample here and there to see the content of your existing organic matter.

A galvanized pipe cut at a steep angle on one end will serve as a corer. I'd make one about 24", drive it straight down with a sledge, and take about a 12" sample. I'd do that in a number of places through out the lawn area.

If you don't have lots of organic matter in the root zone; you'll be set up for failure, as the micro organisims have nothing to feed on. Since your soil is quite rocky, you have excellent drainage, and what I call free soil. Meaning water percolates through at a faster rate than in a clay soil. A good medium for root growth is like a sponge that absorbs quickly enough to prevent run off on slopes, yet allows the water to pass through the root zone, down to the subsoil.

Here's what I might do. Unless you want to kill the existing lawn, including the roots with glyphosate; and if you don't mind the neighbors pointing at your place; stop watering, and let it turn brown. You now have a nice mat of dying organic matter. Only watering will revive it, but we wan't to wait until after performing a light thatching.

Now you are ready to reseed, fertilize, and water. The hot summer days are done, and night time temps have mellowed. You may want to add straw, but you shouldn't have to.

Whatever you do, don't rototill a live lawn. You will bury live root clumps at varying depths throught the root zone. Since they won't have decomposed yet, when the new rootlets hit the root clumps, they will stop on their way down to the proper depth for continual good growth.

You could go with your original plan. Just give the lawn a decent raking to create spaces for the seed to nestle in, and germinate. Rather than straw, if you aren't dealing with a huge area; top dressing with a combination of steer manure/mulch, can work wonders. Rental yards have screened spreaders about the size of a lawn roller. Easy, and quick to get the job done. Once you've top dressed, water as if you are starting a brand new lawn. If you do it now, you may create a lot of weed growth.

If I were doing it here in Southern Oregon, I'd wait until fall. I don't have a clue what things are like in Northwest CT.
 
   #5  

radioman

Super Member
Joined
May 21, 2008
Messages
5,931
Location
Ontario, NY
Tractor
Kubota BX24
Have you lived at your property for long ? Sometimes it takes a few years to understand how your lawn reacts to different types of heat/cold each summer.

For example, I have a very wet area that its best to mow low, one area where its a clay, and rest in meduim . I noticed no matter what, if the temps are calling for 90's or higher, I just set my mower at a higher notch each time I mow during heat spell. Every time my lawn needs mowing but heat is still on, I go a notch higher again. This puts less stress on the lawn, gives the shade grass needs to preserve water, and longer grass surface to make food. I have done this all of july, and now heat waves has stopped and I stopped taking it a notch higher each time I mow and sticking with the current hieght. So far its still green lawn.

I used to be one of those "dirt mowers" since I did like the low cut lawn same hieght in spring, summer, fall but never again since all summer I would get weeds and looked terrible.
 
   #6  

Haoleguy

Platinum Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2005
Messages
790
Location
SE Connecticut
Tractor
JD 5325; Landini Mistral 50
Deere4320 - AchingBack has got it right on many points. Fall(for us nutmeggers its September) is when to do either seeding or reseeding a lawn. For homeowners UConn suggests tall and fine leaf fescues for our region for sustainability and retain green color during most summer droughts. Both UConn ( Turfgrass Science at The University of Connecticut ) and UMass ( UMass Extension Turf Program - Home Page ) have good turf specialists. You can also turn to your county UConn Extension office to get info on turfgrasses and requirements.

This Spring I took a full day class from a UConn extension specialist(Pam Cooper - Turf Program Educator
[email protected]) that works as an assistant super at a golf course. She definitely knows her stuff and is worth consulting if you have questions. She is endearing as kind of the female version of Bill Murray in Caddyshack.

Gary
 
   #7  

Haoleguy

Platinum Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2005
Messages
790
Location
SE Connecticut
Tractor
JD 5325; Landini Mistral 50
Deere4320 - One other thing I forgot to mention is that you want high quality seed with: (a) low weed seed and (b) high germination rates. Otherwise you can imagine a 65% turfgrass seed at 70% germination rate gives you 45% of what you want and potentially a lot of weeds. In the end don't skimp on quality. The following information by Michigan State Univ. tells you what to look for on the label ...Purchasing Quality Turfgrass Seed: Read the Label - MSU Turfgrass Science . ......Gary
 
 
Top