Need a Plan of Action

Discuss how to and whether you should renovate your lawn
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c0ryh
Posts: 2
Joined: June 30th, 2021, 11:34 pm
Location: Northern, CA.
Grass Type: I don't know
Lawn Size: Not Specified
Level: Not Specified

Need a Plan of Action

Post by c0ryh » July 1st, 2021, 1:09 pm

Hi,

We bought our first house almost three years ago. The lawns have slowly started to yellow and look really bad over time. I live in Auburn California and right now it’s consistently mid to high 90s. I do not know what type of grass it is. I completed an at home test to confirm the soil has clay in it. Besides that, I have not sent soil in to be tested. I never added any type of fertilizer until about two months ago, I added Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed. I was told this was a bad idea and am now open to all organic recommendations. I recently changed my water scheduling to twice a week where I apply one inch of water first thing in the morning. This seems to have helped the grass turn green but not fill in the blanks and yellow areas you see in the photos below.


I really don't want to tear out the grass, add soil, and reseed. What I really need is help diagnosing the issue and coming up with a plan of action to bring the lawn back to it’s glory. Considering it’s hot out, I’m not sure when to start (wait to fall, etc.) and what my realistic expectations should be. I don’t mind if it takes a few seasons to rejuvenate the lawn but I don’t know where to start. A step by step plan would be amazing and very much appreciated.

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bpgreen
Posts: 3732
Joined: January 3rd, 2009, 2:28 am
Location: Utah (Wasatch Front)
Grass Type: Western, Streambank, Crested wheatgrass in front (with blue grama added in the heckstrips), sheep fescue in back; strawberry clovetr in both
Lawn Size: 3000-5000
Level: Experienced

Re: Need a Plan of Action

Post by bpgreen » July 2nd, 2021, 2:23 am

California is a *really* big state. Northern doesn't tell us enough. At least give us a zip code.

c0ryh
Posts: 2
Joined: June 30th, 2021, 11:34 pm
Location: Northern, CA.
Grass Type: I don't know
Lawn Size: Not Specified
Level: Not Specified

Re: Need a Plan of Action

Post by c0ryh » July 2nd, 2021, 8:02 am

bpgreen wrote:
July 2nd, 2021, 2:23 am
California is a *really* big state. Northern doesn't tell us enough. At least give us a zip code.
Auburn California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. 45 minutes east of Sacramento.

bpgreen
Posts: 3732
Joined: January 3rd, 2009, 2:28 am
Location: Utah (Wasatch Front)
Grass Type: Western, Streambank, Crested wheatgrass in front (with blue grama added in the heckstrips), sheep fescue in back; strawberry clovetr in both
Lawn Size: 3000-5000
Level: Experienced

Re: Need a Plan of Action

Post by bpgreen » July 3rd, 2021, 12:15 am

c0ryh wrote:
July 2nd, 2021, 8:02 am
bpgreen wrote:
July 2nd, 2021, 2:23 am
California is a *really* big state. Northern doesn't tell us enough. At least give us a zip code.
Auburn California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. 45 minutes east of Sacramento.
I just read your original post and you said Auburn in it. I missed that because I tend to look for that in the profile. My apologies.

I did a little googling and you're in an area where you could have just about any grass in your lawn. Before we can help very much, we'll need to know what kind of grass you have. Some grasses do best when they're mowed short and fertilized heavily even in the heat of summer, some do best when they're mowed long and fertilized only when it's cool, etc.

I can't tell from the pictures what kind of grass you have. If you could pull some grass out and take a closeup, maybe against a white background like a piece of paper, that would help. If you have more than one type of grass, try to get pictures of each type. If you can't tell if there are different types of grass, just try to get a representative sample.

I'm not great at grass id, so I can't remember what's important to include in the picture.

The type of grass you have is going to dictate what you do, and when you do it.

The next most important step (maybe the most important step) is to get a soil test from Logan labs and have it interpreted here. Read up on how to do it in the soil forum.

Unless you're looking for an elite lawn, there's no reason to kill the existing lawn and start from scratch. Depending on the type of grass you have, you may be able to get it to fill in using proper maintenance, or you may need to overseed.

bpgreen
Posts: 3732
Joined: January 3rd, 2009, 2:28 am
Location: Utah (Wasatch Front)
Grass Type: Western, Streambank, Crested wheatgrass in front (with blue grama added in the heckstrips), sheep fescue in back; strawberry clovetr in both
Lawn Size: 3000-5000
Level: Experienced

Re: Need a Plan of Action

Post by bpgreen » July 3rd, 2021, 12:30 am

I forgot to reply to your question about fertilizers.

The main reason weed and feed products are not recommended here isn't that they're not organic, but that it's more effective to fertilize first then, when the fertilizer has the weeds getting gangbusters, hitting with a weed killer is much more effective.

You don't *need* to use organic fertilizers. There's a string preference for them here for a variety of reasons, but when I had my soil test analyzed, one of the recommendations was to get a balanced fertilizer (pretty much by definition a chemical fertilizer).

Milorganite is a pretty popular option and is widely available (although I haven't seen it in Utah recently). You can also spead pretty much any grain from a feed store, used coffee grounds from Starbucks (or any restaurant, coffee shop, etc). If you brew your own beer (or if there's a brewery nearby), spent grains are great and free.

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