dead grass throughout the lawn

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  #1  
Old 06-06-19, 04:14 PM
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dead grass throughout the lawn

The lawn is thin pretty much everywhere, but when you look closely many of the grass shoots are laid over and completely brown. There are not patches or completely dead portions. Using a garden rake, the shoots comb out in big rolls of dead grass, leaving a thin stand of live grass. Some places the dead grass might be 60%+ of what comprises the lawn.

I have not let it dry out nor over fertilized. This is the condition of the lawn every year. I have had lawn cleanups/de-thatching performed regularly. Unless you look at it from directly above, you don't realize how thin it is and how much dead grass is in it.

Is this the usual pH issue or something else? Can you tell without doing a soil test. Is it more likely to be one problem than another? This is temperate Minnesota and the grass variety is whatever the contractor put down, although I have overseeded with name brand northern blends from time to time.
 
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Old 06-06-19, 04:44 PM
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I have not let it dry out nor over fertilized.
so what do you consider not over fertilized?

New or re-invigorated lawns need 4-6 applications per year, if your not feeding the lawn how do you expect it to grow?
 
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Old 06-06-19, 09:47 PM
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I have had lawn cleanups/de-thatching performed regularly
This could be part of the problem as it's very hard on the lawn and probably not needed anyway, as most grasses don't develop thatch in the first place. I would start with a soil test.
 
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Old 06-07-19, 04:30 AM
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" Can you tell without doing a soil test." Get a soil test! Otherwise you will continue guessing.
 
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Old 06-07-19, 06:09 AM
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As already asked, why guess? Any that I have ever heard of are free, and there's no sting like taking a blood sample, so get a soil test. They're typically available through your county extension service, or, locally anyway, a few of our mills, nurseries, and garden centers accept samples. Even if there is a small processing fee it's surely less than the cost of even one wrong or unnecessary bag of fertilizer or whatever. Once you have the results you can proceed with a plan. And how you proceed is entirely up to you. Some people go with 4-6 applications a year, but I am very happy with spring weed and feed and fall fertilizer. What height do you mow? Of all the things I have tried over the years, I honestly believe that the biggest bang I have gotten is to mow at 3". We don't water, so yes, it still gets dry in spots in late summer, but it's much more tolerant of hot and/or dry spells. As far as removing thatch, it's never made any sense to me. I have a mulching deck on my mower, never rake a thing, in fact chop the leaves right where they fall and leave them, and do not see think that it hurts the lawn one bit. But try to gather that back up, and how may itty bitty tiny blades of potential new grass are ripped out?
 
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Old 06-07-19, 09:59 AM
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Must have been too tired last night, missed the part about this being Minnesota. Unless severely over-fertilized with quick release Nitrogen, no cool season grass is going to develop thatch so there is no reason to be running your lawn through that trauma at all, let alone regularly.
 
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Old 06-07-19, 01:43 PM
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Yea, de-thatching is so 1950's. It's right up there with running a roller over the lawn every spring to smooth it out.
 
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Old 06-13-19, 11:44 AM
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You describe symptoms of a grub infection.

If you grub and pull a handful of grass does it easily pull out and without a good part of roots? If so you have a grub infection.
 
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Old 06-24-19, 10:35 AM
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The soil test came back:

organic matter 9.1%
pH 7.7
Olsen Phosphorus 9 ppmP
Bray 1 Phosphorus ppm P 24
Potassium ppm K 59

Lime recommendation: 0 lbs/100 sq ft
Nitrogen recommendation 2.5 lbs/1,000 sq ft/year
Phosphate recommendation .5 lbs/1,000 sq ft/year
Potash recommendation 3 lbs/1,000 sq ft/year

Approximate ratio 20-5-30

Does this explain brown patches where the grass has grown but then a majority of it is laid over dead?

Should I add some lime? pH of 7.7 is into the alkaline range & doesn't look good to me.

Any recommendations for what fertilizer to buy?

Thx.
 
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Old 06-24-19, 03:24 PM
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Should I try to reduce the pH?

I guess you add organic matter to reduce alkalinity, not lime.
 
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Old 06-24-19, 09:55 PM
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Sulfur is added to reduce pH.
 
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Old 06-25-19, 04:29 AM
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Your pH is a bit out and it wouldn't hurt to start bringing it up but it's not bad enough to cause brown patches. I would stop de-thatching. You want to retain that organic matter and it's helpful to reduce evaporation. Next I would look for signs of insects or pests. Do you have raised mounds in the yard from moles or voles? It's late to tell for sure but your description of the sod coming out in big chunks could mean you have a grub problem.

Is your yard full sun or shaded?
 
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Old 07-10-19, 07:10 PM
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The lawn is in full sun, on the South side of the house.
 
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