New Lawn Help

hopelesslawnSeptember 15, 2013

I have tried seeding a new lawn several times now, and each time run into the same issues. I use the Scotts Heat and Drought brand seeds.

1. When the lawn starts to grow, I also see something else growing with it. I am not sure if it is a weed or not. It is a tiny little plant with two leafs on it. Sort of look like a two blade airplane propeller. It does not grow as fast as the lawn and I can pluck it out of the ground easily. Should I be concern about it? Should I try to pluck all of them? See attach picture. It is mostly located in the center and the lower left corner of the picture.

2. Another vegetation that grows with the grass, is what appears to look like a strand of grass but is not. It is stiffer than grass and grows taller than grass. It's top turns into a a leaf that is a bit wider than a strand of grass. These appear mostly near the top of the photo I have attached

2. I had tried my best to kill all the weed before starting the new lawn, but weeds still tend to still leave. So it thrives when I start watering thew new lawn. How can I manage the weed now the the lawn is starting to grow?

4. Usually after a 4-6 weeks I notice the lawn starts turning brown. The grass itself would turn brown at the tip and work it's way down over the new few weeks and eventually encompass the whole grass. It does not matter if I start the lawn in early spring, summer, or early fall. it all ends up this way. I water the lawn twice a day (each time for about 5-10 min), once in the morning and once in the evening. Eventually the brown grass looks like it is burnt and looks grey. Am I watering too much / too less? What is causing it to turn brown?

5. There seems to be dead spots on my lawn. No matter much much grass seed I lay down in the area, or how much I water it, the area does not grow. Everything around it will grown but not this area. Same amount of sun is in the area as is with the rest of the lawn.

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

If you still have the bag, can you find the guaranteed analysis tag and list the seed types. That would be helpful in identifying your issue.

Is this area in full sun? If not the grass is going to really struggle. You need a shade type grass for shady areas.

Weeds come into a thin lawn more easily than a dense lawn. So you are correct in seeding to increase the density.

Weeds come into a moist soil more easily because they must have continual moisture to germinate.

Weeds come into a lawn mowed low more easily because they need sunlight on the new seedlings to grow.

Once your grass is up to 2 inches high, you should back off on watering frequency. Instead of watering a little every day, move toward watering a lot but only once every few days. I'm thinking you should move all the way to a full inch as measured by several cat food or tuna cans placed around the yard. Do that one time and wait for the grass to tell you it is drying out. As soon as you see spots where the color changes to slightly darker green or you see blades folding together, then immediately water a full inch again. As you do that the interval between watering will stretch out so that you will soon be watering only once a month. When the weather warms next spring, you will move to once every 3 weeks, then 3 weeks, and finally once a week in the hottest heat of summer. Every situation is slightly different, so watch your lawn. If it doesn't need a full inch every month, then back off on that to 3/4 or 1/2 inch. Whatever you do, don't get all the way back to watering every day. That is a bad idea for many reasons. One is you can get a disease that rots your roots and gives you what you have now. If you only water infrequently, that fungal disease is not likely to happen.

When your new grass is 5 inches high, mow it back to your mower's highest setting.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 1:04AM
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tiemco

"When your new grass is 5 inches high, mow it back to your mower's highest setting. "

This is incorrect. New grass should be cut when it reaches 3 inches, not 5. Cutting encourages thickening, tillering and establishment. At 5 inches new grass will lay down on itself, not something you want to happen.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 5:39AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Thanks tiemco!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 3:29PM
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hopelesslawn

The bags of seed contains:
50% w/w Seed (80% Kentucky blue grass), 20% Turf-type (perennial ryegrass), 48% w/w Limestone powder and 2% Zebra Grass seeding coating material

Guaranteed minimum Analysis:
Starch-g-poly (2 propenamide-co-2propenoic acid)
potassium salt.........1.76%
Maximum Moisture.....7.5%

During the summer months, the lawn is in the sun > 12hrs.
Around this time of year, it is more like 11hrs.

