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Old 07-31-2013, 10:17 PM
 
176 posts, read 375,011 times
Reputation: 43

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I live in Northern NJ (Bergen County) and I have been battling issues with my lawn all year. I had/have several patches of missing/dead grass. I laid down 2 bags of Pennington Northeast seed (Pennington® : Northeast Mix) which filled most holes but it seems to be different than the existing grass. I also have quite a bit of dead grass which could be due to my dog but he is small and other neighbors with dogs don't have these patches. I always use the mulch feature on my mower so could it be the dead clippings? If so, I assume it would be everywhere and not in patches. A few weeks ago I noticed weeds sprouting up EVERYWHERE. I am not sure where they came from? I use Weed-B-Gone in various areas when I notice a weed or two but this came out of no where.

1) What grass do I have?
2) Why do I have dead patches?
3) What is that weed? Crab Grass? Why is it sprouting up now everywhere?

Pics -> Image Viewer
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:50 PM
 
Location: Aiken, South Carolina, US of A
1,364 posts, read 1,415,591 times
Reputation: 2431
SA,
You have dead patches because of your dog.
Mabey try to train him to go in one particular part of your yard
and using that training spray works.
It is crab grass. It is growing because your lawn isn't healthy.
Mowing and watering practices are extremely important.
Mow at 3 inches in June, July and August, and seed in September.
Don't forget to mow your grass, as soon as it gets over 3 inches high.
Mulch mowing is excellent.
Watch the amount of rain you are getting. It needs about an inch a week.
Buy a regular sprinkler if you don't have one and water it if it doesn't rain at
least 1 inch. Check the internet, they usually tell you how much rain you getting.
Have you fertilized your lawn at all this year?
If you don't regularly fertilize, go to your nearest home center and check out the
fertilizers and read the instructions as to how much to apply and when.
Don't use weed and feed. It's useless. The crab grass will be dying in your area
in September anyway. Then it seeds for next year, that is why people lay down
pre emergence in your area around St. Patty's Day. That way it will stop the crab
grass from emerging.
Your lawn will be fine, it just needs a routine.
Mulch mow at 3 inches in the heat of summer, water at 1 inch a week, ignore the
crab grass this year.
Seed in September.
You stop mowing when the grass stops growing.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Newport, NC
952 posts, read 2,300,982 times
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The areas of your lawn that are browning out could be the result of any number of fungus diseases. Get a knowledgeable lawn specialist to look at your lawn and make a recommendation. Ask around before having someone look at your lawn, there are lots of people out there who wouldn't know dollar spot from red thread from brown patch...
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:16 AM
 
3,147 posts, read 3,142,215 times
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It's not possible to tell what kind of grass you have from those photos. Since you are in NJ, I'd guess it's tall fescue or a combination of tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass and possibly ryegrass. Your problem looks fungal, possibly brown patch, a common lawn disease in summer. It is made worse by over-fertilizing.

How much and how often do you feed the lawn, and how wet is that area? Fungal diseases of turf are made a lot worse when you have wet conditions and high temperatures overnight, so that could be the cause. You can't avoid the spores in your environment, and sometimes you can't even prevent the conditions they need to grow into a problem. Six or eight hours of high temps combined with a lot of moisture leads to disease.

I normally don't recommend lawn fungus treatments because all they do is prevent disease, and their performance is hit and miss. But if you have an area that is shaded or stays moist for long periods, consider adding fungus control to your lawncare program.

I don't think any dog could have killed off that much grass, and that dead color is different than what urine would do to it.

I would verticut and overseed the entire lawn with a fescue blend purchased from a local nursery, and I would not buy Pennington, Scott's or any other national brand. Garden centers often have their own grass-seed blends and mixes that they customize for your particular region, and those are always the best. Make sure the seed label gas this on it: Crop Seed: 0%; Weed Seed: 0%. Many seed packages contain crop seed, which is just another term for "WEED".

