Dead Thick Sod Spots, how to reseed?

chadsteamMay 23, 2008

My lawn is covered in dinner plate size dead spots. It was sodded with KGB (Russian version of KBG) 2 years ago. When I am cleaning out the dead grass/thatch to reseed, should I be removing everything down to the topsoil layer below the sod layer? The sod is about an inch thick...looks like mostly roots. Or just the loose dead grass/thatch on top?

I can remove everything and fill in the holes with topsoil and reseed, or I can leave it and cover it with a much thinner layer of topsoil and reseed and let the roots/thatch decompose below. Which option is better?

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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

I think you just simply mow low to get rid of dead grass and let KBG fill in. Have you fertilized it yet?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:30PM
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You don't grow KGB, KGB grow you.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:51PM
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Where in CO are you? Do you have any watering restrictions?

If you have a lot of thatch and roots in the top inch, you may be watering too often or too shallowly when you water. Most people on this forum advocate watering once a week and supplying an inch at a time. In the intermountain west, the arid climate and winds may make that impossible and you may need to water twice a week. But I would not water more often than that.

Dinner plate sized holes should fill in by themselves, or you could cut plugs (maybe an inch or two across) from healthy areas of the lawn and plant them in the middle to speed the process.

If you want to seed, it will be difficult to seed now and keep the grass alive during the summer, especially if you have any watering restrictions. I'm not sure how much time you have between the summer heat stopping and snow starting, but here, there's not much time, so a dormant seeding approach often works best. When you dormant seed, you put the seed down after it's too late for it to germinate and it germinates in the spring with the moisture provided by nature (melting snow, etc). It will usually germinate much sooner with dormant seeding than if you try to time it yourself, and you don't need to water it using this approach. That gives it a chance to get established well enough before the summer heat hits.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 12:26AM
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I live in Denver. Currently we are only restricted to 3 days a I've been taking advantage of the restriction by watering mon, wed, fri at sunrise and after sunset.

So, it sounds like I'm watering too often and for too short a time. Last summer I applied Revive (for water retention) and cut back to less than 3 days a week, but the yard went brown and we lost some patches. Should I try two days a week for a longer period of time?

One more question, are there any suggestions for preparing patches where our female lab urinates to dilute the area so it grows back?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 1:27AM
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Revive is ok, but it's not a miracle cure. What it does is to help the water penetrate the soil and help the soil retain the water.

I think your main problem is that you are watering too much. If you can only water Mon, Wed, Fri, start by watering those days, but only once. If you have an in ground system with timers, start watering just after midnight, water as long as you can without having water run off. Repeat the cycle if your sprinkler system allows it.

After a few weeks of this approach, you should be able to switch to a Monday and Friday schedule, skipping the Wednesday watering.

I let the grass die where the dog kills it, but I've heard that sugar will dilute the nitrogen and help those spots.

Some of us in the intermountain west have started switching to native grasses to reduce water use. If you want some information on that approach, let me know.

Are you aware of the Rocky Mountain Gardening forum?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 2:12AM
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Thanks for notifying me of the Rocky Mountain Gardening forum. I have other questions regarding our flower and vegetable garden that I'll post there.

To clarify, we are restricted to 3 days a week. I have chosen Mon, Wed, Fri but it doesn't have to be those days. Also, what do you mean by you let the "dog grass" die? Are you simply saying that you don't do anything with it? I will try the suger water.

As I continue to read through this lawn care forum, I've been learning so much. I have another question, my lawn feels very spongy as I walk across it. Is this a problem, and how do I firm it up?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 11:46AM
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"Are you simply saying that you don't do anything with it? "

That's right. I turn a blind eye to those spots. I'm planning on letting sheep fescue take over the back lawn so I don't have to mow often (hate dodging the "land mines" left around the lawn).

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 6:53PM
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So I connected the dots and have concluded that the dinner plate size dead spots are a result of your female lab urinating on them.

My wife just adopted a 10 week female rottweiler/labrador mixed advertised as a lab/german shepherd mix. Lucky me (she is so sweet/calm/socialized/etc)! I have faced this problem in the past, and apparently will face it again!

I have read that sugar will help stimulate the bacteria that will digest the excess urea from the dog pee pee and allow grass to regrow. With or without the sugar, the area usally comes back (if you have KGB and KBG) quickly and vigorously. These dead spots eventually turn into growth spots as the KBG (or KGB) fills in.

With my last dog I eventually converted to an organic lawn care approach and noted that the dogspots would not burn out but green up considerably. As the organic program progressed the greenup in these areas became less noticeable.

With our new pup, we are teaching her to use the clearing between the lawn and the forest for her "do your business" area.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 11:12PM
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