fertilizer burn

fertilizer burn

lawnfreak – posted 17 June 2002 10:48

I burned my lawn with fertilizer. I either put too much on, applied when turf was wet, or didn’t water in after application. Bottomline, my grass now has burned (brown) spots all over.

Wanting to repair and fix this problem, and after reading some information online, I concluded that the best way to handle it would be to dig up the bad grass a couple inches in, discard, and refill with good topsoil. Then, apply some sod (or plugs) 6 inches apart allowing it to eventually grow in.

Wow, what a lot of work it has become but I don’t think I have any other choice.

Does anyone know if this is my only viable option? Would you do anything different?

I’m really bummed that I burned my lawn because it was really looking strong.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

WillR – posted 17 June 2002 20:52

I am not yard specialist, or even profess to be, but what I think I would do in your case is water heavily and just see what happens over time.

If the yard is truely destroyed, then you can resod.

I’ve done worse to my St. Augustine, and just sat back with some patience … everything turned out wonderful in the end.

lawnfreak – posted 19 June 2002 11:32

Thanks WillR for your help.

I think the brown spots are destroyed grass. I think that the good grass around it will eventually grow in it’s place but it seems like it would take a lot longer that way. It seems that if I removed the dead (destroyed) grass and put in new soil in it’s place, that would help facilitate the process a little.

I just want green grass there again ASAP. It disturbs me looking at the lawn everyday with brown, dead patches throughout.

Who knows. I’m just really mad at myself right now.

WillR – posted 19 June 2002 14:45

Rule 1: Breathe.

Rule 2: Breathe again.

Rule 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 until anger has passed.

Then you can take a moment or two and decide what the proper way to do things are.

What kind of grass are we speaking of anyway? If it is St. Augustine grass, then I would just leave well enough alone and water the snot out of it. St. Augustine is a hungry grass and will recover surprisingly well and quickly.

For instance, my 3 year old daughter snuck out to my lawn shed and found a bottle of Round-up. She went out to the yard and sprayed a couple of what I thought was HUGE patches of my St. Augustine. I never knew it was happening as I was at work.

Later that night when I got off ER duty and made it home, my daughter greets me with shining blue eyes so proudly telling me “Daddy, I killed that crab grass!”. The next moring, I had big ole dead spots where my St. Augustine used to be.

I first thought about raking out what was now thatch, but decided it would be better to leave it in place as it still had value in holding water, and repelling weeds. Within the month, the surrounding St. Augustine reclaimed the dead spots, and now you cannot tell this fiasco ever happened.

Lession learned: Patience is a virtue.

Good luck!

lawnfreak – posted 19 June 2002 16:08


Gotta love kids! So you totally know what I’m going through.

I don’t know for sure what kind of grass I have. I THINK I do have St. Augustine but not for sure. I really think it’s a mixture of bermuda and St. Augustine and maybe some fescue. However, that has been another frustrating problem; not knowing for sure what I have.

I’m thinking of taking your advice and leaving the front lawn alone. Not digging up the bad grass. However, one question. When you say to water heavily, what exactly do you mean? I water three times a week with sprinklers right now for 1/2 hour each station / day. Should I increase this because of my dead grass? Also, I’m somewhat worried to do that because I don’t want to create problems for the good grass still remaining. (too much water)

At this point, I’ll do whatever it takes to regain a full green lawn.

Thank you so much for helping me.

WillR – posted 19 June 2002 18:43

Ok, if you have St. Augustine, it will look like this:

It will have a large runner (called a Stolon) that looks like this:

Now if this is in fact what you have, here is what I do:

1. I wait to water until I see just a touch of wilt on the leaves of the grass. When the leaves of the grass just start to curl up, I water. When I water, I get like a soaker hose and I water from the house until I see it run out into the street. This takes most of a day, sometimes longer. I try not to water at night because I dont want to run the risk of a fungus (which prodominately happens in warm weather). You want the water deep in the ground under the thatch. Remember, I said St. Augustine is a hungry grass, but you can “train” it to grow it’s roots deep by watering to wilt.

