The Q&A Archives: Lawn Help

Question: I have been overseeding and doing everything I can but then I have clumpy lawn. Pls see link below for my lawn pics. Ive also tried aerating it but no link. Please help me. What should i do what fertlizers should i put down.

Answer: I've looked at your photos and you have my sympathy! I noticed you have a few mole tunnels in your yard but the biggest concern are the clumps of grass and the bare areas. I think your soil is heavy clay and the winter weather caused frost heaves. Frost heave occurs after the soil has been exposed to freezing temperatures and plenty of moisture. The pressure that is created from alternating freezing and thawing conditions lifts the soil and plants up and out of the ground. As cold air sinks into the ground, it freezes water in the soil, turning it into small ice particles. These particles eventually come together to form a layer of ice. When additional moisture from deeper soil layers is also drawn upward and freezes, the ice is then expanded, creating excessive pressure both downward and upward. The downward pressure causes damage to the soil by compacting it. Compacted soil does not allow adequate airflow or drainage. The upward pressure not only damages the soil structure but also creates the frost heave, which is often characterized by deep cracks throughout the soil. You said you aerated and overseeded but I don't see any evidence of the aeration. I'd rent a core aerator, one that removes plugs from the soil, and leave the plugs on the lawn, then spread a thin layer of sand over the lawn. The plugs will dissolve with rainwater or irrigation water and the sand will work its way down into the holes left by the plugs and help the soil drain more efficiently. After the plugs have dissolved, overseed your lawn again and then spread a thin layer of compost over the seeds. This compost will work its way down to the soil surface and also help loosen the soil. Then feed your lawn regulary (June, September and late November). The grass should grow thick this summer. If you notice low spots during the season, spread some soil (up to a half inch at a time) over the low spots and the grass will grow through. It the spots are still low after the grass grows up, spread a little more soil in the low spots. Eventually you will have a lush and even lawn. You have such a large yard that you might want to do one section at a time. I'd do the front yard first, then the sides, then the back. Let us know how you're progressing

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