Tips on reviving this lawn

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Old 04-29-20, 12:29 AM
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Tips on reviving this lawn

Every year I want to make my lawn nice but the same thing happens: it is very green over the winter, I mow it for the first time in around March where it is way too long and so after I mow, many areas under the long parts are all brown. Then it perks up and is green until about June then no matter how much I water it, it eventually all goes brown and I just give up on it. There is a good amount of moss and I dehatched it and spread some turfbuilder with moss control last week and the moss is turning black and dying. There are also a lot of uneven spots in it (dips, holes, low spots, etc. both from previous mole tunnels or other reasons). It does stay weed free though so that's a plus. Anyways, since I have a lot of time at home now so far this year for who knows how long, I was wondering if there is anything I can do to salvage this or make it nicer this year. I have been doing a lot of yard work and there is a big area off of the lawn that was full of ivy and kind of wooded that I want to reclaim as part of the lawn since I cleared it all out so I would like to plant some grass seed there, however that area is going to be in the shade pretty much all day. So, if you can give me any advice on what I could do to make this nice on my own, planting the new seed, leveling areas, etc. while it is still spring and not looking too bad, I would appreciate it. I live up in the Pacific Northwest.







 
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Old 04-29-20, 12:42 AM
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Moss tells me you might have a pH issue. I would start with a soil test and a core aeration. Don't bother dethatching, you don't have a grass which builds up thatch.
 
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Old 04-29-20, 01:00 AM
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My dad has an electric dehatcher so I just ran it over and got up a bunch of the dry stuff and the moss. I filled up a 30 gallon can with the stuff. Maybe I don't understand the purpose of that, but it seemed like it got a bunch of stuff out. Won't running that over it again after the moss dies get it out easy for me?

Anyways, as far as the core aerator, what exactly do I need for that? And for a soil test? Thanks for the advice.
 
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Old 04-29-20, 02:30 AM
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A nice yard is not a one year activity.

You mention holes and low spots, get some dirt and fill them in,

Where are you? What kind of grass?

Moss is more an indication of low light, grass needs sun!

What have you been doing for over seeding, fertilizers, week killers?
 
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Old 04-29-20, 03:03 AM
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I realize it is not a one time thing, but I think because I neglect to cut it during the winter, and it is so long, and then it looks like crap from the start, I just am not motivated to do anything since it dries up so fast. THe last couple of years, I used that dehatcher to get the dead stuff and moss out, use Turfbuider with moss control once and then maybe a different Turfbuilder with the weed control later in the year and just water it good in the summer. Other than that, I don't do anything. I try to put some seed in the bare spots but it never seems to grow so I am probably not doing it right. I do need to get some topsoil for some other things so do I just fill in the holes over the existing grass and plant new seed? I think if i had a plan and stuck to it each year knowing it would make an ice lawn, I would definitely do it. I just don't even know where to begin with this. I live in the Seattle area and am not sure what type of grass this is. The moss does grow in the areas that are shady and really only the middle gets full sun throughout the day. There are a lot of tall trees around that shade it.
 
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Old 04-29-20, 05:39 AM
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Start by mowin more regularly. If you are commenting that it's "... way too long.." then you aren't mowing frequently enough. Letting the grass grow too long causes the top part of the grass to shade the lower parts which can contribute to the brown color. Tall grass also holds more moisture which can lead to mold, both harmless and a disease for the grass and is a perfect environment for moss.
 
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Old 04-29-20, 09:46 AM
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I think there is misunderstanding on this. Once July and August hit, even if I water it every other day in the summer, it pretty much stays mostly brown and does not grow except for a few small areas so I can go over a month before I mow it because there is nothing to mow. Then it will start to perk up a little bit in October and I will mow it through about the end of that month but then it starts getting rainier and the grass is always wet so I usually don't bother cutting it again until March. That is when I am talking about that it is way too long. Some areas grow longer than others and I have to knock it down with the string trimmer and do a little raking and it takes a couple of mows to get it looking normal again, but that brown spot sometimes never really fully recovers.

Now, the lawn looks like in the photo and I cut it every week or so. I used to cut it pretty short but realized that is not good so I keep it near one of the higher settings on the mower. So the question is now that I have it looking like it does, can I get a nice lush lawn out of this if I do some work without tearing it all up?

