Please help save my lawn

Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Centipede, Bahia, Paspalum, etc
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Joined: May 27th, 2019, 6:19 pm
Location: San Dimas
Grass Type: Possibly Tall Fescue
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Please help save my lawn

Post by Solisesc » May 27th, 2019, 6:30 pm

Hi guys,

I'm a total newbie and new home owner and I would really, really appreciate your suggestions. My house is in San Dimas, California. It has 2 front lawns of about 200 sq ft each. We moved in on April 1st so it's been 2 full months. Before that the lawn might or might not have been well taken care of, but it was very green and looked strong in the month it took from the first time we saw the house till we moved in.

There is an automatic sprinkler system that has been set for 3am everyday, not sure how many minutes every time. In addition it has rained unusually much for this region in May, and it has been quite gray (also very unusual).

I have a number of questions, please forgive my ignorance, I'm learning as fast as I can considering there is so much to take control of in this house :D My questions:

1. Can you guess what kind of grass I have? I don't know what the main type is, I do know there is some centipede grass in the borders of the lawn, but it doesn't seem to be the main type. I also know that the previous owner must have used Scotts EZSeed Patch & Repair Tall Fescue Lawns at least to repatch, there was an almost empty bag next to the lawn. Is the grass type Tall Fescue indeed?

2. Can you guess why the lawn is turning yellow from the pictures? I have measured the PH both with a stick in tool and with a chemistry kit, it seems to be between 7 and 7.5, which seems quite normal given the soil is clay and they did not use a top soil as far as I can see, the grass is in the clay. The chem levels for Nitrogen, Postash and Phosphorus also seem fine, good levels of all of them in the soil, so not even close to depleted.
My very uneducated guess here would be that the lawn is overwatered (temperatures have been below or around 70 this month, not hot at all) and/or it has some kind of fungus infection, but I cannot see any mushrooms. Hope the pictures are good enough so that you can see something there.

3. There might also be a mole in there, or not. When we first moved in, I saw a couple of volcanos in the front lawn, and I proceeded to step on them to close them. They have not reappeared, and I haven't seen other signs of moles in the front lawn. But in the last 2 months I did find 2 drowned moles in the pool, which is in the backyard, far away from the front lawn.

Pls help, any suggestion is welcome, my first goal is to take control of this lawn so it doesn't die and I can get it back to luscious green before the hot California summer kicks in if possible. Pls let me know if you need any additional pictures or data to give a better suggestion.

Best, Hugo




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Re: Please help save my lawn

Post by kentster » June 1st, 2019, 11:08 am


I'd recommend you read the guides in the articles and FAQ areas. This will help you with basics of cutting, watering and triangle approach to weeds. Next, get a soil test following the instructions. Use MUST use Logan Labs, if you want help from the experts here. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=9339 Finally, do some self-education using this amazing website. Think process--not quick fix.


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Re: Please help save my lawn

Post by john5246 » June 3rd, 2019, 11:11 pm

Did the previous owner have a dog that they let pee everywhere? Since they were leaving anyway why not let the dog go on the lawn?
I'm not familiar with warm season grass. There's a lot of possibilities here and without testing it's hard so say for sure. Maybe someone who knows more can weight in. Is the other 200sq ft area unaffected?

My theory:
1. Dog pee'd everywhere
2. They threw down seed to fix the lawn (you said you found patchmaster). Maybe they put down some fertilizer and spilled it causing it to burn?
3. Fungus

You could just leave it. It's a small area and it won't be that difficult to overseed in the fall. Or since this is a new home maybe you want to redo that section with a nice looking grass.

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Re: Please help save my lawn

Post by HoosierLawnGnome » June 4th, 2019, 7:43 am

For starters watering every day, especially when wet anyways, is too much and too frequent. That can cause disease or chlorosis. You need an inch a week all at once, use the system to supply what mother nature doesnt.

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Re: Please help save my lawn

Post by Dchall_San_Antonio » June 17th, 2019, 5:18 pm

San Dimas! Cool!! I went to college over the hill from you, so I know the climate.

Strongly agree with HoosierLG. As you suspected, you are overwatering, and yes, there is a disease present. The grass type could be a fescuy weed mix. What you should have in the inland area there is either bermuda or St Augustine. It's far, far too hot to be growing fescue, rye, or Kentucky bluegrass. Bermuda can be more involved for best appearance. St Augustine would be super simple in my humble opinion. All you would need is a string trimmer to manage the whole thing. If you could find a nursery selling pieces of St Augustine sod, then get 1 piece for each spot in the front. Or get as much as you can afford and sod the entire area all at once. No need to bring in more or better soil. We're going to help you improve it. If you brought in more soil, then you would end up improving that instead. May as well deal with what you have.

If you just get a few pieces of sod, clear spots for it and get ready to water it lightly, twice a day, just enough to keep the roots moist, not soggy. Once the sod has knit to the soil, then back off on watering. Don't bother watering the rest of the weeds/grass. Just water the new stuff. The St Augustine will spread out via runners on the ground and crowd out the other grasses. Start your deep watering program by watering a full 1/2 inch all at one time. Set out tuna or cat food cans and turn on your sprinklers. Time how long it takes to fill the cans and cut that time in half. Since you just watered a full inch to fill the cans, then don't water for several days until you see the St Augustine looking drought stressed. Then go to the 1/2 inch time to water. Then watch the grass again until it looks parched. Water again at 1/2 inch and see how long it can go. Ideally it will go a little longer each time. When you are watering once every 3-4 days, then go to the full inch watering time and watch for signs of drying. For San Dimas this time of year you should be deep watering once per week. The wild card is all the concrete. Concrete heats up all day and holds heat all night. That forces the soil to dry out faster than it would in a larger yard. On the really sunny hot days, you might go out near sundown and syringe the concrete and grass. That means give it a light spray so the evaporating water will cool the concrete and grass.

Generally for St Augustine you would do the following:
Water deeply and infrequently as sort of described above.
Mulch mow at 4 inches every week or two.
Fertilize on Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. I like organic fertilizers like alfalfa pellets and ordinary corn meal. Try either San Dimas Grain or Sevilla Feed in Chino. Call first for availability and pricing. Alfalfa pellets (rabbit chow) should be under $15 and corn meal should be around $10. California prices may differ from Texas prices. Apply either one at 2 pounds per 100 square feet. Actually for your small yard, you can just get corn meal (masa de maiz) at the grocery store at about $10 for 25 pounds.

Now having said all that, if you want to go with bermuda, it will not suffer the heat from the concrete like St Augustine, BUT the soil will still dry out. It will need the same amount of water as any other grass to look good. It needs to be mowed lower and more often and fertilized more often to look good.

Improving the soil will happen naturally if you do what I suggested above. Deep watering along with organic fertilizer is a great start. If you want to take it to the next level, then do the Logan Labs soil test and send it to the forum for review. Don't mess with a local soil test. Read the type of review you get with the LL $25 test and you'll be amazed. I consider that next level stuff. The organics and deep watering will go a LONG way to fixing your soil. Once you do that, the soil microbes take over and make it better without any more input from you.

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Re: Please help save my lawn

Post by ladycage » September 19th, 2019, 3:10 am

Can you use corn meal to help with disease in a bermuda lawn after you have already put down a 18-24-12 fertilizer?

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