Saturday, September 6, 2008

Burned Out Lawn. Cultivate & Reseed

Mentioned in the original lawn article, summer is not the time to plant grass. Had I been here all of July I believe I could have saved most of it. Watching the weather reports on the web from SW Florida the area did get about three inches of rain, but it fell during a two day period only.

It's obvious lack of water was the problem. After all, areas where rain water runoff soaked into the soil, grass remained healthy, whereas other areas became brown and burned out. No good pictures are available. A solution was to loosen up the soil with a neat tool I found at Lowes. It's called an extended cultivating tool made by Fiskars who specializes in garden related stuff. I had my doubts and passed it up on a few visits thinking it probably could not handle the hard clay soil I was dealing with.

Extended reach cultivator close upI should start wearing a hat or go to the hair doctor. WOW! First time I looked at that picture (below). Who is this old guy? On to the story. This tool would not have worked unless the soil was soft. After five inches of rain from tropical storm Fay, time was ideal to give it a workout. I'm the one who got the workout! The yard measures approximately 2,400 square feet. Time spent loosening the topsoil and planting new seed was about nine hours over a three day period.

Cultivating burned out lawn

After six days we have itty bitty seedlings germinating and the lawn is beginning to look green! I'm sure there's such a thing as over seeding and I'm guilty of it. I probably put enough seed down to cover 6,000 square feet. Coming from a contractor background I realize I probably blundered by doing it myself. I've seen far too many DIY'ers in my business fowl things up and have to call in the pros. We'll see if a real lawn doctor has to pay another visit. In retrospect I should have opted for calling in somebody to do some hydroseeding.

Grass growing on lawn A close look at the flagstone path with Tall Fescue growing. This is a great shade type of grass. The area gets very little direct sunlight with the exception of some low angle light in the early AM. Not more than 30 minutes. Growth is approximately three weeks.

Grass growing in between flagstone
new grass seedlingsIn conclusion I'm not losing this lawn. In fact I've invested in a tarp to cover when any downpours are threatening until the lawn has more strength to handle it on it's own. Hurricane Hanna is the next threat with heavy rains predicted for the weekend.

I found this local weather radar page to be particularly useful. I only wish it would warn me with some computer sound when threatening rain develops. Instead I find myself checking every two hours. Homestead (photo below) is located in the first image southeast of the circle with the plus sign in it.

Of particular benefit is the storm track option on this website. Once clicked on, it will show the direction of each rainstorm. You can also zoom or isolate an area by using the mouse with left button down and drawing small or large rectangles/squares. Difficult to describe. Best to check it out.
Wunderground weather map North Georgia For illustration purposes I've zoomed in on an approaching rain storm from northeastern Alabama. With this cool tool I can time any rain by about five minutes, unless a thunderstorm suddenly pops up over my house. Using the animation option allows a 30 minute view where storms (arrows will change direction) can be tracked if they are changing direction.

Zoomed closer...

With 17 minutes elapsed from the above photo to below, the storm has changed direction by moving more to the east southeast instead of due east

 Storm is changing direction, splitting

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