Recently a friend who lives outside of our service area asked about fixing a lawn that was not in the best of shape.
Here's what we said to them
Thanks for the photo(s)
Okay so the lawn/house faces south west so there shouldn’t be any sun shade issues for your lawn
Finding out how it got this way- Has it been like this for a while? Or did it deteriorate suddenly? If so do you remember when? If so what month of the year? May help determine if there is a or was an underlying insect issue.
STEP BY STEP FIX -- main thing is to improve grass population. Encourage grass root immigration - offer incentives for new grass residents to move into your yard and do all you can to make sure they stay happy or else they leave. Keep out undesireables as these discourage the new residents.
There are several ways- to seed lawns
Step 1 It is best if you can get best way to get lawn aerated first- rent a machine, hire a lawn company, sometimes some company sell door to door- this step will enhance results but is not 100% necessary
( seed will respond best if it receives the necessary moisture to germinate- alternatives to aeration- with regard to seeding - where lawn is bare enough, rake hard enough to loosen soil- if bare spot is not as wide as a rake, take a spade and insert into the ground about 1-2 inches deep with slits 4” apart
Step 2 apply a liberal application of high quality grass seed - 5lb per 1000 sq ft
Water lightly to push seeds slightly into slits or aeration holes, or raked patches.
Step2a apply a seed/sod fertilizer at package rates- should have high middle number
Step3- optional - but will improve results
- spread black soil over lawn- or at least over the worst parts- apply at about 1/4 to 1/2 inch depth
Bag of soil type deliveries hold one cubic yard- this will cover 108 sq ft to 1/4 deep. This may be enough for the worst areas. If you want to cover more- look for a supplier who delivers in bulk- this means a pile of soil on your driveway - but is usually less expensive than bag delivery if getting a larger quantity
Step 4 watering - give seeds a light watering twice daily - a light sprinkling is sufficient - do this for 2 weeks- seeds should be starting to germinate by then-
Watering can be eased off to 2-3 time weekly
Step 4 alternative - wash car daily - usually after washing car- it rains just enough to spoil the car wash
Step 5- about ; weeks after seeding apply high quality lawn fertilizer at recommended label rate- apply 3 - 4 times yearly at 6-8 week spacing
)normal year- late April, June , August, late October
Step 6 Weeds- non-grass weeds like dandelion - dig out manually or spray with weed b gone herbicide when they appear - this will kill tips of some weeds but not all- and even the easiest will require 2-3 treatments-
As lawn gets healthier there will be less weeds- but weed elimination will take time - a healthy green lawn will look good even if there are some weeds
Care- step 7&8- mow lawn regularly at 3” mowing height- never cutting more than 1/3 of leaf blade off- keep mower blade sharp
Lawn needs 1-1 1/2” of water per week (use a Tin can to measure how much 30 minutes of sprinkler time gives in inches)
Watering is best if done once per week-
On some lawns- for instance if you need 1 hours of watering to achieve one inch- you may need to allow water to percolate down. In other words you may water for 30 minutes then stop for 30 minutes before starting again- you will know this is the water starts to run off the lawn and is not being absorbed into the soil but is running down the drain
Step 9- during summer monitor lawn for brown spots which may indicate insects- seek advice if the spots increase in size as this indicates insect feeding- as they feed more lawn dies
Step 10 Enjoy the progress you will achieve by following these steps
Sit on porch with cool drink and relax
Question from Derek
Hey Turf King/Gerry,
Hoping to pick your brain for some knowledge. I have noticed about a dozen small patches of this light green grass in my front lawn toward the end of last year and they have re-emerged this year. This grass grows significantly quicker than the surrounding lawn and is an undesirable light green colour.
I have already top dressed, aerated and overseeded for this season, but I do have seed left over if the best solution is to simply pull out these areas. Is this a weed/invasive grass?
I do not have any of this grass in my back yard which is significantly shadier.
Please advise, I have included pictures to provide more information.
Thank you much,
Thanks for reaching out and sending photos
There are basically two possibilities for a lighter green grass with thicker blades that are present in the lawn this time of spring.
1- quack grass or twitch grass
2- tall fescue
Quack grass is a native grass in these parts so can grow from seeds in your lawn - this can come from seeds contained in the soil from sod, soil you purchase or dropped by birds
Tall fescue is not a normal grass found in this area but is sometimes used in certain grass seed mixes one may purchase
How to tell the difference
Tall fescue will pull up in clumps- once you remove that plant it is gone-
Quack grass, on the other hand has underground stems - they look like a root- but they connect one clump to another clump- they grow sideways 2-6 inches deep- if you pull up 2 clump or plants but leave the underground stem that connects them, that stem can regenerate and produce a new plant
It is difficult to tell exactly which one you have for the photo but it is one or the other
Curing the problem
Tall fescue can be pulled up or it can be removed with a thin layer like sod and the reseeded or re- sodded
Quack grass- because the underground stems can be deep is much more difficult
In the old days spraying with Roundup (a liquid herbicide) was the solution - Roundup will kill both quack grass as well as your lawn but a spot spray would get rid of quack grass completely. Unfortunately, it is no longer lawful to use Roundup for this purpose
Digging it out is a big task but can be done
Our lawn library has some tips on quack grass- mowing and care tips that help to crowd it out over time
Please let us know if you need more info
Thanks to all our customers and friends who voted for Turf King in the Hamilton Community News 2019 Readers' Choice Awards
Turf King Hamilton is proud of our technicians and staff who do our best to earn your high regard, your votes and your 5 star reviews.
We actually are on the list twice- Once as Turf King and once as The King of Green since The King of Green is a slogan we use to describe Turf King