Bermuda scalped bad in summer heat!

pbguy420July 14, 2014

So I'm away from home for two weeks and come home to my beautiful Bermuda I recently seeded June 1st being scalped... I told my wife to mow 2x weekly but the crazy amounts of rain kept her from it, so apparently she let it get near 6 inch tall and then cut it down to my rotarys lowest setting! At LEAST she bagged the clippings and didn't smother it!

I'm not super worried because I hear of this a lot on here and of Bermudas amazing resiliency... I was due for my first fertilization so my question is should I still go with high nitrogen fert like 39-0-0 or something more balanced while it's suffering a bit?

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Do you have the Bermuda Bible? I believe it gives you a mowing height for mid summer which is slightly higher than the rest of the year...but be sure to check that.

If you want to fertilize with something you can be sure will not hurt the grass, use an organic for this first one. Then when the grass looks like grass again, you can use the high N fertilizer. Organic and chemical ferts do not interact so you can apply one right after the other if you want to.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:41PM
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I do and I read it religiously haha, it just doesn't really give tips for screwups. I wasn't planning on having her mow at the lowest level, it was set that way because before I left I scalped the other half of the yard. (Centipede) in preparation for bermuda overseeding.

I'll go your route organic first then high nitrogen.... Advice on organic- will alfalfa or milorganite work equally well?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 4:28PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Either one is fine. Milo has iron added so it has that going for it.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 4:32PM
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Ok put down about 1.5 bags of milorganite on the 4-5k sq ft area that was scalped. They milorganite bag didn't have my specific drop spreader setting listed, it's a Scott's classic drop. Ended up using my rotary hand spreader because I was frustrated with finding the proper setting. On my drop spreader it was dumping it like mad!

I watered it in for about 45 min to an hour while I was "pre-leveling" and pulling Dallisgrass in other areas. Any estimate on how long it'll take to green back up? I was hoping to level with sand before it's too late in the growing season. It may be a bit early for this young grass but it was growing explosively- 3 inch per week in most of the yard, certain areas have only grown to 2 inch since being seeded but 80-90 percent was growing at the rapid...

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 10:32PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Too bad you weren't ready to level it during this scalp. Have you found the GW topics on leveling bermuda?

It should start to green up in a week. What happened is the grass had grown tall stalks from which the blades of grass grow. You chopped off the stalks so it has to develop new nodes for new blades.

When you mow low those stalks start to grow horizontally and nodes form very close together. Then only the blades of grass grow upward.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:36AM
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No, I wasn't ready to level first priority is getting bermuda established over my centipede. Before I started the yard was 50 percent centipede 50 percent sand. The builders had dropped seed the day before a tropical storm and it came in all messed up. Over the three years I've lived here the centipede rooted in some places and with dogs and erosion most of sand areas were anywhere from 2-8 inches below the rest. I decided a full leveling right now wouldn't be as effective until I had a full lawn of grass for erosion control. In addition I wanted all bermuda pre leveling so leveling went quicker.

What I did in the meantime was a rough level with dirt/Sand from the woods behind my house (probably explains my crabgrass issue, but could also explain my super fast growth rates and it's free.) and get the seed started. Believe it or not my rough level is pretty dang good. My mower doesn't bottom out anywhere on the low setting and it's already the best lawn in the neighborhood. I figured this is easier on the wallet because I'll need much less sand and I'll also have better soil composition, using a good clay/dirt/sand mix from the woods with lots of OM in it to fill deep holes rather than just sand. I've probably hand trucked near 10 yards of material, lots of work but cheap. It's $36 a yard out here for soil!!! Don't worry I've kept proper grade for drainage with all that material, and stayed below my concrete drive and patios as well.

I've seen those threads and took your advice per scalping super short to use less sand, thus the reason I chose this approach.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 8:10AM
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