Lawn Improvement Spotlight: Dave “Softy” Mahler
Lawn Improvement Spotlight
Dave “Softy” Mahler of KJR 950 AM Radio
Back in mid-May, Hendrikus Organics was delighted to partner with Dave “Softy” Mahler of KJR 950 AM Sports Radio with our offer to restore his lawn to a beautiful green space that could be enjoyed all summer long.
A Closer Look at Softy’s Lawn Issues
Upon taking a closer look at Softy’s lawn, Hendrikus Organics turf expert Michael observed yellowing grass, thatch, moss, very wet clay soil, and an overall lack of life – Softy’s lawn was hungry and needed some love!
Due to the presence of pale yellowing grass, Michael already knew that the soil lacked nitrogen but also wanted to see what other nutrients were needed before he got started with the lawn restoration. A sample of Softy’s soil was sent out for testing, and showed that Softy’s soil also tested high for phosphorus.
Michael knew that fertilizing alone would not be enough to bring life back to the soil, which is essential for sustainable, healthy, weed-free growth.
Michael, accompanied by Chris, Hendrikus Organics turf specialist, later rolled-in armed with a truckload of all the essentials of our Turf Program and got to work. They got right to work performing turf first-aid! The result? A vibrant lush green lawn that would make any playful dog jump for joy, and any outdoor summer BBQ that much more special.
The Turf Program Deconstructed
Next, Michael and Chris pulled out the big guns and dethatched the lawn using a power dethatcher. Using a power dethatcher is less labor intensive than raking out all of the excess thatch manually and does an excellent job removing heavy thatch in the lawn. Michael and Chris then raked away all of the moss, weeds, and thatch to clean the lawn up. This was needed so that nutrients could actually get down to where they matter the most, the root zone. All of the lawn waste was then loaded up and hauled away.
After being dethatched, Ladd from In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes used a power aerator to open up the soil so oxygen and nutrients could reach down to the root zone to feed the grass.
Once dethatching and aerating were complete, Michael and Chris placed 160 lbs of AxisDE™ (diatomaceous earth) per 1,000 sq. ft. on the surface of the soil, making sure to get as much into the plug holes left behind as they could.
Diatomaceous earth is made up of fossilized plankton from prehistoric times and is referred to by Michael as Mother Nature’s sponge. When it is applied to soil, diatomaceous earth creates permanent air and water pockets as it does not break down over time. Acting like a sponge, diatomaceous earth absorbs excess water from rain and over-irrigation so that the soil does not become water-logged and helps reduce moss development. It then holds the water in to keep the soil moist when drier conditions persist. This leads to a less frequent need for irrigation in the future.
To give Softy’s lawn a healthy new start, Michael and Chris then over-seeded the entire front yard, back yard, and curbside patches with Hendrikus’ Sun and Shade Premium Turf Seed and applied Hendrikus’ Nitrogen Plus™ 10-0-2, OceanMagic™ 2-2-0.3 and HuMagic® Liquid to provide the soil and turf with an abundance of nutrients that would feed the grass over time. Peat moss was applied as a final dressing to help germinate the turf seed quickly and improve the texture of the soil.
Peat moss is most often used as a planting medium in potting soil and can be found at many garden centers and nurseries. It is harvested from peat bogs and is then dried out so it can be used to keep soil from compacting, while locking in moisture at the same time. As a topdress for seeding, it helps keep the seeds moist so they can germinate.
After completing Softy’s lawn renovation, noticeable results were abundant almost immediately. The turf seed started sprouting in less than two weeks, providing an instant boost of lush green color to Softy’s yard. Microbial life began to flourish under the surface and the health of the soil improved markedly. This could be seen through better soil texture and a softness to the grass that could be compared to an outdoor carpet – fit for even the most sensitive bare feet.
Another application of Nitrogen Plus™ 10-0-2 was applied 12 weeks later to give the soil another boost.
Seasons™ 8-0-4 will be applied in early Fall to maintain the nutrients in the lawn for the upcoming winter months, and sustain its health and vigor.
Come Spring, another application of AxisDE™ can be applied in the wettest areas of Softy’s yard to firm up the lawn even more.