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Disappointing lawn growth... please help!

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 2:39 am
by Rocklandsboy
Hi! I'm having some very frustrating lawn issues and I was wondering if somebody could offer me some advice.

I bought this house 3 years ago and had a new lawn (turf) laid a year later. The previous garden consisted of paving stones, a tree, a step, a raised area and various other "features".

The new lawn was wonderful until it started growing itself.

At that point various anomalies started to happen:

1. The circular area which was previously paved doesn't grow anything like as well as the rest of the garden. It's also off-colour most of the time. I'm guessing the soil underneath has been starved of... something for some time.

2. The area where the step was isn't growing at all. Turns out there's another step about an inch under the surface.

3. The right-hand side of the garden grows reeeeally quickly and thickly, but when it's cut it's torn right back to the soil and looks awful. Plus it seems to dip - I think because the soil underneath drained out due to heavy continuous rainfall about the time the lawn was originally laid.

4. The two top corners also look "torn" when cut.

I've attached some photos.

I'm thinking I need to get somebody in to re-furbish - perhaps re-level - the whole thing but, before I do that, is there something reasonably cheap that I can do myself to fix it up?

Grateful for any suggestions!

Ta!

John

Re: Disappointing lawn growth... please help!

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 6:30 am
by therock0503
Couple things I noticed here.

1. That grass was too long when you cut it. That will always cause issues for the lawn and look horrible when you cut it. You really shouldnt cut more than an 1/3 of the plant off at a time. You cut waayyy more than that off that time. So cut it more often.

2. The spots you are referring to where there was a patio and such. Those areas are most likely really compacted and the soil there is most likely a little rough and lacking nutrients...its had concrete and rocks laying on it for years and years, like you said. So, before those areas were sodded, or seeded, the old area needed to be seriously tilled (6 plus inches), all rocks removed, and at least a few inches of good topsoil laid on top to provide a good foundation for the lawn.

Assuming a lawn gets proper cutting, water and fertilization, the only difference between nice spots in lawn and crappy ones is the preparation/foundation (flatter the better, steep hills are bad) and the amount of sun it gets (a really shady/wet spot will be a little weaker at times)

Re: Disappointing lawn growth... please help!

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 6:59 pm
by Rocklandsboy
Thanks very much for your reply.

I wish I'd done more research before I had this job done. Then again I hired a "professional" on the assumption that he'd know what he was doing.

Assuming the ground/soil wasn't prepared properly, is there anything I can do to gently bring it back to life without having to start over? Would a regular application of lawn feed do the trick?

Thanks!

Re: Disappointing lawn growth... please help!

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 7:54 pm
by Dillbert
don't wish to be a big downer, but some of the things you've pointed out are major issues - and a qualified 'lawn guy' would have pointed these out.

>>fix cheap
the fixes are not rocket science but involve a lot of labo(u)r. if you work cheap, can be done cheap.

>>over paved area
most certainly, as point out, highly compacted - potentially with (limestone?) type rock foundation = alkaline soil conditions, impenetrable to grass root system.

>>another step 1 inch deeper
what is the step made of? if you have a flat concrete surface 1-2 inches below grade, you're not likely to get anything growing there long term.

the solution is quite straightforward - not easy & whatnot.

remove the sod - store where you can water/tend it until it gets laid back.

dig out the compacted drive area to 8" depth, replace with decent soil.
dig out / remove the 'step' area to 8" depth, replace with decent soil.
replace sod.

first I would ring up the dunderhead who laid sod over those areas and ask him to come fix it.
and then _stand there and observe_ every shovelful because obviously the dude does not know what he is doing. you'll need to instruct him in great detail.

pay heed to the "cut 1/3 of blade length" rule. yes, it's important.

Re: Disappointing lawn growth... please help!

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 8:05 pm
by Rocklandsboy
Thanks guys. Okay I'll take all that on board and will plan a strategy.