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planting grass seeds

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From: Carol Caruso
Hiram, OH
recently we planted grass seed and unfortunately was wash out (twice) due to heavy rains in our area. The grass is finally coming up and after a good month or so my husband fertilized, well low & behold we had another heavy rain. Now the new grass seems to be browning in certain areas (patchy spots). Could you tell me what we can do to these patchy brown spots, will the grass come back in these areas and why did this happen? We are so frustrated at this point.



Extension Message
From: Douglas B. Gucker
Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
DeWitt/Macon/Piatt Unit
Carol- What you are seeing is fertilizer damage caused by the heavy rain pooling the fertilizer nutrients in spots and killing the young grass roots. The good news is that you were able to establish grass in June. This is very difficult to do, because our lawn grasses are cool season grasses (i.e. - they like temperatures below 90 degrees). Now for the bad news, you will need to reseed the brown patches. Depending what your temperatures are like in Ohio, you may need to hold off till mid-August for cooler temperatures. When you reseed these patches, use a garden rake to loosen the soil in those areas. Then spread your grass seed over the patches and lightly rake it in. Then take your garden rake or hoe and tamp down the soil to insure that your grass seed is in good contact with the soil. The best time to fertilize your lawn is in the fall after a killing frost. This insures that you fertilize the grass and not any annual weeds. In addition, this will help your grass to go into the winter with strong roots and good food reserves. I hope this helps,

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