dead grass and weed disaster

RexAnne(z5 Chicago)September 21, 2010

Hey there organic lawn people,

I have a neighbor who just moved in to the house behind us last spring. Their lawn had been neglected by the previous owners and became a little weedy. The new owner decided to take of this by drop spreading an unknown weed and feed product. The spread job was not done evenly and he had stripes of untreated lawn which became evident later on as stripes of weeds. The ends of his rows with the drop spreader burned right away. Later in the summer the weather changed from a wet spring to a very dry, hot summer. Now the what was green grass in the treated areas is dead and the weeds are thriving. They mentioned they were going to put down some heavy duty stuff to take care of things. I'm very worried, I'm all organic and my row of raspberries is seven feet from the property line.

I would love to help them but don't want to be "one of those neighbors" I have mentioned what our organic lawn routine is, brought produce over and all that stuff.

I need advice in two areas:

1. how to renovate this lawn

2. how to tell them

Lawn- Kentucky blue grass; dead in stripes with dandelion, annual grass weed, bind weed, queen Ann's lace, oxalises etc. Some places the grass is just gone in others the grass is a mat, easy to pull up. Very few little green blades showing. planted on thin layer of black dirt on clay subsoil 7 years ago. always taken care of with minimal weed and feed and then with nothing for the last year before this spring. They have been spraying some sort of pump the jug and spray wand stuff to no avail.

I'd tell them use CMG but even I can't find it for me (had to switch to SBM)

should they slit seed? or broadcast seed? help me come up with a plan. Resodding is probably not going to happen.

any ideas?


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During hot, dry summer weather the grasses we grow up here tend to go dormant and can, if deprived of soil moisture look brown and dead. Those grasses are however simply dormant and will grow back once cooler and wetter weather comes back.
When I was growing up most people did not water their lawns and most every lawn in the neighborhood was brown and dead looking until mid September. It has only been since the 1960's that people have been pouring a lot of water on their lawns to keep them green, and spending a ton of money on "fertilizers" to help that which causes the grass to need even more water.
Give that grass a little time and it will grow back.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 12:56PM
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RexAnne(z5 Chicago)

hey kimmser,
Yes, I thought about that. The last few weeks we got some pretty good rain and all the grass in the neighborhood has has greened up - all except theirs. I think it is well and truly dead, not to say grass would eventually find it's way there. I surreptitiously grabbed a handful of the brown stuff and you could pull it right up, like the roots were gone.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 6:22PM
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Possibly too much of the "weed and feed" product was laid down and too little water was offered so therefore the grasses were burned by that product (really easy to do with any synthetic fertilizer).
If possible convince this person to take a good look at the soil and start working on making that into a good healthy soil that will growa good healthy stand of grass, not one dependent on drugs.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 7:28AM
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