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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:55 pm
Posts: 1
Thank you for your time. I moved into my newly built house in December of 2012. In the spring, I planted KY31 grass. I fertilized with 19-19-19, and I also put lime on my yard. I have a great stand of grass with minimal bare spots.

My problem is: the quality of my grass is not very good. I mean, it looks like normal grass, but it doesn't look my neighbors yard or many other yards in my neighborhood. They have thin blades and mine are wide. Additionally, I have many weeds in my yard. (not sure what kind of weeds, but I know it's not supposed to be there)

What should I do this fall to help my lawn? I thought about using Scotts Winter-guard Fertilizer. Is this a good choice? Should I also plant more seed?....more lime?

What about aerating my yard. Is that recommended?

I live in Central Kentucky.

Thank you.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:09 pm
Posts: 1795
Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
This is an organic gardening site, so you'll never hear us recommending that you put toxic products from Scott on your yard.

Welcome to the world of healthy yards and healthy soil!

Please post a couple of photos of your yard, give us a general view of the area so we can see what all is planted there, and then take a closer photo of a patch of lawn with the weeds you're worried about. This forum willl allow you to upload small photos, but if they won't go, save them someplace like Flickr or Photobucket and post a link to them and we can take a look at the yard.

Keeping up with the neighbors is not generally a good gardening practice if they use commercial chemical fertilizer to keep a mono-culture of turfgrass in their yards. Weeds aren't the kiss of death to a healthy lawn, and many years ago, before the chemical companies created products and decided they had to create a need for their products, a standard American lawn was usually a mix of grasses and clover (which is a great nitrogen fixer in a lawn context).

Welcome to the Dirt Doctor site - take time reading in our forums, and visit the Library of Organic Information for specific answers. You'll find that products like corn gluten meal and dry molasses are much better for fertilizing the lawn and gardens at your new home than the chemicals you mentioned above. If your soil is healthy, your lawn and garden will be healthy.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:35 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm
Posts: 2884
Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
Your main problem is you used Kentucky 31 type of fescue. People have been hybriding fescues for decades to get away from that appearance you don't like. Your only route out is to get rid of what you have with a full renovation. You will never get the fine bladed appearance that your neighbors have unless you are using the same, or similar varieties of grass.

If you have full sun, my favorite type of "cool season" grass is Kentucky bluegrass. There are a hundred different varieties of that, too. Many people will find three varieties they like for the color and texture and then mix the seed before spreading.

For shady areas you'll need a turf type tall fescue. Again, there are lots of varieties of that. You might have to check with your local county agriculture agent for more information about which varieties work in your area.

But if you want to have the best looking KY31 lawn, then...

Water deeply and infrequently. Deeply means a full inch all at one time. Infrequently means monthly this time of year and moving to weekly by the time the temps rise into the 90s. Deep watering helps develop deeper roots which are much less susceptible to heat stress in the summer. Infrequent watering keeps the weeds out. It allows the soil to completely dry out between drenchings. Most weed seeds need continual water for several days to sprout.

Mulch mow at your mower's highest setting (for KY31). Do this every week unless you have a week of temps higher than 95. If you get a hot week or two, then don't mow at all. Long grass really makes it through the heat better than short grass.

Fertilize with organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer works by feeding the soil microbes which then feed the plants. Chemical fertilizers are salts and work by forcing nutrients into the roots by chemical "pressures." Chemicals essentially deplete the soil microbes and provide no nutrition to them. Over time your soil becomes "old" and unhealthy for the plants. Then you will have to add more and more chemicals to get any effect. Then you will overdose and start killing the lawn. Been there and done all that myself. Once I changed to organic, my lawn has done nothing but improve. It really does work and will ultimately give you a lawn that needs less attention due to insects and disease. I live considerably further south than you so I start much earlier. For your area I would not fertilize with anything until Memorial Day. Then use organic again on 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. The application rate is 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet for just about all the organic products.

You should only lime your soil if you have a reliable soil test that tells you which kind of lime (there are only two but they are different), and how much to apply. The best soil tests in the country come from Logan Labs in Ohio. Their $20 basic test is much better than any battery of university tests costing up to $100.

David Hall
Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum

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