Rushville Republican

Agriculture

October 5, 2012

Purdue Extension has advice for repairing drought-damaged lawns

RUSHVILLE — Many homeowners with drought-damaged lawns have some decisions to make about how to repair them now that it’s the season. A Purdue turf grass Extension specialist says it mostly comes down to answering this question: Do I reseed, or will fertilizing be enough to recover my lawn?

First, the problem: Most grass species in Indiana are “cool-season grasses,” said Aaron Patton, who also is an assistant professor of agronomy. “They like cooler weather with adequate water.”

That’s not what lawns got this summer, when rain was scarce and temperatures were often in the 90s - even soaring above 100 degrees. Many lawns sustained damage or died from the heat and dry conditions.

Patton and Cale Bigelow, an associate professor of agronomy who specializes in turf grass science and management, offer guidance to homeowners on the website Purdue Turf Tips.

Some of their advice:

Seed or fertilize? It depends on the size of the damaged area. Patton advises that if an area between clumps of surviving grass is larger than your hand print, then it probably needs to be reseeded.

Damaged areas that are smaller could be treated with fertilizer to encourage growth and recovery. When buying fertilizer, look on the label for a high percentage of nitrogen content. “That’s the nutrient that helps plants grow the most,” Patton said.

Seeding: Types of seed to buy will depend on whether the area is sunny, shady or a mix of both.

Fine fescues, such as creeping fescue, are good for shady areas. Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue are ideal for lawns with full sun. “Tall fescue has gained popularity over the last few years in that it keeps its green color longer during drought,” Patton said. A mix of tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass works well in areas of high traffic.

Patton advised against buying products stating that the seed establishes itself quickly. Such seeds typically have a lot of annual ryegrass, which is not cold-hardy or tolerant of heat and drought.

“It is not a long-term species for your lawn,” he said. “Just be real careful when you’re buying seed to make sure you get the right turf species.”

Site preparation for seeding: Remove debris and patches of dead grass with a garden rake to ensure that the new seed contacts the soil.

“If we can get the seed down to that area, it will have a much better chance of getting established,” Patton said.

In addition, aeration is a good way to prepare lawns for seeding, and you also get the added benefits of reducing soil compaction and improving rooting and water infiltration.

Starter fertilizers: Such fertilizers are high in phosphorus - good for new lawns established from seed. “It helps a newly seeded lawn to develop its root system and grow strong,” Patton said.

Herbicides: They can damage seedlings if applied too soon after seeding. Patton advises reading the product instructions to determine how soon you can apply after seeding, often after cutting the new grass three times.

1
Text Only
Agriculture
  • Farmers should start to consider winter annual weed burndown WEST LAFAYETTE -- Farmers need to start scouting their fields for winter annual weeds and making decisions about spring burndown herbicide applications, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Nearly all fields will require some form of spring herbic

    April 25, 2014

  • Indiana farmers forced to make tough corn planting decisions WEST LAFAYETTE -- For Indiana farmers with a lot of acreage to plant, two Purdue Extension agronomists say it's probably time to start planting corn while keeping in mind best agronomic practices. Until recent days, cold temperatures and wet soils ke

    April 25, 2014

  • Indiana 4-H reaching more young people in inner cities WEST LAFAYETTE - 4-H is doing more to reach out to Indiana young people by reaching into inner cities. Because urban areas tend to not have a strong tradition of 4-H, Purdue Extension is creating new programs in heavily urban Lake, Marion and Allen c

    April 25, 2014

  • It's rhubarb time Rhubarb, also known as pieplant, is an herbaceous perennial grown for its unique, tart flavor of the thick leaf stalks (petioles). Rhubarb sends up its thick, edible stalks early in the spring, a much-anticipated harbinger of the coming growing seaso

    April 25, 2014

  • Farmer ships Vidalia onions ahead of start date SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - A major grower of Georgia's famous Vidalia onions said Wednesday he had begun shipping his crop early to supermarkets in defiance of the state agriculture commissioner, who has warned that a new regulation prohibits farmers from

    April 18, 2014

  • Hurt: WASDE report eases fear of low crop prices WEST LAFAYETTE - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's April 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates continued a series of recent reports that have offered corn and soybean producers a more optimistic grain-price outlook than what was expecte

    April 18, 2014

  • Seminar to discuss quality forages, quality meat for producers WEST LAFAYETTE - Forage and livestock producers who want to learn about the role forage quality plays in meat quality can attend the Indiana Forage Council seminar. This year's seminar, Quality Forage-Quality Meat, will be held in conjunction with th

    April 11, 2014

  • Purdue Agriculture and Extension events Here is a look at current and upcoming events for Purdue Agriculture and Extension. APRIL 9-16: HARDWOOD LUMBER WORKSHOP The Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources is offering a workshop for those interested in the hardwood in

    April 11, 2014

  • Ag economist: Baby pig losses greatest in winter months WEST LAFAYETTE -- The impact of the PED virus in swine was felt most strongly during the unusually harsh winter months of December through February, Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt said Monday. He said this means the losses of bab

    April 4, 2014

  • Study reveals farmers' buying preferences, concerns WEST LAFAYETTE -- Agribusiness leaders nationwide can use results from a new Purdue University study to help them become more successful by understanding their farmer customers better. The Large Commercial Producer Survey, conducted every five years

    April 4, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Obama Tours Gyeongbok Palace Swimmer Michael Phelps Back in Competition Raw: Obama Lays Korean War Memorial Wreath Obama Leads Naturalization Ceremony in Seoul Calif. School Bus Crash Hurts Driver, 11 Kids Country Club for Exotic Cars Little Science Behind 'Pollen Vortex' Prediction US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.