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
  • 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

  • USDA extends Milk Income Loss Contract program for 2014 WASHINGTON -- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia today announced the extension of the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program. The extended MILC protects dairy farmers enrolled in the program

    April 4, 2014

  • U.S., South American soybean farmers unite in China ST. LOUIS - Farmers representing countries that produce 90 percent of the world's soybeans recently met with the customers who buy 25 percent of the world's soybeans. As part of the International Soy Growers Alliance (ISGA), leaders from the soy chec

    April 4, 2014

  • Wheat producers need to inspect crop as it breaks dormancy WEST LAFAYETTE - One of Indiana's coldest, snowiest winters in recent history could have damaged some of the state's winter wheat crop - a fact that necessitates field scouting, a Purdue Extension agronomist says. While snow cover insulates winter wh

    March 28, 2014

  • Home gardeners: 'Don't be fooled' by spotty nice weather WEST LAFAYETTE - Planting a home garden at the first sign of spring weather might cause big problems later, especially when more freeze days are likely ahead, a Purdue Extension horticulture specialist says. "Don't be fooled by the odd warm day we wi

    March 28, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
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.