Lawn Rehab

From this…                                                                                                                To this…
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Early April… home just purchased by new client…. Full of thistles, dying in many areas, a few tufts of grass thriving… Bring in the goats.

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At this point, early April, we performed multiple services. If you recently purchased a home follow these steps, don’t spend money redoing the turf.
1. Mow and bag to clear out debris.
2. Aerate thoroughly. This means go over it twice, like I constantly hit on. If you hire another aeration company make sure they do a second pass at a 45 degree angle from the first pass. This ensures they don’t follow their original pattern pulling as many fresh plugs as possible.
3. Fertilize. We put down a spring fertilizer enriched with iron. As usual, go with organic every time, especially if you’re trying to revive a lawn.
4. Properly set sprinkler timer. This new client moved from Texas, and obviously Texas has different ways to approach lawn care due to it’s different climate. I recommend referring to my other blogs about sprinkler timer settings as this can be the most difficult part of your lawn care. That being said, here are a couple things I did. Set the timer to three days a week, starting the day after we mow and every other day from there. I set it to water in the AM. I also programmed it to run two cycles, (multicycling), because we were having runoff issues in the front due to the poor condition of the turf, (it was rock hard from such poor treatment historically). And no, I absolutely did not program it to over water. This is a bad idea. Especially with a poor turf, you won’t be able to get large amounts of water to soak in. So, if this were your house, I would recommend two cycles of 15-20 minutes bringing the watering to 30-40 minutes per zone. Leave it this way for an entire season as you won’t know how much you can cut back until you see its performance in July/August.
5. A couple of weeks later we used a concentrated commercial herbicide to start exterminating the thistles. We waited a couple of weeks for this due to the poor condition of the turf. As I like to mention, the best defense from weeds, pests, and diseases is a healthy turf. A big reason is a healthy turf has a thick network of roots, which takes all of the nutrients to itself, leaving none for weeds. That being said, if we sprayed weeds on day one they would come back sooner due to the lack of root network. So, we gave the turf a couple of weeks to grow. At this point, the fertilizer had a couple weeks to start working and with the plugs pulled from the aeration the roots were experiencing more rapid regrowth into those voids.

Early June…
At this point our practices have not changed one bit. Weekly mowing, same watering schedule (although not recommended for a healthy turf), and we have now fertilized once more. This second round of fertilization has a surfactant in it, which is an ingredient to take the polarity out of a water molecule thereby allowing it to spread out more evenly on the turf’s surface- the turf can then bring in water more efficiently.

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July
This is where we learn the true extent of the damage, is it non repairable, is it making a comeback, etc. July and August are hard on lawns, and without a healthy root structure it will struggle, as did this one, but only slightly. We have not fertilized again, and we have only been mowing weekly still with the same watering practices.

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Late August
The turf received another fertilization at some point in August. It is the same fertilizer with a surfactant.

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I will add a new blog for the 2014 season to see where things are at. At the end of the season the services recommended or performed on a lawn like this are fall aeration, winterizer fertilizer and mowing until the grass has entirely ceased growth for the season. We do not at any point adjust the height of the cut. It is best practice to leave it the same height year round, and it’s a good practice to put it away for the winter at the same height you have been cutting it all season.

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