As for your crabgrass, Butterfly4U gives good advice. But perennial weeds, mostly the broadleaf ones like dandelions, are best treated in the fall. I would use a lawn weed killer for those and spot treat.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...
28,605 posts, read 21,782,724 times
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I agree with TinaMcG about the fungus. Dog urine tends to be round circled patches and not the variable splotchy areas that the pix's show.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:16 AM
 
176 posts, read 375,011 times
Reputation: 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfly4u View Post
SA,
You have dead patches because of your dog.
Mabey try to train him to go in one particular part of your yard
and using that training spray works.
It is crab grass. It is growing because your lawn isn't healthy.
Mowing and watering practices are extremely important.
Mow at 3 inches in June, July and August, and seed in September.
Don't forget to mow your grass, as soon as it gets over 3 inches high.
Mulch mowing is excellent.
Watch the amount of rain you are getting. It needs about an inch a week.
Buy a regular sprinkler if you don't have one and water it if it doesn't rain at
least 1 inch. Check the internet, they usually tell you how much rain you getting.
Are you sure it is the dog? He normally pisses in the garden on the plants. We just removed 3 that he killed. I never had this
problem at my previous home and my neighbors don't have this problem. Training him isn't an option because it took 8 years to
potty train him. Mini Daschunds are stubborn!

Are you sure it is crab grass? It seems to be two different plants. One with single strands that go vertical and the other are multiple
strands that lay against the ground joining into a single root. Why isn't the lawn healthy? It gets a lot of sun and water? Is
it because of the dog?

I mow every weekend and use the mulch feature to keep the lawn at the lowest setting (1.75" I think). I also have a 4 zone sprinkler
system that waters daily for about 15 minutes or so. On hot days, I generally water again at 7PM when I get home from work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfly4u View Post
Have you fertilized your lawn at all this year?
If you don't regularly fertilize, go to your nearest home center and check out the
fertilizers and read the instructions as to how much to apply and when.
No. I never needed to nor do my neighbors. I was always afriad to introduce nitrogen into the soil and kill the grass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfly4u View Post
Don't use weed and feed. It's useless. The crab grass will be dying in your area
in September anyway. Then it seeds for next year, that is why people lay down
pre emergence in your area around St. Patty's Day. That way it will stop the crab
grass from emerging.
There are a lot of products to combat crab grass. Are you saying none work? What is pre-emergency? How can it be that as soon as
they start growing, there is no way to remedy it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfly4u View Post
Your lawn will be fine, it just needs a routine.
Mulch mow at 3 inches in the heat of summer, water at 1 inch a week, ignore the
crab grass this year.
Seed in September.
You stop mowing when the grass stops growing.
I do all of this?


Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
It's not possible to tell what kind of grass you have from those photos. Since you are in NJ, I'd guess it's tall fescue or a combination of tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass and possibly ryegrass.
How would one know what seed to buy if they want to lay down seed? Do they first have to identify it? What if there is already a mix from a previous misseed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
Your problem looks fungal, possibly brown patch, a common lawn disease in summer. It is made worse by over-fertilizing.
I don't use fertilizer so it must be the dog. We are talking about introducing excess nitrogen, correct?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
How much and how often do you feed the lawn, and how wet is that area? Fungal diseases of turf are made a lot worse when you have wet conditions and high temperatures overnight, so that could be the cause. You can't avoid the spores in your environment, and sometimes you can't even prevent the conditions they need to grow into a problem. Six or eight hours of high temps combined with a lot of moisture leads to disease.
I have 4 zone sprinkler system and water daily at 5AM for an average of 15 minutes per zone. When it is very hot, I sometimes do another round for 10-15 minutes after I get home from work. I also tend to water right after mulching the lawn (every weekend).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
I normally don't recommend lawn fungus treatments because all they do is prevent disease, and their performance is hit and miss. But if you have an area that is shaded or stays moist for long periods, consider adding fungus control to your lawncare program.
How is this applied? Are we sure it's fungus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
I don't think any dog could have killed off that much grass, and that dead color is different than what urine would do to it.
What else could it be? Could the mulch be covering up the grass from sun/water killing it off? I wouldn't expect to see spotty areas though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
I would verticut and overseed the entire lawn with a fescue blend purchased from a local nursery, and I would not buy Pennington, Scott's or any other national brand. Garden centers often have their own grass-seed blends and mixes that they customize for your particular region, and those are always the best. Make sure the seed label gas this on it: Crop Seed: 0%; Weed Seed: 0%. Many seed packages contain crop seed, which is just another term for "WEED".
Verticut? I have a local nursery but not sure they sell seed. There must be one close by.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
As for your crabgrass, Butterfly4U gives good advice. But perennial weeds, mostly the broadleaf ones like dandelions, are best treated in the fall. I would use a lawn weed killer for those and spot treat.
I have to wait for them to die in a few months and then address next spring? What if it occurs again? It's a long time to wait for a resolution.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:55 PM
 
