Pre-emergent Advice on damaged lawn

dmaxt03(z8 SC)March 15, 2014

My lawn is an established centipede grass approximately 10 years old. Over the last 6-8 months, it appears significant damage has occurred to the root system and now, most grass appears to be dead. In several large areas, the grass, runners, and thatch layer can be lifted with ease exposing soil underneath (no or little root system at all).

I am not sure of the cause. We have had a unusual amount of rain in the last year, yard has not been able to dry out. I was also told by a landscaper last September (6 months ago), that it looked like pre-emergent had burned the roots. (I applied a product with Prodiamine early last year (Feb or March), but don't think I exceeded recommended amount). I now concede, that the pre-emergent may have contributed, however, the yard has continued to degrade over the winter. In addition, the rain has left the yard soggy and wet, and now, weeds are beginning to take over.

Now is time of the year to apply a pre-emergent to prevent crab grass and summer weeds.

Should I apply a pre-emergent under these conditions?

I really would like to control the weeds and believe they will be more of a problem now that the lawn is damaged. I am thinking about a product with Dimension, but am unsure if I should. It has been a year since the last application of pre-emergent, however, I am also concerned that I may have to replace sod in places if the grass does not return.

If I apply a pre-emergent now, will I be able to install new sod in the next 6 weeks if it does not return?

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Have you investigated the many factors involved in what is called Centipedegrass Decline? It would be worth your time to investigate. Improper fertilization, watering problems, soil pH, herbicides, and other abiotic factors can all contribute to Centipedegrass Decline.

The first thing that comes to my mind, however, when reading your post is nematodes. When I lived in Beaufort County, the issues with several species of nematodes were becoming very serious. We tried to convince people to stay away from Centipedegrass because of it. Homeowners don't have the arsenal of nematicides available to them that golfcourses do. If you haven't already done so, check with your local Clemson Extension office for advice about how and when to collect soil for proper nematode assay.

I know that I haven't addressed your herbicide question, but unless the cause of the problem with your grass is resolved, you'll always have a terrible stand of grass. Clemson can also be very helpful with recommednations for weed control, too. Ask to speak to an agent who specializes in turf, rather than a master gardener volunteer.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 2:35PM
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dmaxt03(z8 SC)

Here are some pics showing the damage. I just lifted up the grass with my hand. No digging or shoveling needed. I am sending soil samples to Clemson Extension for analysis. Any advice on the next steps I should take?

Here is a link that might be useful: Yard Pics

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:58PM
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I saw some green stems in those pictures your lawn may not be totally dead. Is your yard typically starting to green up at this time of year? You should start controlling those broad leaf weeds. I would wait on the pre emergent though. How much N do you typically put on your lawn in a year?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:58AM
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dmaxt03(z8 SC)

My yard usually greens up around the first of April. We have had an unusually wet and cold winter, so it may be a little later before it greens up this year. I fertilized twice last year (16-0-8 w/ Barricade~May) and (6-1-11 w/iron~Aug-Sept). Should have results from the soil samples in 1-1/2 weeks. As suggested, I'll hold off on the Pre-emergent for now and tackle the weeds. I've never had broad leaf weeds like this before. I think they are dandelions and a kind of thistle (Spiny Sowthistle?) (Cool Season annual broadleaf weeds?).

Any advice on the best way to control the broadleaf weeds? Hand-pulling?, Round-up?, Post emergent? Should I stick with spot treating only?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:38PM
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