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Towards the end of summer and for the whole of winter the lawn at the back of my house has been ignored. It now looks more like a farmers field and needs some attention!

There are photos here https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nh46s9xy7pyd0jz/7R5w655tU0

It's very white / yellow and is quite hard or brittle to touch. There are areas of weeds and bare patches too. I really want to get it nice for summer so my little girl can play on there. Can anyone offer any suggestions or starting points?

EDIT: Embeded some close-up photos and added more photos to the drop box link. Should be easier to see the whiteness/yellowing and the weeds etc.

Close-up of bare patch.

Close of up weeds.

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the 4 photos look identical –  Kate Gregory Feb 21 '13 at 11:53
    
I forgot to upload the closer photographs! I'm a fool! I'll add them when I get home this evening. –  Danny Feb 21 '13 at 12:09
    
@Danny if you could embed the images into your post (you can host them for free by clicking the upload link on the editor) that would help everyone. –  wax eagle Feb 21 '13 at 19:33
    
@waxeagle Didn't realise I could do that! Close up photos now embedded. I've added a few more to Dropbox too. –  Danny Feb 22 '13 at 8:56
    
Questions! How old is this lawn? Was it turf or seed, and luxury grade or utility? Have you treated it with anything in the last year, or done any maintenance at all apart from cutting? Have you had lying snow, and walked on the lawn when it was frozen/snowed over? –  Bamboo Feb 22 '13 at 16:44

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It looks like you have some lawn fungus. I would take a soil sample to a local garden center or school (if they do that in your area) and have it tested so you know where and how to start repairing.

You'll want to dethatch that lawn and start mowing it on a regular basis. Probably an aeration and over seed as well.

Unless you tear it up and replant/sod, having it repaired by summer isn't likely. Repairing that will be a process.

My first step would be the soil test, but if you don't do that consider having it aerated and over seeded with some compost and starter fertilizer. You have to start mowing that weekly (or as much as needed) about 3" in height, more if possible.

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Thanks for posting after so long! Since the OP I've been over the lawn with a scarifier and remove two 1-tonne bags of that. The issue now if that some of the weeds in the lawn that were also suppressed by the thatch are now thriving! Do you have any guidance on over-seeding? –  Danny May 10 '13 at 8:30
    
From your profile - I am not sure the best seed for UK areas. I normally over-seed after aerating & mix in a small amount of mushroom compost & starter fertilizer. Have had good results with that. I'm not sure if it will help but you may want to check out corn gluten sprays? –  Jeff May 11 '13 at 2:03
    
Do you know what kind of weeds they are? –  Jeff May 11 '13 at 2:05
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I use Scott's Weed & Feed (step 1 and 2) for dandelions. Walk around your yard with golf shoes is a cheap way to aerate - but if I was you I would actually rent a core aerator - it will tear up the yard and it into a good mess, but it recovers fairly quickly. It basically allows oxygen into the root systems and breaks up the soil for the root systems to expand easier. –  Jeff May 11 '13 at 22:41
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I'm actually going to add one more comment to this - What core aeration will do is actually cut a 'plug' (round cylinder shape) of soil from your lawn. It is meant to loosen up the soil, allow roots room to grow, and oxygen to penetrate. Don't do it too often because it is damaging to the turf grass - it needs time to heal. While poking holes work to get oxygen in - it also compacts the soil more around the hole you poked - so it is a win/lose situation. Good luck. –  Jeff May 14 '13 at 12:38

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