Is it safe to cut the lawn at 3" because the grass still looks thin. Can I step on it yet?

What should I do about those leafy weed (?). I tried plucking it (with my hands) today but found it impossible to pluck it without pulling out new grass as well.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 9:24PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Thanks for the additional information.

I would leave the leafy weeds alone until you have a little more sturdy grass. This is going to be 100% KBG, so any damage you might do later will recover quickly. Shouldn't be any damage, though.

I don't see the problem weeds I was expecting to see in your guaranteed analysis, so that's good.

As to your original weed question, there's no way now to know what it is. Wait until it matures. Preferably take a picture of it when it has a seed head on it. And preferably take that picture in the shade so we can see what we're looking at.

As to your original browning issue - I believe you are continuing to water like it was new seed long after the grass is up. Once you have 80% germination of the seed you can start to reduce the frequency and increase the duration of watering. That's what I was referring to in my earlier reply to you.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 9:56PM
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tiemco

Yes, it's safe to walk on 3 inch seedlings for mowing, but be careful when making turns with your mower as that action can uproot them. Set your mower height to 2 inches, and use the bag attachment.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:29AM
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hopelesslawn

Thanks for all the advice!!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:33PM
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ForsheeMS(Lexington, NC)

tiemco, I assume since you said it's safe to walk on 3 inch seedlings for mowing that you are referring to a push mower. What about a riding mower? I have 20,000 square feet of new seed on the ground which is a bit much to push. Is it going to be safe for a rider at 3 inches?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 9:10AM
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tiemco

Sod farms grow acres of grass, no way they are using push mowers. It should be fine, just be careful with the turns. Also mow when the grass/soil is dry, then water the next day.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 5:47PM
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ForsheeMS(Lexington, NC)

Thank you sir!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:11PM
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hopelesslawn

Just to followup with my situation.

After the long winter, some of the grass did not make it. The grass had remain under a layer of snow the whole winter!

As the weather go warmer, and along came the spring showers I can see some of the grass grow. As the weather go warmer, I notice the grass started to yellow even though I was watering 1 once a week for 30 - 45min. And now the grass looks like &^%&

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 11:09PM
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hopelesslawn

more picture

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 11:13PM
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hopelesslawn

Lot of dead grass

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 11:15PM
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hopelesslawn

This used to be all green back in the fall when it first all started to grow.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 11:17PM
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hopelesslawn

I also tend to have dead areas where grass will absolutely not grow like some of the dark areas below. What can cause this?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 11:19PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Thank you for the update, and I'm sorry it's not looking so great. I assume you went with KBG. The good news is that KBG will repair itself once we figure out what the cause is.

What is your watering schedule? How often so you water and for how long? Do you water by hand or with a sprinkler? I'm going to predict this is a watering issue.

Have you fertilized? What did you use and when?

Have you used any herbicide or insecticide? If yes, then what and when?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 2:17PM
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morpheuspa

Also, how's rainfall in your locale? I ask because it's a bad year here in PA for lawns as it's raining moderate amounts and very, very often.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 2:44PM
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hopelesslawn

It was a wet spring so I did not have to water much.

Through May - July, if it rained i did not water for the week, otherwise I water once a week for about 30-45min.
Watered at 6:00pm, using a sprinkler (not the automatic timed ones).
The last week, I have been watering with a hose to concentrate on the bad areas.

Have not fertilized cause it tends to burn the lawn.
No herbicide or insecticide used.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 8:47PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Good info. Thanks. How often have you been hose watering?

When it rains, does water tend to pool up in any of these spots? It looks to me like too much water, a.k.a. prolonged soggy soil at some time in the past.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:47PM
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hopelesslawn

No water does not pool in the area.

I have been watering it with a hose the pass week. Using the "Flat" setting on the hose to spray it several times over and then moving to the next area. Reach the last patch of grass and start over again for 1 more cycle.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:45PM
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hopelesslawn

Anybody else have any suggestions as to what is causing my grass to die out like this?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:32AM
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morpheuspa

I tend to think of this, so take it with a grain of salt. But do you have a soil test?