2. I fertilize in the fall with Scott’s Bonus S, then again in March with the same. In May, I will use Turf Builder, then again in November. After that, I seldom fertilize again. (The more you water and fertilize, the faster the grass grows, and the more maintence it requires).

3. If my grass turns a little bit yellow, I will give it iron, but I have only had to do this once.

4. I am careful to watch for broad leafed weeds such as “crab grass”. Most thin leafed plants such as Centepede and Bermuda wont hurt your St. Augustine. Something broad and agressive like crab grass however can grow on top of your St. Augustine and choake it out, so be sure you are watching for their seed pods and have them pulled before they germinate (its already too warm now to herbicide them). If you have Torpedo grass, just pull it as much as you can, you will not get rid of Torpedo grass (if anyone knows any different, then please tell me how), but atleast Torpedo grass will go dormant in the Winter, whereas the St. Augustine continues to grow there by gaining ground on all your weeds and grasses that are in with it (St. Augustine is an evergreen).

5. When you mow, keep the mower high (I keep mine at 4-5 inches). This way, the St. Augustine stays on top of most anything that I do not want in my yard, and since I am in North Florida, if I get a freeze, I tend to only stress the top of the leaves and not the roots below.

If you’d like to chat with me about this sometime, I can be found by e-mail (will@teamtpg.net). From there, I can give you my ICQ numbers.

If possible, get a digital image of your turf and maybe we can all help you decrypt your mystery.

Good luck!

!an – posted 06 July 2005 11:28

I need some help also….here in Houston, we had .10 rain in June and my st. augie is browner than my tan. I’ve tried to overwater as recommended and am quickly running out of paitence. The house and yard are less than 1 year old and i need help asap! Please somone advise correctly. My yard is/was my 3rd baby (after my kids) and it’s depressing as hell to see it die

Alex_in_FL – posted 15 July 2005 17:55

Overwatering is as bad as underwatering. Here is what I recommend:

1. Water 2 times weekly for about 3/4 -1 inch (put out a pan and measure depth).

2. Either A: Take a sample to a nearby Agricultural Agent and ask for help or B: Treat for fungus with a spray and chinchbugs with a solid type insecticide (or vice versa).

Good luck!!!

[This message has been edited by Alex_in_FL (edited 16 July 2005).]

BuckeyeTurf06 – posted 15 June 2008 11:37

I disagree (somewhat) with Alex’s advice. His second presented option makes me think he’s a nozzlehead b/c he’s rushing to put chemicals on the lawn that you may not necessarily need. The problem is, you let your lawn die b/c you thought 1/10″ of rain would actually work on your lawn, chalk that up to experience for next time. I only know of 2 things that have come back from the dead, Jesus and Lazarus. Swallow your pride (and anger), re-sod, and next time pay attention in Biology class when they go over that part about “plants need water”. I’m just giving you a hard time about that part. Good luck.

Alex_in_FL – posted 12 October 2008 04:47

Hi Buckeye:

Interesting how you percieved the post. My last option was to apply chemicals, the first was seek help form an expert. (For the record, I am a REM overseeing T&E habitat and advising on chemical use minimization – thus I am not a nozzlehead )

It would be interesting to know what happened to her yard…..

windstrings – posted 12 November 2008 06:59

I wonder if some aggressive aeration would help?

That would bring dirt up from the depths to mix with and dilute with the dirt on top, as well as hold water better and allow the roots to bathe in something besides concentrated fertilizer, then be dry from runoff?

If it hasn’t been done for a while.. seems it could only help.

But I’m a newbie.. so take what I say as a grain of salt.

stefano79 – posted 26 February 2013 01:14

If you want to read more about turf fertilizer or how to use them, you can try to visit Haifa Group site, which provide a lot of information about fertilizers

[This message has been edited by stefano79 (edited 24 April 2013).]

stefano79 – posted 24 April 2013 03:49


stefano79 – posted 24 April 2013 03:51

quote:Originally posted by stefano79:If you want to read more about turf fertilizer or how to use them, you can try to visit Haifa Group site, which provide a lot of information about fertilizers

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