Lawn - Knowledgebase Question

Woodland Hills, Ca
Question by nancymfole
July 8, 2010
Hi - Our lawn is dry, hard and brown. Water laws only allow 3 watering days. The summer heat reaches 100 degrees in the San Fernando Valley (Ca) where we leave. Can we plant seeds now? What kind? Should we aerate the lawn first? Seeds were planted earlier this year (Jan) but the new blades died after we fertilized it. Is it better to water in the morning or at night? Thanks


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Answer from NGA
July 8, 2010

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Watering in the very early morning is the most efficient time to water. Water can soak in and wet the entire rootmass without first evaporating. And if you water in the morning the grass blades will dry out during the day. If you water at night and the grass remains wet, it can develop fungal diseases. New lawns should be mowed 2-3 times before being fertilized. This allows enough time for the roots to become established before they have to deal with the salts in fertilizers. I suspect your lawn was just too young to survive when you fertilized it in January. Another caution with fertilizer is that if it is applied when the weather is hot, it can burn the grass blades. I wouldn't attempt to overseed or plant new grass seeds until this fall when the weather is cool. That brings us to the problem of soil compaction and aeration during the summer months. If the water cannot soak down into the soil because of soil compaction, aeration is a good route to alleviate the problem. Use a core aerator, which removes plugs from the soil, then spread a thin layer of compost or sand over the lawn. Water it well to help the material rinse down into the holes left by the plugs. These materials will provide a place for water to collect and also make nice loose places for the roots of the lawn to grow. Leave the plugs on the lawn and they will dissolve with water from the hose. This fall when the weather is cooler you can overseed with Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, perennial rye or a blend of these grasses. Best wishes with your lawn.

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