Lawn Care Help Needed

Spring is coming early to us in Las Vegas and it is time to start thinking about what to do about that lawn in the backyard (I have gravel in the front yard).

Right now, it is the usual green/brown with a few patches that look dead.

I know back in the midwest, grass would grow on its own. However, out here there is no soil, just rock and fine rock underneath the grass so it needs help. I have tried the internet, but it seems that every site has a different idea of what to do.

To give a reference, the grass was bought as sod three years ago and has done fairly well so far, but is now starting to look like Matt Lauer’s hair.

The questions:

Should I cut the grass very short this weekend and then fertilize it?
Should I wait to do this until it gets warmer (it is in the mid 60’s to low 70’s now).
What is the best fertilizer?
I have heard some golf courses let the grass basically die and then re-seed the whole thing every year - is this a plan?

What kind of grass is on your lawn? That makes a big difference and what are the avg. daily temps there now?

Just taking a wild guess (I live in the midwest) about your grass in Nevada, but I would suppose nothing would grow there but bermuda (turf grasses that is). Bermuda grass really doesn’t “kick in” until temps are about in the 80’s, but if you want a really green lawn, hit it with some high nitrogen fertilizer. The fertilizer rating is in 3 numbers, first being nitrogen, you dont want to burn you lawn but then again if it is bermuda it can take alot. I would suggest using a walking spreader with a 42-0-0 fertilizer to give it a kickstart. Keep in mind you will be the only one mowing every weekend in March though, your choice.

I don’t mind mowing…have an electic mower and about 1000 square feet of lawn.

The sod I bought was grown out here…it is a mixture of three although off the top of my head I can’t remember what they are. (Combination bermuda, fescue and …?..)
I know about grass in the midwest…I used to have a job cutting grass for the city where I grew up. The problem is that I am used to Illinois grass that would continue to grow even if a nuclear bomb hit.

Out here it is a bit more difficult. First of all, in the summer the sun is brutal…and before anyone gets on my case, I follow the Nevada guidelines with watering. Water is not the problem.

Basically it is a POOR SOIL environment, but lots of sun and ample irrigation system.

The grass would probably grow if I did nothing, but there are those dead spots and the rest of it is starting to look a little sparse. What I need to know is when and what I should do to start to bring it back to its original growth.

Lots of water usually gets most lawns back. Throw on some grass seed & water it in. If you want a deep nice green, use iron, it comes as a liquid & you spray it on.

The best source of free info is your local county’s Agricultural Extension Agent.

The best fertilizer in my region is Jirdon’s Greenmaster. It contains some iron, which most fertilizers don’t. Safegreen brand from the Safeway store also contains iron.

Liquid fertilizer washes away too fast and pollutes groundwater. Better brands of dry fertilizer have a coating which functions as a timed-release mechanism.

Dead-looking grass may only be dormant. Even if some spots are really dead, healthy turf will spread to fill in the dead spots in a few weeks.

spreading top soil could help. watering a lot always helps.

vigiro is really good stuff.

My neighbor used to put Milorganite on his lawn, it was always green even though that stuff has pretty low nitrogen. Milorganite is dry recycled sewage sludge.

The easiest solution to your problem is…hire ChemLawn. For a lazy bastard who thought that he could treat his lawn with fertilizer and nitrogen and the like but just wound up burning it and turning the whole thing into dandelion Xanadu, they worked wonders for me!

An even better solution would be drastically reducing or eliminating the lawn entirely, for less work, cost and water savings.

The local university horticulture department should have suggestions on native drought-resistant plantings that would look good year-round. And no mowing.

The last time I looked, Las Vegas was in the desert. Turf grasses are not native to the area and trying to raise and maintain a lawn is pissing in the ocean.

Xeriscaping is what you want to get into (landscaping with plants that require very little moisture).

I’ll second plnnr, but if you have your heart set on a nice green lawn, the best thing you can do is add organic matter. Compost, and lots of it.

It’s safe to add one-quarter inch of soil or whatever to your lawn every month or so during the growing season.

Chemlawn uses liquid fertilizer. I repeat: liquid fertilizer washes away too fast and pollutes groundwater.

Btw: if you use fertilizer which contains iron be sure to clean any spillage off of the sidewalk. If you don’t, little rusty-colored spots will appear on the sidewalk when the fertilizer granules dissolve.