It doesn't seem like other people think it's disease or insect damage (don't ask me, I'm terrible at problem ID), so that's the only avenue left I can think of.

However, that both does and does not look like a resource problem. It's too patchy, but even the "good" areas don't look great.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 1:25PM
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hopelesslawn

Yeah. I agree the good area doesn't look great. Everything started out so nicely last fall. A lot of growth everywhere. It started to yellow a bit last year, and has continue this year. It looks like everything is dying even though I continue to water it.

One of the other users above mentioned that KBG will repair it self but I see no sign of this at all. I can see portions of the lawn already dead. It looks white and all shrivel up.

AHHHH! This is so frustrating.!!!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:13PM
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yardtractor1

It's obvious that the turf is unhealthy for some reason, but the usual suspects don't appear to be obvious. A soil test may or may not identify the problem, but if it doesn't, it will help eliminate the possibilities. Do you know what is below the surface? What your soil profile is? What is it when you dig a hole-sand, clay, stones etc.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 7:56AM
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hopelesslawn

No I don't know anything about the soil. I don't think it is a soil problem because the rest of the lawn where I had not seeded a portion of new lawn is ok (although it is not has thick and lush as I would like it). It does not have the same issue of the lawn just dying like this.

It think it might be because when seeded this portion of lawn, I might have used too many seeds. I used 2x - 3x more then suggested hoping I would get a nice think lawn and even if some dies, I would have a lot left. I think overseeding it cause the grass to fight for resources. I notice the grass never developed full blades of leaf (?) and were always thin.

Does anybody know if this is what happens if you use too much grass seed?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 11:55PM
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morpheuspa

>>Does anybody know if this is what happens if you use too much grass seed?

It leaves the grass wide open to diseases, weaker growth, and severe thinning out.

However, this seems too severe for that. Whole sections up and died, as opposed to thinned out to a more normal grass density.

That can certainly happen if a disease runs rampant on young, over-populated grass, but somebody should be able to identify the disease. So far nobody's chimed in.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 1:17PM
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yardtractor1

Have you tried getting it more sunlight?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 1:54PM
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hopelesslawn

>> Have you tried getting it more sunlight

The area gets at least 8hr of sun already

>> That can certainly happen if a disease runs rampant on young, over-populated grass, but somebody should be able to identify the disease. So far nobody's chimed in.

If it is disease how come this this only happens to a young lawn? Does seem like it matter where I start portion of new lawn the same results occur. For example, my pictures posted on Jul 20, 14 at 23:17 and Jul 20, 14 at 23:19 are separated by a 10' by a stone patio yet the same results.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:06PM
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morpheuspa

>>If it is disease how come this this only happens to a young lawn?

Utterly. Clueless. Young or old, all grasses are susceptible to the same diseases. Although only sprouts will get damp off fungus...but that can't be damp off. By the time you call it grass, it's well past that stage.

I think I'd get the soil test through Logan to see what you're working with. It could be a severely imbalanced soil--but like I said, that feels like a long shot. I'm still thinking disease or insect damage.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:03PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I agree the soil test is a long shot, and I agree that it could hold the answer for you. I'm not big on soil testing except when there is a completely unexplained spot where nothing grows.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:31PM
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hopelesslawn

So the grass continues to die, even though I water with a hose to concentrate the water. Had a couple of days of down pour but still now help.

Found a few holes dug up by a skunk in the lawn near the windows area in the previous above posted pictures. I had noticed these exact same holes last fall after I seeded the area as well. This is the first time I have noticed it this year.

So maybe it is a grub problem since skunks like to eat grubs.

Any suggestions for getting rid of grubs and skunks?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:43AM
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hopelesslawn

Does anybody know if this looks like damage cause by chinch bugs?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:14PM
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