I think my lawn is dead

Q: We have been away and very busy with Christmas, my ‘Sir Walter’ lawn is couple of years old and looks terrible, I think it’s dead, what do I now?

 

A: As bad as it looks, it can be saved especially since it is a ‘Sir Walter’ lawn, any other type of lawn I would suggest to re turf. You need to understand that the Sunshine Coast has gone through a very long, hot and dry spell, we only have had 164mm in the last seven months, in the last month we have broken the record books for the number on days over 30 degrees, this all has an affect on the condition on homeowers lawns, the subsoil moisture levels are gone, empty. The local paper said we have broken an 71 year record for lack of rainfall for the month of January. However you will be surprised as to how well ‘Sir Walter’ can recover.

 

Solution: Remember your ‘Sir Walter’ will repair it self, depending on how bad it is as to how long it will take, to aid this repair process you can do the following: Just be on the look out for lawn grubs as they like a healthy lawn this time of year, for more info see Lawn Grubs.

 

  1. Lightly fertilize the damaged areas with Sir Walter Fertiliser (N:16, P: 1.8, K: 10) 2Kg per 100m2
  2. Top dress the damage areas with good clean weed free soil, purchased form a landscape centre, don’t smother the leaves entirely, leave them showing a bit, you will use about 1 cubic metre of soil per 100 square metres of area.( we often use garden mix as this has plenty of nutrients available, down side is it leaves alot of debris on top which can be raked off later or just run your mower over it)
  3. Water the soil in to the grass, same day
  4. Rewater again in couple of days
  5. Two or three weeks later lightly fertilize again with Sir Walter Fertiliser if needed
  6. Once your lawn has covered over completely fertilize with ‘Daleys Maintenance’ or something similar, this is a good quality slow release fertilizer, which slowly feeds your lawn over next 3 months.

Comments

  1. My lawn has suffered over Christmas break too. Now that we are having some rain, will my lawn improve or do I need to topdress and fertilize as you have stated to repair dead lawn?

  2. i live in melbourne. my sir walter lawn really suffers over winter with the my children playing on it. in large sections it is little more than patches of grass connected by expanses of soil and dead looking runners. i aerate it, fertilise it but it still takes the best part of summer before it gets back to being a ‘lawn’. any suggestions on how to speed up the process it.

    • My guess it is in some shade, if so you need to increase the sunlight if possible, the other reason could be due to water logged ground, it needs to dry out somewhat before growth can start for the summer period. If you have a heavy clayish soil then sandy loam would help to lighten the soil increasing the ability for the roots to absorb nutrients. There is something holding back your lawn, just need to find out what.

  3. My Sir Walter lawn has two dead patches. Army bettle or similar was attacking the lawn and I applied a liquid killer. A week or so latter i applied a granular army bettle killer, well known brand, to the worst attack areas, still green but fading, and this has apparently caused the dead patches. The largest is approaching one metre square and they definitly represnt the areas where i applied the granuals. Thoughts please and after 1 month no regrowth is showing.

    Michael in Mackay QLD

    • Hi Micheal, I understand you have treated your lawn for lawn grubs, good choice as this is the most common thing for lawn this time of year, however we are experiening something very different this year, our wet season is running late and no oct-nov storms, this means our soil profile is incrediblely try, and now the heat is here lawns are suffering, the odds are your lawn is very dry, best thing to do is using a suitable sprinkler, thats a slow output, like a good quality soaker hose and tap timer, and give your lawn a good soaking overnight, every 2 nights for awhile. To test this idea, try driving a peg in the lawn, and you should find it very hard, as even sand can get compacted in these dry times. Your not the only one with the similar pattern of problems, waterings need to increase as with the temperatures, then decrease in the cooler months, unfortunlately most people don’t both with the decrease then complain lawn use to much water, but with correct management lawn use less water than most trees.

  4. Hi,

    Thanks for all the suggestions above. Someone recommended mary river sand. Do you recommend that instead of weed free soil?. Also i have a dog that seems to kill some of the sir walter turf at the back in some areas. Do you recommend the same thing with that as well?

    Thanks Rob

    • Hi Rob,

      Few years ago i would only use Mary River sand as this was the only way to avoid getting nut grass in your soil, however now that has changed so what. So with that being the case we use a high quality garden mix or screened soil, the benefit is we get valuable nutrients for our lawn with the ability to store some as soil should have 5-7% clay included, where as sand has no nutrient value or the ability to store any.

      If you are on a particular wet site, very heavy clay soil, then sand would be helpful, like sippy downs here on the sunshine coast. If you were on the beach front with sand as your profile then it would be wrong to use sand again as a top dressing.

