Lawn_Lubber
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Stunted couch problem

Hi, First time on the forum so go easy on me!

I've got a problem with our lawn I can't identify. We had the turf laid about 16 months ago at our new home and parts of it have never taken off and some are starting to thin out and die back with the same problem. I have fed it all the usual NKP type fertilizers and Powerfeed etc, tried treating it for grubs which I've never seen and recently treated some test patches with fungicide which have made no visible difference either. I'm guessing it's a case of too much or not enough of something but I have no idea what - help please!!!!
stunted_couch.jpg

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webmaster
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Location: Amherst, MA USDA Zone 5a

Re: Stunted couch problem

How do you feed yourself? Do you take vitamin pills for nutrients? Do you give yourself pills to wake up? Do you swallow pills to go to sleep?

That kind of lifestyle went out of fashion years ago. But we still treat our gardens like Judy Garland or Frank Sinatra treated their bodies. A pill to wake up. A pill to go to sleep.

The last place I lived at had about twenty years of leaves in the front yard. My wife and I spent a week raking it up and dumping it in the forest across the road. What was underneath was the richest soil you could imagine. It was full of life. This is something fertilizers cannot accomplish.

Going back to the pills analogy. Maybe you should consider the soil as a living thing. There's a thing called Soil Biology. It's about treating the soil as something that's alive. Did you know that large stones can play a part in fostering healthy soil? Did you know that fungus, mushrooms, are a sign that you have a healthy soil biology?

Your lawn begins and ends with the quality of the soil and how much sun it gets.

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Stunted couch problem

I agree with the webmaster, you cannot just level the ground and lay turf. It needs to be enriched and prepared so the grass can establish. Grass is one of the greediest plants you can have and demands a lot of attention. That is why I only have grass that the HOA demands. Dig a hole and do a drainage test. If it drains properly then, prepare the soil with a tiller, add compost about 4 inches over the top and a bag of manure for every 100 square feet. Put in a starter fertilizer according to package directions. If not, you may have to fix the drainage first. Select an appropriate grass for your area, not the one you think looks nice. There are grasses that can tolerate more shade than others and warm grasses for the south and cool growing grass for the north. No grass will survive in constantly wet soil that does not drain. When you lay sod, it needs to make good contact with the soil. Rub it in and step on it. You need to water new grass up to 4 times a day until it is established, about a couple of months and then slowly back off to an inch a week. If you have a large lawn, install a sprinkler first. It will take hours to water by hand 4 times a day and you don't want to walk on the new lawn until it is established.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Lawn_Lubber
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Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:37 am

Re: Stunted couch problem

webmaster wrote:How do you feed yourself? Do you take vitamin pills for nutrients? Do you give yourself pills to wake up? Do you swallow pills to go to sleep?

That kind of lifestyle went out of fashion years ago. But we still treat our gardens like Judy Garland or Frank Sinatra treated their bodies. A pill to wake up. A pill to go to sleep.

The last place I lived at had about twenty years of leaves in the front yard. My wife and I spent a week raking it up and dumping it in the forest across the road. What was underneath was the richest soil you could imagine. It was full of life. This is something fertilizers cannot accomplish.

Going back to the pills analogy. Maybe you should consider the soil as a living thing. There's a thing called Soil Biology. It's about treating the soil as something that's alive. Did you know that large stones can play a part in fostering healthy soil? Did you know that fungus, mushrooms, are a sign that you have a healthy soil biology?

Your lawn begins and ends with the quality of the soil and how much sun it gets.
Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately we didn't get a lot of (any) input into the preparation as the turf was part of the deal - house, shed, fencing and turf - nothing more to do so to speak.
I've been using a mulching mower since the couch established itself and it was almost 12 months before we saw the first sign of worm activity but the rubbish dirt they put between the clay and the turf is going to take a long time to become 'biological'. On the upside, I wanted to get rid of some old organic fertilizer a week or so back so I put it on the worst 'stunted' patches and after a light rain a few days ago, they are now the greenest patches in the yard.
I'll keep working on it and feed it again before winter gets here and then strip the thatch in September, top-dress with the best stuff I can find out here (Desert uplands - Central Queensland - Australia) and see how it goes from there.

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