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Thickening my Bermuda

9314 Views 56 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  SoCalLowMow
I recently, within 2 weeks, just aerated my lawn and laid down some Milos but my lawn isn't thick. I also laid down Milos about 4 weeks prior. What else can I do to help this along? I'm in San Antonio, TX. Thank you in advance.

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raldridge2315 said:
You need to put tuna fish cans in each zone to measure how much water you are actually putting down in that time. Then adjust your time so that you get 1" per week.
That works. I also consider the soil texture and climate conditions when figuring out how much water can and should be given. Sandy soils, it is a waste to try to put down an inch only once a week. In more clay soils, an inch+ is where I would be headed. For the longest time, I maintained a Bermuda lawn during a decade of drought by applying an inch+ of water once a week. This is on clay soil, fairly high humidity, and temperatures reaching a maximum of 95. I know requirements are different if the soil is different, humidity is lower, and temperatures are higher.
The sprinklers your little ones are running through are throughout the lawn, yes? I recognize those as regular pop up sprinklers. At a normal spacing and arrangement, they put down an inch of water in 30 minutes. You might need to apply 1.5 inches because it is Texas. If I were having trouble with water penetration, timing would look like 10 minutes on, an hour off, 10 on, and another hour off followed by 10 minutes, another hour to soak in and then the final 15 minutes.

Clay soil that has a compaction/water penetration problem is a candidate for a soil test(pH, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium levels), and possible usage of a soluble/sprayable Humic formula. The Humic can help re arrange the soil so it is less likely to pack together. A problem in my area is alkaline soil that is the texture of grease when it is wet and hard as a brick when dry. Usage of humic products has helped those soils to not be like grease when wet and to crumble when dry.
Gypsum only helps if you are dealing with acidic soil that happens to be Sodium contaminated. Otherwise, the Gypsum will sit in a layer on the ground surface and take decades to penetrate downward. I have seen and dealt with alkaline clay where amendment with Gypsum was attempted. Wasted work. The only thing to show for it was elevated Calcium levels and the same grease like texture. Other worthy amendments are Citric Acid applied at 2 lb per 1000 sq ft per month. That will attack and break down the Calcium and Magnesium Carbonate responsible for hardening the soil.
Gabrielg1002 said:
What products would you recommend for a wetting agent and/or humic acid?
In clay soils, wetting agents do not do that much unless there is a water repellent thatch layer keeping the water away from the soil. For the Humic products, I like the ones that consist of a Humic/Fulvic blend. Kelp4Less sells Humic and Fulvic. I am partial to a product made by Andersons Golf called Ultra Mate SG. However, a lot of this matters not if your soil pH is over 7.

Diminished availability of the elements you might recognize as minerals or metals even in the presence of adequate Nitrogen often causes grass that is alive but not thriving. My eyes see a grass that is getting enough Nitrogen and water, but the Micronutrients are possibly limiting. The grass also has the look of growing on soil with a pH over 7. Bermuda is a dark green when growing under good conditions. I am also careful about applying Phosphorus from any source, including Milorganite. High levels of Phosphorus have been known to complex with other nutrients and make them less available. After getting your soil tested, you may be instructed to apply fertilizers supplying Nitrogen and not as Milorganite. You may also be instructed to add granulated Sulfur. Do it. Sulfur in and of itself is an essential nutrient, in addition to an aid for correcting soil pH.
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