3,147 posts, read 3,142,215 times
Reputation: 3656
I would bet the farm it's a fungal disease. Google "brown patch". Contact your nearest horticultural extension office (you still don't say where you are or I'd tell you who to call). They will have literature, probably posted on line, that explains a lawn renovation in detail. You can also take a slice of your dead turf to them for analysis.

Your watering technique is all wrong. Fifteen minutes of watering at 5am almost certainly guarantees you're going to grow fungus on your lawn. Water in the morning or deep in the middle of the night while the dew is forming on the grass, and water DEEPLY and INFREQUENTLY. That means maybe twice a week in the worst case scenario, for at least a few hours at a time.

You really need to do some research on growing a lawn, if for no other reason than to understand the answers you are being given here. You ask what kind of grass you have. How are we supposed to know? Take some to a local nursery. Talk to them. Consult your extension service. There are free resources available all over your area and on the internet.
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:38 PM
 
2,065 posts, read 3,345,739 times
Reputation: 2555
SAgosto you have a standard mix of grasses that can't be ID's based on your pictures. You also have what looks like crabgrass and dead winter weeds. The patches are most likely not from your dog although if the dog is large enough and on a high protein diet it can cause some brown spots. The pictures show a typical northern NJ lawn over a mixed clay and (??) soil and the patches appear most like brown patch, a fungal disease. You watering schedule practically guarantees fungus growth specially when the temperatures get to above 85 and the humidity gets higher. This is why most people in your region will begin to complain about brown patches in their lawn in August.

Very short and frequent watering as you have been doing is the single best way to cause diseases in your lawn. Mulching mowers when cutting to the right height (high) are one of the better ways to keep a healthy lawn. Use of a fungicide for lawns at this point may not help very much but you may want to consider it next year. Contact your local cooperative extension office (it is in Hackensack) for help in what treatments are allowed since your part of NJ has some pretty tough restrictions to save wetlands and streams. They have some advice on their website for you to follow: Dead Grass: Opportunity for Improving Lawns Organically: Home,...

I tried finding additional simple lawn care advice for you to read specific to Bergen County but all I could find was a commercial site. It is helpful and very plain English. Note it also speaks about the ideal time and way to water to help prevent the disease from spreading and becoming as obvious as it has in your lawn. Bergen County, NJ Brown Patch Blues | Lawn Care Tips | Weed Man New Jersey

A pre-emergent weed killer works on preventing seeds from germinating and growing and only works before germination. If a seedling has already begun any growth it will have no effect. This si why timing is important. Nitrogen is essential to plant growth so I am not sure where you got the belief that it kills plants. A large quantity of it may burn roots of plants and grass but fertilizer is not a bad thing. In your case it does not look like something you need to use since your soil seems to have an adequate amount for the rest of the grass. Fertilizers also provide other minerals but only a soil test can tell you how much there is in the soil and if you need any additional fertilizer or additive.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:32 PM
 
176 posts, read 375,011 times
Reputation: 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
I would bet the farm it's a fungal disease. Google "brown patch". Contact your nearest horticultural extension office (you still don't say where you are or I'd tell you who to call). They will have literature, probably posted on line, that explains a lawn renovation in detail. You can also take a slice of your dead turf to them for analysis.

