wizfan90(7)May 28, 2014

My grass is thatching really bad. Tgus is the second year it has done this. I'm in the southern part of Maryland. The grass is Scott's tall rescue. Can anyone explain why this keeps happening?

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Fescue isn't known as a thatch producer. What is pictured appears to be dormant or dead grass. Does this occur every late spring? Does it occur after an extended dry spell.? After treating the lawn with something like weed killers or fertilizers? Does the grass green up again after watering? Noticed any abundance of insects like small moths or grubs when you dig? Are there any lesions on the bordering grass blades? Any reddish dust on the grass?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 2:54PM
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Usually happens in late spring, but it somewhat greens up after a water.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 5:16PM
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I'm going to assume that none of the other questions apply? OK So, let's go with what we have and address this as a possible water problem.
Under ideal conditions a healthy lawn requires approximately 1" of water every week. This can be from rain, sprinklers or a combination. Adjust your watering habits to meet that need.
If your turf is already getting one inch a week, there can be a number of reasons that may cause the water to be unavailable to the grass. Rather than go through all the possibilities and solutions and doing the tests, let's start simple. Soil can become hydrophobic and repel water or it can be "hard" due to an excess of magnesium.
A simple, inexpensive treatment that can counteract this and improve water penetration is the application of a surfactant. Baby shampoo or an unscented shampoo w/o conditioners like White Rain is a chap surfactant. Use a hose end sprayer and apply 3-6 oz of shampoo per thousand sq feet and water regularly. See if that helps.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 7:57PM
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Alright, I will try it. I'll give an update in a few days. Thank you.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 8:43AM
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So I tried extra watering and Johnson's baby shampoo. The grass hasn't become worst but it's still brown in the spots from the picture. When I cut the grass, I rake it up now so the problem doesn't persist.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 10:24PM
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It's probably the seed. Scott's tall fescue is junk. I tried it once.

Spend a little extra money this fall on a better product.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 12:09PM
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What would you recommend?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 11:52AM
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Earlier in the spring was your grass nice and thick? Is it possible that you had poa annua that fills in nicely until things get hot, and then it dies off until next year?

You may want to consider waiting until the Fall, have your yard punched, add some organic matter as a top dress and put down some new seed appropriate for your location.

I wouldn't do anything before September at this point.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 7:17PM
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The areas that are brown were areas I patched in in the spring. The seeds sprouted and then they died off. But I'll wait the fall.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 4:07PM
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