Yellow Bermuda

ahsalloum(7)August 19, 2014

Hey guys, I need some help with my grass. I bought a new home and had new bermuda sod installed. I fertilized with a starter fertilizer and it grew great. I had the best grass in my neighborhood. Since then, my grass has gotten worse and worse. I hired a lawn service to take care of my weeds and fertilize it accordingly, but they were horrible and my grass got worse with them. I sinced cancelled them. My issue now is that my grass is very yellow on the base and green at the tip. I had kept my grass pretty long because I was scared to cut it too short and expose the yellow base. Well, I don't know if leaving it too long all spring and most of summer kept it from greening at the base, but it is yellow. I have been cutting it shorter and shorter, so I can expose the yellow base in hopes to let it have some sun and turn green. Doesn't look to be working. I have fertilized with nitrogen numerous times this spring and summer and recently threw down some 13-13-13 all purpose fertilizer. Now my grass is about 1.5-2 inches in length and completely yellow. Help! I am embarrassed and hope the neighbors don't hang me my the neck for my grass looking like it is dead winter. What do I need to do to get it green throughout? I am watering twice a week.

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Bermuda won't be green from tip to ground. Only the top third or so. Is it yellow after you cut it and then it greens up a little each day? That would be cutting off to much at once. It could turn yellow if you drown it but doesn't sound like that is the case.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 5:48PM
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Thanks for your response. This is the first time I have cut it this low, so i am sure it will green up as it grows, but before I had to keep it longer than 4 inches to be green enough to look good. 5 inches of grass sucks to walk on or play on. It is too high and my neighbors grass is cut lower and theirs are green. I am confused on what to do. Grow it twice as longer than everyone else and have to cut it twice a week to keep it looking clean and manicured or leave it short and have yellow grass. I can't imagine I have to keep it at 4 to 5 inches for it to be green.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 6:33PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Oh my! You're going the wrong way with your mowing. This is what hybrid bermuda is supposed to look like...

Note that he's standing "on the grass" rather than "in the grass."

Bermuda requires a lot of work. It needs to be mowed 2x per week at a low height, watered deeply once per week, and fertilized heavily once per month. When you mow bermuda low like that, it takes on a very dense, horizontal growth habit. When you mow it higher than 2 inches it starts to get thin and weedy.

Google "bermuda bible" and go to the first link. Download the text or bookmark it and memorize it. It was written by a retired sod farmer who is now a PGA greenskeeper. He knows what he's talking about.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:03PM
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I hear you. I have what I have now and want to fix it. I have cut it to about 2 inches and it is all yellow. How do I get it more dense and green? I have recently thrown down 13-13-13 and some 26-0-2 on the front lawn. Neither seems to be working. Any suggestions on how to fix it now that it is yellow and at the right height?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:01PM
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Questions that need to be answered first?
How often are you mowing?
Watering schedule? How much water per week?
Do you have a full sun yard? 8+ hours?
FYI... Most of my lawns receives 6 to 8 hours and grows slower (recovers slower) and Is thinner than the corner of my yard that receives about 10 hours.

Now... This is how I would fix it if I were to take over your yard. GET a soil test. Mow your lawn to the lowest notch you can mow without bottoming out (to the dirt) and BAG the clippings. I'm ONLY recommending this since you already have a yellow lawn (I wouldn't scalp so late in the season). Water 1 - 1.5 inches per week all at once. Just make sure you don't have any runoff. You might want to break this up into 2 waterings per week until it all greens up. Mowing is KEY. Start mowing at 1 to 2 notches higher than when you scalped once you start seeing green every 3 days.
It could take 2 to 3 weeks for your lawn to recover depending on how much sun your lawn receives.

Here's a pic of my lawn scalped to 7/16" and recovered in 3 weeks back in May (day temps 80 -85)

I'm not sure if there's a quicker way.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:43PM
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Today @ 1.25"

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:48PM
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Almost forgot, the lower, the denser. 2"+, you will just not get it as dense.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:54PM
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So I get 8 hours or more on my front yard. Backyard gets just under 8 hours. I water atleast twice a week for a good while. I will water the front for about 30-45 mins and side and back for about 20 mins each section. I know I have messed up my yard by leaving it so long and letting thaf dumb lawn service fertilize my lawn. I figured I needed to start over to get some improvements, so that is why I cut the lawn to the second lowest setting on mower. Your lawn looks great and I would love to have your lawn, but do you think it is too risky to scalp this late? Don't mind trying that if it will ultimately give me a lawn like yours.