Start by mowin more regularly. If you are commenting that it's "... way too long.." then you aren't mowing frequently enough. Letting the grass grow too long causes the top part of the grass to shade the lower parts which can contribute to the brown color. Tall grass also holds more moisture which can lead to mold, both harmless and a disease for the grass and is a perfect environment for moss.
 
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Old 04-29-20, 12:32 PM
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Many cool season grasses are like that. No matter how much water you give them they will brown and not grow if it's too hot. With global warming it's becoming an increasing problem and further north. An issue you can also have is if you're watering something that won't grow the the water can promote fungus, moss and weeds.

I'm in a transition zone, not perfect for warm or cool season grasses. Lawns start greening and growing in May. Look great in April. Then have browning in July & August as the grass goes dormant. Then it recovers in late August to look good again in September & October.

Have you checked your lawn for grubs?
 
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Old 04-29-20, 01:49 PM
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Thatch is not an accumulation of debris like previously cut blades of grass, it is an overgrowth lower in the plant which generally occurs only in warm season grasses, which you do not have. Using a dethatching machine is traumatic to the lawn.
 
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Old 04-29-20, 02:23 PM
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I have not checked it for grubs. A few years back, I did treat it with some grub killer in hopes that would get rid of a mole. I hear you on those lawns being brown around here. It does seem that way with a lot, but then I also see some nice green ones so I just figured people let them go. A couple years ago, I helped my dad tear up his whole lawn and put down sod and it looks nice and green all the time. I am just hoping there is something I can do to get somewhat nice lush green lawn without having to go that route.
 
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Old 04-30-20, 06:29 AM
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Many grasses go dormant in the heat of summer while others do not. It all just depends on what variety you have in your lawn.
 
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Old 04-30-20, 08:24 AM
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FWIW, this is pretty much normal on the west side of the state - the Evergreen State is brown in July and August and brush and forest fires are common because it is so dry.
 
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Old 04-30-20, 09:44 AM
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Ok, I appreciate it. So should I even bother with anything then? I will definitely keep doing the weed control because at least there are no weeds but any other fertilizers or anything? Should I just give up on watering it once it starts going brown? If the dethatcher is bad for my lawn (I found it a very easy method to remove the moss), then do I just need to rake it out?

I guess I can live with brown grass if that is how it is going to be, but if I can make it a little nicer with what I have, that would be great. So for the uneven spots (there are some long ruts and some holes), is it as simple as filling them in with dirt and planting new seed, or do I need to remove the grass below it? I have also sprinkled some grass seed on the bare spots in the past, even covering it with a little dirt or peat moss and it never seems to grow. Any tips on that?
 
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Old 05-01-20, 09:38 AM
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What are you trying to remove? Moss is generally a sign of a pH problem so a soil test would be the starting point for that.
 
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Old 05-03-20, 08:58 AM
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Ok, I will get a soil test kit for starters. The moss seems to just grow in the areas that are completely shaded all of the time and in an area that is very swampy during the winter so that is not the greatest concern. I guess my bigger question is what I mentioned about filling in the more sparse spots, leveling it, or anything else I can do as far as fertilizer or anything to keep it looking nicer or getting rid of those spots shown in the photo.

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What are you trying to remove? Moss is generally a sign of a pH problem so a soil test would be the starting point for that.
 
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Old 05-04-20, 08:16 AM
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Contact your county's agricultural extension office about a soil sample. Usually you dig the sample and bring to them. There is a form with the usual name & address and they ask what you want to grow. Then the state's lab will test the soil and send back a recommendation for what to add. In my county it costs $5 when they are charging but often it's free.

First thing I would do is pick a grass variety that will remain green throughout the summer in your area. Then you can overseed with the new seed to start filling in the thinner spots. Follow the recommendations from your soil sample as to any fertilizing or pH adjustment. Be mindful of when you do this as it's not the best to try starting new grass during summer.
 
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Old 05-04-20, 01:44 PM
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Hey thanks for that info. I looked it up and my county provides 5 free tests to residents, however it says they have suspended taking them right now due to covid-19. I guess I have lived with it this long so waiting another year won't hurt. Are there any do it yourself test kits that work well though for now?
 
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