Dead Grass: Repair? Replace with stone?


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Old 09-18-22, 07:42 PM
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Dead Grass: Repair? Replace with stone?

The boss is getting angry with me for spending time and money every single fall for the last 4-5 years on this grass repair. The grass extends up a slight hill and then towards the middle of the yard. The area gets direct sun nearly all day but there are numerous oak trees hovering over which lay down zillions of acorns in the fall. I have multiple sprinkler zones and numerous sprinkler heads for water concerns but grass dies year after year. I've increased irrigation from 3 days to 4 days a week and increased sprinkler time from 25 to nearly 40 mins without success. It's been very dry here but the shaded areas seem to be doing much better so I am stumped. The area is high traffic from the kids and the landscapers use it for the heavy riding lawn mower. It is not very wide area and flanked on one side with landscaping filled with shrubs/etc., and large rocks that surround the pool on the other side. It's quite possible there are numerous rocks under the grass given me lack of root depth. I am tempted to re-lay seed with fresh top soil and adjust my sprinklers to lay down water 2X a day to keep it wet but this is the 4th or 5th year in a row dealing with the same problem. Do I go with a sun-based grass seed or should I change the grass to paver or some sort of walkway? Misc. crushed stone would look brutal with all of the trees garage/leaves.







 

Last edited by sagosto63; 09-18-22 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 09-18-22, 10:16 PM
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It's probably multiple issues... partly the type of grass... cool season grasses aren't going to do well in the heat no matter how much you water. Partly due to high traffic, as most cool season grasses aren't very durable under high traffic. And partly due to the watering schedule... light watering doesn't do a lawn any favors. Deep and infrequent watering would be better. So for instance, watering for 1 hour twice a week is probably better than watering 20 minutes every day. Light watering promotes shallow roots and it will go dormant more quickly when it gets hot.

There could also be other issues... acidity or poor soil from acorns, lack of fertilization or overfertilization. A soil test might help identify a soil problem. You should be able to determine soil depth with a long screwdriver. But that would be a problem as well, since lack of soil depth will not only mean shallow roots but it usually increases the soil temperatures too.

Your sprinklers also might not be putting as much water down as you think they are, so setting out test cups in the various parts of that area to measure would be helpful... so that you know how much water you are actually putting down in say 30 minutes.
 
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Old 09-19-22, 12:59 AM
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light watering doesn't do a lawn any favors.
The soil make up is also a big factor. I have a corner of the lot that has high sand content. Water it for an hour and the water drains away and the grass turns brown. Water for 20 minutes every day, it flourishes!
 
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Old 09-19-22, 07:22 AM
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I use Pennington/Scotts Sun/Shade mix so the seed shouldn't matter a ton. I shouldn't say high traffic as the kids only go outside on weekends really due to other activities but landscapers use that area once a week. I thought run off for the slope but the other parts of that area are dying. It probably is a combo of the direct sunlight and/or rocks that's absorbing a ton of heat. Does it make sense to go with a more 'heat tolerant' blend of seed? I will try going a ton of water in that one area as I am out of ideas. Worse case and I need to go a different route like a walk way, what makes the most sense? Pavers? I think I would need to do something other than crushed stone given the debris. I'd need something I could use a leaf blower with.
 
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Old 09-20-22, 08:22 AM
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Get a shovel and dig down one foot on two sides......pull out the wedge and see what's what. Fill the hole with water.... and time the drainage. If you want, take a soil sample to be analyzed.
 
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Old 09-20-22, 10:02 AM
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Assuming I went the walkway route, pavers seem like overkill. I could do large blue stone with grass around it that hopefully looks OK given the current situation but what other options should I consider?
 
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Old 09-20-22, 12:54 PM
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One thing to consider, beds of rocks get a lot of debris in them, after a couple years they are full of crud and things start to grow. I have small beds of egg rock and there is a lot of maintenance to keep it clean, much more than a bed of wood chips!
 
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Old 09-21-22, 08:21 PM
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The beds of rocks is certainly a cheaper approach but it will get dirty quickly. I could do pavers but that would get pricey. Or maybe slabs of blue stone alternating with grass but given how the grass looks -- it might not look good.
 
 

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