Dead lawns, be gone! But are they dead?

Updated Apr 1, 2020


If your customer’s front lawn looked as dead as a doornail last fall, that doesn’t make it so. There is still a decent chance that with a double dose of water and a dollop of lovin’, the deadest-looking lawn can dramatically rise from the dead this spring.

Definitely so, says Sioux City’s Sid Mosher, co-owner of Mosher Landscaping, a longtime family lawn care business.

“There’s actually a lot of things you can do,” Mosher says. “You have to determine whether your lawn is actually dead or if it is just dormant. If it looked dead last summer, it doesn’t necessarily mean it was dead. So, you have to determine whether you have dead grass or live grass.”

The best way, he says, is to look at the bottom of a blade of grass. If the crown where it enters the soil is still green, the grass is alive but dormant. If the crown is brown, then you have to replace the grass with either seed or sod, he noted.

“The best thing to do in the spring is to just get on a normal watering schedule,” Mosher says, noting the earlier you do this in the spring, the better. “Do that for a couple of weeks and make sure your yard has initially rebounded and come to life in the spring.”

Once the lawn starts to rebound, he suggested homeowners go with a low-nitrogen fertilizer. A high-nitrogen fertilizer on a stressed lawn is going to do more damage than good, he said. The fertilizer is typically applied through a broadcast spreader.

“Once you see that your lawn has started to rebound, make sure that you get all the thatch picked up,” Mosher says. “Power raking or manual raking will get rid of that thatch, the dead organic material that‘s stuck at the base of your grass. You want to get that up and create more oxygen and water to get to your roots. You can also use an aerator to do the same thing. A lot of times, it’s best to do the two in conjunction with each other.”

Then it is just a matter of maintaining the water.

Read the full article here.

By John Quinlan


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