Wednesday, April 6, 2011
When you look at your lawn and see a brown hay field of dead grass, it is sometimes difficult to determine what caused its demise. There are a host of reasons why your lawn may look this way, so let’s explore the possibilities.
It seems like every four to five years there is an extreme weather cycle where we suffer from great heat and drought stress. This is the most likely reason we are looking at dead grass patches in our lawns today. When the severe heat and drought last long enough many areas of the lawn will not come back; it is just plain, dead grass. However there is some hope that when cooler days and nights come back, along with some rainfall, you will find some of the “dead” grass comes “back to life” from summer dormancy. Kentucky bluegrass and Tall fescues seem to recover the best in these severe weather conditions.
After heat and drought, the next possibility is death from a lawn fungus. Grass under stress is more likely to be susceptible to fungus attacks. Suitable conditions need to be present for fungus to attack, the host disease and the proper temperatures and moisture. If your lawn was attacked by fungus, along with heat and drought stress, it is most likely dead. At this point it is worthless to try and control the fungus; it has already done its damage.
What about grubs? If you start to rake back your dead grass and it rolls up easily and you see grubs on the soil surface, you can apply Jonathan Green Grub Control. This product will be very successful provided the grubs are located on the soil surface. Grubs need a certain amount of moisture to reproduce their eggs, so this type of damage may turn up later in the fall season.
Chinch bugs could also have been running wild destroying complete lawn areas. They do this by chewing and sucking the juice from the tender crowns of grass plants. If you get down on your hands and knees you may be able to identify small chinch bugs crawling on the grass blades. Or, cut out both ends of a coffee can (keep the coffee!) and push it into the top inch of soil and fill it with water. If you have chinch bugs they will float to the water surface. Use Jonathan Green’s Lawn Insect Control to help to break the continuing reproductive cycle to reduce future populations and damage.
If your lawn is not completely brown the only living green plants left may be crabgrass and nut sedge. Everyone knows what crabgrass looks like. It thrives in hot, dry weather once lawn grasses go dormant. Many crabgrass controls fail to provide good control due to spring application timing, rainfall patterns and heat and drought stress. Once your lawn shuts down for the summer the crabgrass can thrive. Nutsedge pops up aggressively in the summer too. Even if you were still cutting your lawn, nut sedge can grow two to three inches a day, standing out like a sore thumb. You can apply some liquid weed controls labeled for crabgrass and nutsedge. Ask your local store for the best product for this. Be careful not to apply controls if temperatures are over 85 degrees, you may damage what good grass you still have.
Sometimes Mother Nature determines the fate of our lawns no matter how hard we try. When all else fails, apply some good quality Jonathan Green grass seed with proper soil preparation. Just like scraping your house before painting, be sure to rake out all dead grass and debris. Add any necessary soil amendments, which may include topsoil, peat moss, organic matter or pH adjustments like Mag-I-Cal and Jonathan Green’s New Seeding Fertilizer.Back