Early August Front Lawn Check-In (2019)
This is the first season that I've taken a high degree of interest in our lawn. This is also the first time that I'm cutting the grass (in the front) by myself. For the past few seasons, we've used a service to cut the front (while Go-Go - our Automower - cuts the back) and I wasn't ever really pleased with how they worked our lawn. They came every week, no matter what and that, I think, made for a less-than-ideal lawn for us. There were some ruts that I fixed this Spring with seed and I think generally, they were cutting it too short and coming EVERY WEEK just to put in the billings. I get that. They're running a business. But, when the price increases came this Spring, I just decided to buy a lawnmower. My FIRST lawn mower and cut it myself. The front itself isn't very big (including the parkways and the side strip on the other side of the driveway, we're talking less than 2,500 square feet), so it doesn't take long. And, once I started to cut the lawn, I started to enjoy it.
And I've started to take the process a bit more seriously. YouTube has been a big help there and I've taken in tons of lawn care folks there. Because of some of the tips I found there, I started to put down Milorganite (which...despite their claims, does, indeed burn!) and bought and spread a granular Humic Acid. I also had my soil tested and utilized a blue spray pattern in my herbicide applications.
One thing that I didn't post about (but I should now that I'm thinking about it) is that I also put down an application of Ironite to help green-up the lawn during the hot time of year the past month.
I've taken some advice on cutting the lawn and have it set really high. In fact, I use the highest setting on my Ego lawn mower.
And I have to say: the grass looks good! Dark and lush. Look at it in the top photo. And in these few below:
However, since I'm so new at actually paying attention the grass, there is something that is going on that I'm not sure is normal. When I take my hand and bend the blades over, I see this below:
Sure, there's green. But, also a lot of yellows and browns. Is this a fungus? Is this normal? I don't know.
And if I go in a little bit further, and take my fingers and actually spread things out even more, I find what appears to me to be what I'll call 'gaps'. From the overhead, the grass is full and thick and luss. But, when you spread it, the grass blades aren't set in a very tight pattern. And...is that brown stuff thatch?
Like I said, I'm new to this whole "Lawn Care Crazy" thing, so I don't know if this is normal. But, I do know that if the 'ideal state' for lawn care crazy people is to have a super-short, reel mower-cut lawn that resembles the fairway of a golf course, my grass isn't *that*. I am cutting this stuff high - which is supposed to have some benefits (like crowding out weeds and shading the soil which should keep moisture in), but if I was to cut it shorter, I wonder if these 'gaps' would show through? Or would all this yellow and brown stuff show through, too?
This is the third season with this sod. The soil underneath this sod isn't terribly unhealthy. It is low in all N-P-K, but I'm not certain that's the issue? Is this a fungus? Should I treat it? Should I overseed these 'gaps'? Should I amend things with a compost? Should I aearate or de-thatch?
I am not sure about anything!
To find out what I should do, I figured that I should consult the Master Gardener at the University of Illinois. They're mostly garden-people. Flowers, vegetables, shrubs. They've helped me in the past by confirming that we had Ostrich Ferns in our yard and just last year, I emailed them to help identify a couple of trees and they confirmed we have Mulberry trees and American Elms in our yard.
I sent them these photos and my soil treatment/fertilizer program details. Hoping they'll be able to handle turf questions and steer me in the right direction.
I suppose that there's good news though: the lawn looks great! From about 5 feet away. Kinda like me!