      We have top dressed 2 houses in the same street, at the same time and the difference was large, the lawn repaired it self in half the time using screen soil of a high quality, remember you get what you pay for inregards to soils.

      • Hi

        I live at Peregian and have a sir walter lawn that has some large dead looking patches which I think were due to lack of water. Should I top dress the lawn at this time of year? I would be grateful for your advice

        • Hi Neil,

          The best thing to do is top dress now, as with the current turn around with the weather things are now growing, this aids recovery, so fertiliser first, 3.0 kg per 100m2 then top dress, use either screened soil or the garden mix(just mow without catcher or mulch in the larger organic bits), then water in. Depending on how bad your lawn is, you may have to repeat in 3-4 weeks time. Sir Walter is the best lawn to recover as very little weed will creep in, the natural ability of the grass variety will choke out most of the weed.

  5. Hello I have sapphire buffalo that is dying in patches. The patches have some tufts left but the rest is bare dirt. Other parts of the lawn are perfect. They started shortly after fertilising at the start of summer but are slowly getting worse. I use Eco88 and have kept the water up. I have treated for lawn grub to no effect. Any assistance would be much appreciated?

    • Hi Josh,

      Lawn in the areas that are lush and green will be where there is better soil & moisture, along with maybe some shade. The areas that have gone to tuffs will have poor soil, which shows up when the weather is hot. Light fertilise the patches, top dress using clean top soil will aid recovery, unfortunately sapphire will not repair it self as well as Sir Walter, we have replace quite a few sapphire lawns now as the weeds tend to take over, so maybe hand weed them out early.

  6. Hi, I live in Perth. The ground is extremely sandy. I have two big patches of dead grass in my “Sir Walter.” the first 12months it was an amazing lawn, 2.5 years later it terrible. I have read the above information and was wondering if the fetilising and topsoil in recommended for WA.

    Cheers

    • Hi Josh,

      Top dressing and fertilising will work fine in WA, it’s more important for you to use a garden mix as top dressing material as this will have plently of organics which will help your soil structure greatly. Remember, with sand it’s better to half the fertiliser rates but do it more often, as sand doesn’t retain any nutrients, every 6-8 weeks you should be giving your lawn a light fertilise until fully recovered.

  7. Hi,

    I live in Ballarat, Vic.
    We have recently (about a month ago) laid 40 square metres of sir walter, along with the suggested fertiliser, it seems to be rooting slowly and we have kept up the water to it but it seems to have brown patches throughout each piece of turf.
    Are we doing something wrong? Or is this normal for some to die off early on whilst establishing?

    • Providing you are keeping the water up to your lawn in the early stages of it taking root, it shouldn’t brown off. Make sure to give your lawn a drink after mowing on a warm day. Your lawn probably could do with another light fertilise with Sir Walter fertiliser to help green it up and make sure to water in well.
      We also have a new product available online which is a slow release fertiliser called Professional Turf fertililser and has trace elements for a strong healthy lawn. This product should be used when your lawn is healthy, to slowly release nutrients over a 10-12 week period. It means your lawn will stay greener and stronger for longer. Apply Spring, Summer and Autumn.

  8. Hi,
    I am in Melbourne- oak park
    We recently had approx 200 m2 of buffalo lawn laid in May by a Gardner. It’s August now and of the 200 m2 only 5-6 patches have shown some new grass growth. Rest of the grass looks brown and dried up with some green leafs in it( looks like it’s dead). Today I lifted one of the brown patches to see if the roots have attached to ground but I could easily lift the patch without seeing any roots attached to soil at all. I am now really worried as its already August and there’s no new grass at all and it looks dead. Is that normal for grass to look like that if laid in winter/ cold weather. Can I do anything to save it or it’s not going to work anymore and I just have to think I wasted all my money. I tried to ring the Gardner and ask but he just hung up on me saying it’s not his problem anymore and it’s cold weather. I applied season but with no effect after 1 months. Please help

    • Hi Jay,
      Your lawn should be green by now, and roots should have been present too, its hard to tell without a photo to see how much green leaf is there, if its Sir Walter then you could nurse it back to life as it’s one of the best varieties as it’s so hardy, and will compete with the weeds the best.

  9. In WA you will always be struggling to keep your lawn green. If you are fed up of endless watering and fertilising, you could always consider painting it green.

    This is not as silly as it seems, and the idea has been in use in California for years, as well on golf courses.

    The paints are fully non-phytotoxic and often contain UV filters to help provide ongoing protection against the harsh summer sun in WA.

    Check out our gallery at instantgreengrass.com.au and if you are in Perth, give us a call!

    Max

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