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Q: Excessive fertilization on lawn grass ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Excessive fertilization on lawn grass
Category: Family and Home > Gardening
Asked by: gordonc-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 17 Apr 2005 08:06 PDT
Expires: 17 May 2005 08:06 PDT
Question ID: 510407
I have a lawn that is 2 years old.  The sod is Marathon.  Last week I
spread dry granules of fertilizer, but unfortunately I did not keep the
bag so I don't know the brand or the percentages of the contents of
this fertilizer.  Now that summer is near and it does not rain, my
sprinkler system comes on now for 10 minutes each morning 5 days a
and I live in sunny Southern California.

Within 2 days the grass started turning brown from where I applied the
fertilizer too heavy so I assume I have "burned" the grass.

1. Is there anything I can do to put on the lawn to help neutralize
the fertilizer or reduce the damage?

2. As a general question will the grass return or will this completely kill it?  

3. Are there any other solutions or steps I can take to save my lawn?
Subject: Re: Excessive fertilization on lawn grass
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 17 Apr 2005 13:03 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi gordonc,

Thank you for your intereting question.

"I have an area in my lawn that I burned pretty badly with fertilizer
this past fall. I have watered but nothing else. What should I do to
help my lawn out this spring when it greens up? Is there anything that
can neutralize the area? The grass is St. Augustine."

"Unfortunately there isn?t much you can do when you overdo it with
fertilizer, except water and wait. Before putting out plugs of new
sod, have your soil tested this spring. Take a pint of soil from the
area where the burn occurred, and take a pint of soil from your
general lawn, then compare. If the salts levels are still high, you
may want to hold off on putting out new sod. If they are closer to
normal, go ahead and re-sod or plug in sod. Thankfully, nitrogen which
has the greatest potential for burn, also leaches out of the soil the


"How do I repair yellow burn marks from too much fertilizer?" 

"Once the burn marks show up there is nothing you can do but replace
the grass. I would cut out the area, remove 1 inch of soil, add new
soil and seed, or sod, depending on which would blend in faster, which
is usually the seed. If you ever spill fertilizer over a small area,
rake it up and remove as much as possible, then water the area heavily
for several weeks."

Patching Dead Grass

"Maintaining a beautiful lawn can be a lot of work. Lack of water, too
much water, too much thatch, insects, over fertilization and an over
abundance of weeds can all play factors in the demise of all or part
of your lawn. Due to these varying factors, brown spots may occur in
your lawn. These spots are easy to repair and you can see the fruits
of your labor in about 3-4 weeks."


Too much fertilizer will almost immediately burn out your grass. Your
only choice is to wait until it decomposes. When spreading fertilizer,
make sure to check the bag for settings that match your spreader."

See 15 suggestions on repair.


"I have spilled a bag of fertilizer on my lawn and it has created a
dead spot, about 10 ft in diameter. is there anything I can do to fix
this for this season?"

That's a tough one. It doesn't really matter what kind of fertilizer
it was, you'll probably not be able to "fix" that spot until fall. If
it didn't have crabgrass preventer or weed killer in it, you may be
able to plant grass seed in about 30 days. You need to water the area
really well to help flush the chemicals out. And the problem with
planting grass seed that late is that it will be hard to maintain when
it gets hot. It won't have enough time to get well established before
summer. You could possibly try some sod in 30 days. But again,
depending on the type of fertilizer spilled, that may or may not


Some good advice at eHow - How to Repar Bald Spots on Grass

Read 1-8, with illlustrations and an overall tip at the end.


You might want to try Scott's PatchMaster Lawn Repair Mix.

The easiest and fastest way to fix smaller, isolated bare spots is to
use PatchMaster Lawn Repair Mix. It's a combination of Scotts grass
seed, Starter Fertilizer, and a mulch - all blended together in a
single package. All you do is scratch up the soil surface in the bare
spots, scatter the PatchMaster material, and water regularly. In a
week or so, the new grass will be sprouting.


"The front lawn is 75 percent weeds, mostly clover, dandelions and
plantain, and 25 percent grass," he says, "and when she tried to weed
and feed it, she wound up burning the lawn with too much fertilizer.
Plus, you shouldn't fertilize while it's raining."


"After raking up the dead vegetation and leveling the soil, he
suggested adding a layer of top soil and then seed or sod.
"I would recommend a good wear-and-tear seed for full sun exposure
such as perennial rye grass -- 1 pound will cover 500 square feet of
bare soil," he says. "In about two or three weeks, the lawn will be
Hickey also recommended the use of a liquid or granular fertilizer
four or five times a year during the warm months. The final and most
important application should happen before Labor Day."


Repair the Lawn

"Repairing a lawn problem is a two-step process. First, try to
determine the underlying cause. Sometimes an accident, such as a
fertilizer spill, creates a bare spot in the lawn. Or the cause might
be chronic disease, destructive insects, or competition for light and
moisture from overgrown neighboring plants. Correct these deficiencies
first, or your repair efforts will be futile.

Give a thin, tired lawn new vitality and disease resistance by
overseeding it with new grass seed. In northern states, do this in the
fall, so the cool-season grasses have time to develop strong roots
before they have to face summer. In southern states, repair lawns of
warm-weather grasses in the spring by sprigging or plugging -- these
grasses need warm weather to grow well."


Some excellent advice at this Forum:

More here:


I also recommend you contact your County Local Extension Office
because they can offer you more suggestions on what to do.

"These offices are staffed by one or more experts who provide useful,
practical, and research-based information to agricultural

Southern California Counties Click on the map to select a county


Search strategy - various combinations of the following keywords:

repair establsihed sod turf lawn too much fertilizer burned grass


Best regards,
gordonc-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Excessive fertilization on lawn grass
From: denngy-ga on 28 Jun 2005 15:34 PDT
You can train the dog. That is it. 
Pick a place, use sawdust or mulch and
train the dog.
Use Pryor's excellent book if you are uncertain about training



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