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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:16 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:53 am
Posts: 1
This summer, after a Spring of many golphers or moles in my backyard, i was madly watering in the heat and my backyard began to wilt and die and spread. I was too busy tp tackle it. The upshot is that I went to the feed and seed and bought a fungicide and put it on my lawn. I have lost about 60% of my St. Augustine lawn, it is brown. I had tried to go organic, but have reverted to chemicals. i recently put on Scott's winterizer. I really dont know where to go from here to bring back my lawn. So, what should I do now? Pour cement??? :oops: :oops:

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:01 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:39 pm
Posts: 71
Location: Dallas, TX
snerney54 wrote:
i recently put on Scott's winterizer.

Oh boy, I've been there. You've just set yourself up for some very healthy weeds.

If you are in DFW then you've missed your best window to plant new sod.

My suggestions:
Let the soil dry out between waterings at least an inch down. In DFW, I have to run my system only once or twice from Oct through May. I dig my finger down and see if its moist during the dormant season and during the active season I also observe the color and folding action of the leaves. I'm looking to see if the leaves hold a tight vertical fold beyond the hottest part of the day.

Apply 10lbs/1000sqft of regular corn meal every 6-8 weeks through spring. Spot treat trouble spots by spraying milk.

At the end of March apply a 1/2" of organic top dressing compost to the lawn.

In the spring, let any competing Bermuda blend in but hand pull like crazy the crabgrass, Dallis grass and other weeds before they can drop seeds.

Mow as low as possible to encourage Bermuda and SA to spread to bare spots until full coverage, then mow as high as possible to encourage the SA to dominate again.

Get off the chemicals immediately, a half-committed approach will hurt you. Good luck!

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:25 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm
Posts: 2884
Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
I'm going to disagree somewhat with EAnton and you can decide what to do.

St Aug sod can be put down any day of the year. I've put dormant pieces of grass down and been very happy. They remain dormant longer than the rest of the lawn because they are not rooted in the warm soil, but they will get there.

EAnton gave some great hints for recognizing signs of drought stress in St Aug. Carefully reread those. As soon as you see signs of drought in St Aug, water immediately but water for a longer time than you watered previously. Then remember to watch the grass next week to see if it is responding to the deeper watering. The idea is to develop deeper roots which can pull moisture up from deeper in the soil.

1/2 inch of compost is too much. That amounts to 2 cubic yards per 1,000 square feet. You are almost guaranteed to smother the lawn with that much compost. In fact using too much compost is one reason so many people have tried the organic approach and given up on it. Compost is frighteningly expensive ($70 per 1,000 square feet, delivered). Then if you are overusing it ($140 per 1,000 square feet) and then killing the lawn, well, this approach convinces people that organics are too expensive and don't work.

Reset your mower to 4 inches and weld it in place. There is never a reason to lower your mower. Mowing low may or may not encourage the spread of St Aug. I have never lowered mine, and it spreads about 10 feet per year. What you can to do encourage spreading is (1) to water more than 1 inch at a time and (2) to over fertilize (20 pounds of alfalfa or soy per 1,000 square feet every month). Tall grass resists weeds much better than short grass. However, real weed control comes from proper watering.

In addition to all that, you have to address the fungus. Ordinary corn meal is the solution. Ordinary corn meal is what got me into organic lawn care. I had tried all the chemicals and my lawn was still dying. Every spring my wife would toss garden clippings onto the grass and every spring the grass would die under her clippings. The problem is air circulation. Once the fungus starts it is there from now on until you kill it out. Ordinary corn meal is how you do that. Why does it work? Because corn meal encourages the population increase of a certain fungus, Trichoderma (try ko DER ma or trick oh DER ma). The Trichoderma is a predatory fungus that kills other fungi including most turf diseases. The application rate is 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet, minimum. I would apply twice 3-weeks apart and reapply as EAnton suggests. Remember this is in addition to the fertilizer schedule I suggested above. Corn meal is an organic fertilizer, but you are not using it for that. At 10 pounds per 1,000 the grass will starve and thin out.

David Hall
Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum

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