Help me diagnose the problem and fix my lawn...

BayAreaFamilyMarch 17, 2013

Hi... I just bought a home with a bad lawn. There are (at least) two types of grass growing.

Can someone help me figure out if there's any hope for this lawn?

I'm in USDA zone 9, in Lafayette, CA. We have what most folks refer to as adobe clay soils -- and the soil under our lawn seems to be hard and compacted.

Any help or guidance would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Here's another photo, if it helps. Let me know if there's any additional info you need that might help.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 9:30PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

You cannot know if that is a bad lawn or not. It's dormant. Here are the 1-2-3 steps of lawn care.

  1. Water deeply and infrequently. Deeply means at least an hour in every zone, all at once. Infrequently means monthly during the cool months and no more than weekly during the hottest part of summer. If your grass looks dry before the month/week is up, water longer next time. Deep watering grows deep, drought resistant roots. Infrequent watering allows the top layer of soil to dry completely which kills off many shallow rooted weeds.

  1. Mulch mow at the highest setting on your mower. Most grasses are the most dense when mowed tall. Bermuda, centipede, and bent grasses are the most dense when mowed at the lowest setting on your mower. Dense grass shades out weeds and uses less water when tall. Dense grass feeds the deep roots you're developing in 1 above.
  1. Fertilize regularly. I fertilize 4 times per year using organic fertilizer. Which fertilizer you use is much less important than numbers 1 and 2 above.
    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Thanks, dchall for the follow-up. We just got some rain last week and I'll follow the rest of your advice through spring and summer and see what happens.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 7:50PM
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