The Q&A Archives: Patchy yard

Question: I live in S.florida and just bought a home its a fixer upper and one of my main concerns is the lawn its patchy and doesn't grow in lots of areas and I'd like it all to be green and filled in I don't know when the last time this lawn was healthy and I'd like that to change, why is this patchyness no growth happening and how do I prevent it?

Answer: It's possible the lawn has been neglected for some time and all you need to do is put it on a regular feeding, watering and mowing schedule to get it to green up. To have the healthiest, greenest lawn possible, water deeply once a week (twice if the weather is really hot) to force the roots to penetrate deeply. Deep rooted grasses don't need as much water as those that are shallow rooted, and won't turn brown as easily. (Frequent, light watering will keep the roots close to the surface, making them dry out faster in warm weather and require even more frequent watering.) It's best to measure the amount of water your sprinkler puts out so you'll know how long to keep the water running. Put some tuna cans out on the lawn and turn on the sprinkler. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then check the water level in the cans. If there's not an inch of water in the cans, turn the water on again and continue to time how long it takes to get one inch of water in the cans. This will let you know how long you'll need to water to supply one-inch of water per week to your lawn. Put your lawn on a regular feeding and mowing schedule, too. Feed in April, June, September and December with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium. Mow when blades are 1 1/2" to 2" high. Don't let the grass grow really tall and then mow or you'll take off too much of the living tissue and scalp the lawn. I would rake out the dead grass and debris, then reseed those areas. Hope following the above guidelines will give you the greenest lawn on the block!

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