Did you fertilize once you scalped it? Or did you just scalp it and let it go with just watering as I should?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:51PM
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Thank you :).. mowing that low is risky, thats why i recommend you keep it well watered especially if it is above 90 degrees, and i only recommended it because you said your lawn was mostly yellow anyways.. but you can have a lawn like mine (even better) but I'm afraid it might have to wait til next season. Its just getting late in the season, but you can still get it to green up nicely. I was mowing every other day just to keep it at 1". Now i mow every 3rd day so i had to raise my height just a notch (~1.25"). Cant emphasize how important mowing is. Do you have a reel? I do. Gives it a much cleaner cut. Also notice how i used sand to level my yard.
Just make sure you are not under watering, it takes my sprinkler system 5 hours to apply 1". I water deeply once a week (1"). You can use tuna cans to see how long it takes you to put 1 inch of water onto ur lawn.
I Have Been Fertilizing Every 30 days, since. I fertilized right after scalping.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:18AM
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I do have a reel mower and will start to use it again. I don't have a sprinkler system, but might have to install one to be able to keep up. Mowing every couple of days will be exhausting. So to get this straight, scalp it and water accordingly. Then increase height two notches higher and cut every 3 days? Or should I cut it on level one for a couple of weeks?

Guess I need to do a soil test to see what fertilizer I need.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:33AM
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Everything I have learned was from this site and others, find the Bermuda Bible and memorize it. This is my second season with Bermuda.

My lawn is tiny 2k sqft and only takes me 15 mins to mow with a powered reel. 30 mins with a push but I don't mind it lol. I understand that it can be exhausting but that's what it takes to keep it looking dense and green. If you can only mow once a week, I wouldn't fertilize as often, and you would have to keep it on the higher side, hence shaggy look and not as dense.

level 1 only ONCE, then raise it and resume mowing at that height. If you keep mowing at the lowest notch, you still will be cutting off all the green leaf.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:58AM
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I don't mind getting exhausted. A nice lawn is worth it. I appreciate all your advice and look forward in scalping it tomorrow.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:15AM
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That's why we're all here for! Just remember, you will probably not have the results you are looking for depending on how long the warm weather sticks, Bermuda slows down a lot with cooler weather. Next year however you can achieve even a better looking turf than mine. Be patient.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 11:11AM
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Scalped the front yard yesterday morning. Bought a soil tester from the depot. Have you ever used one of those electronic soil testers with the meter design? Hoping it is accurate. Going to test my soil tonight.

Also, do you think I need to seed to dense up my lawn, or will my lawn dense up on its own?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 9:39AM
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To be honest, I'm not an expert on soil test and only heard those aren't very accurate. Maybe others can chime in. I sent my soil sample to Logan labs for 20 bucks, the results show you what you need. I was mainly concerned on my spoil ph and organic matter. You can post your results on here and others will help you dissect your results.

Electronic soil testers will give you an idea of where your soil ph might be. As long as it is not terribly high or low, you should be ok. Again, I'm just started carrying for Bermuda

as for overseeding, since you have a hybrid type, I wouldn't seed it, especially with Bermuda seed sold at home depot or Lowes (it is a lot more courser than hibrid) Almost Every Bermuda expert would say the same thing. I have seen pictures of a guy seeding his tifway with Yukon Bermuda (an improved variety only found online) and his lawn looks amazing. My yard also had Yukon in it (sodded with tif) and I can't notice the difference. Even if you decide to seed, it's getting very late to do so.. If you have plenty of sun, it will dense up as long as you do what I said, just be patient and remember it could be until next season for that.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:46PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

iriasj must be explaining it better than I am, but if you read the Bermuda Bible, you won't be asking many questions here.

Home soil test kits are a waste of money. Spend $25 at Logan Labs if you get serious about it. Post your test results here and morpheusPA can help you interpret it for free. As someone else mentioned, for $25 you get a free $250 soils consultation.

As I mentioned and as you have come to realize from the dialog here, bermuda is a lot of work.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 2:06PM
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