Lawn care - Knowledgebase Question

Lawrenceville, GA
Avatar for ti_haiti
Question by ti_haiti
August 31, 2007
Can you tell me what would be the best way to care for my lawn? I used Scott's Fertilzer a few months ago and it was great. My grass was nice and green but then I started to get lots of weeds and mushrooms. So then I paid a lawn service to provide an aeration service for my lawn. About a week later The same service came back to put fertlizer and a weed killer. My grass is now patchy and large areas of it is brown. Around the corners of some of lawn is a moldy green. The back yard is completely dead. The back yard has never been easy beacause it is covered by tress from the woods. please help!

Answer from NGA
August 31, 2007

Some broadleaf type weed killers in summer can be quite damaging to some types of lawngrass. You can build a good lawn by providing adequate light and by proper mowing watering and fertilizing over time. Good lawn care can be summarized in three cultural practices: mowing, watering and fertilizing. If you will do these three properly, your lawn will be the best on the block!

Frequent mowing is better than infrequent mowing. Mow on a 5-7 day schedule, removing no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade with each mowing. For example, a St. Augustine turf should be mowed to 2 1/2" when it reaches 3", while a semi-dwarf bermuda or zoysia would be mowed to 1 1/2 or 2" when it reached 2 or 2 1/2".
While many homeowners like to water 15 minutes a day, your turf will benefit from a good soaking applied less often. Apply 1/2 to 1 inch of water once or twice a week. A coffee can makes a good rain gauge to test out how long it will need to be run to apply an inch. Frequent wetting promotes disease problems and a shallow rooted turf. Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings and the grass will develop a deep root system and do much better.

Fertilize with no more than 1/2 to 1 pound of nitrogen in spring after you have mowed the grass twice, and again in fall (around late October). Apply a product with a 3-1-2 ratio of nutrients as this is roughly the ratio of nutrients grass takes in. So, for example, if you purchased a 15-5-10 fertilizer (15% nitrogen), you would apply about 7 pounds per 1000 square feet (1 pound / .15 = about 7). If you purchased a 21-7-14 fertilizer (21 % nitrogen), you would apply about 5 pounds per 1000 square feet (1 pound / .21 = about 5).

Healthy turf will choke out most of its weed problems. When the turf is thin and soil is exposed to the sunlight, weeds will sprout and you have a battle on your hands. So first concentrate on the above 3 cultural practices and you will be amazed at the results.

If an area is too shady you can have some branches pruned out to still keep shade but make it a brighter shade. Removing low hanging limbs also helps.

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