Your watering technique is all wrong. Fifteen minutes of watering at 5am almost certainly guarantees you're going to grow fungus on your lawn. Water in the morning or deep in the middle of the night while the dew is forming on the grass, and water DEEPLY and INFREQUENTLY. That means maybe twice a week in the worst case scenario, for at least a few hours at a time.
Few hours at a time? That's completely different from all of my neighbors. In fact, the watering schedule was setup by one of the local lawn companies. I guess I need to do some research.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
You really need to do some research on growing a lawn, if for no other reason than to understand the answers you are being given here. You ask what kind of grass you have. How are we supposed to know? Take some to a local nursery. Talk to them. Consult your extension service. There are free resources available all over your area and on the internet.
A bit snarky but thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J&Em View Post
SAgosto you have a standard mix of grasses that can't be ID's based on your pictures.
Does it make sense to ID it before laying down additional feed? Or does it not really matter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
You also have what looks like crabgrass and dead winter weeds. The patches are most likely not from your dog although if the dog is large enough and on a high protein diet it can cause some brown spots.
Newman is only 10LBS and the spots were not in his "areas" but I thought it made sense to disclose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
The pictures show a typical northern NJ lawn over a mixed clay and (??) soil and the patches appear most like brown patch, a fungal disease. You watering schedule practically guarantees fungus growth specially when the temperatures get to above 85 and the humidity gets higher. This is why most people in your region will begin to complain about brown patches in their lawn in August.
Yea, I started to notice this over the last month when the temperatures started to get hot. I would increase watering time to compensate for the dryer weather.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
Very short and frequent watering as you have been doing is the single best way to cause diseases in your lawn.
As mentioned above, the water schedule was set by the local company that the previous owner has used for years. I am going to read up and change it based on some reading unless you have some advice.

From the link below: These can range in size from a few inches to several feet in diameter. In the early morning dew, strands of a cobwebby fungal growth called mycelium may be evident on the grass blades. The affected grass will discolor and, in severe cases, may die. I often notice the cobwebby crap on the lawn!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
Mulching mowers when cutting to the right height (high) are one of the better ways to keep a healthy lawn.
I mulch at the lowest setting (1.75").

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
Use of a fungicide for lawns at this point may not help very much but you may want to consider it next year. Contact your local cooperative extension office (it is in Hackensack) for help in what treatments are allowed since your part of NJ has some pretty tough restrictions to save wetlands and streams. They have some advice on their website for you to follow: Dead Grass: Opportunity for Improving Lawns Organically: Home,...

I tried finding additional simple lawn care advice for you to read specific to Bergen County but all I could find was a commercial site. It is helpful and very plain English. Note it also speaks about the ideal time and way to water to help prevent the disease from spreading and becoming as obvious as it has in your lawn. Bergen County, NJ Brown Patch Blues | Lawn Care Tips | Weed Man New Jersey
Thank you. I'll look into it more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
A pre-emergent weed killer works on preventing seeds from germinating and growing and only works before germination. If a seedling has already begun any growth it will have no effect. This si why timing is important. Nitrogen is essential to plant growth so I am not sure where you got the belief that it kills plants. A large quantity of it may burn roots of plants and grass but fertilizer is not a bad thing. In your case it does not look like something you need to use since your soil seems to have an adequate amount for the rest of the grass. Fertilizers also provide other minerals but only a soil test can tell you how much there is in the soil and if you need any additional fertilizer or additive.
I was concerned I would over fertilize causing dead grass which is what I thought I have right now. I was having trouble filling open holes as the grass seed just wouldn't grow. I laid down the white/fertilizer flakes and then noticed brown spots. I assumed I (and/or the dog) caused the brown spots but I know believe it's just bad timing of events.

Are folks really performing soil tests to check for nitrogen levels and stuff when using fertilizer?

Should I just look into handling the crab grass in the spring to prevent it from next year?
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Old 08-07-2013, 03:36 AM
 
401 posts, read 232,980 times
Reputation: 575
Quote:
Originally Posted by SAgosto View Post

1) What grass do I have?
2) Why do I have dead patches?
3) What is that weed? Crab Grass? Why is it sprouting up now everywhere?

Pics -> Image Viewer
1) dunno can't tell

2) fungus

3) Dallis grass. Google MSMA (the only thing I know of that will kill it reliably) if you can't buy that then your best off spot treating with Roundup. anything else your just spinning your wheels, and that crap grows very fast and spreads easily.
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