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Organic lawn is dying - help !

9 years ago

6 years ago, following a terrible attack of brown patch, I got on David Hall's 'corn meal for brown patch and organic lawn care train' and never looked back. I finally had a drop dead gorgeous lawn that even the 'chemical companies' stopped to see.

I had soil testing done and found I had good levels of organic matter, but low in nitrogen. 3-4 times a year I add soybean meal and alfalfa pellets and water well and had grass so thick it was hard to cut. I have good drainage, sun, mow high with a mulching mower and mulch the leaves over it in the fall. I'm a good 'lawn mom'.

About six weeks ago the sunny front lawn started looked stressed and is now browning/dying in many spots. Some areas the grass is green and growing well, others it is short and sparse and awful looking. As a result of the thinning and stress, I am getting the first weeds in years. It was once so thick it choked them all out, but no more.

We noticed the problem beginning soon after our August usual source and application of soybean/alfalfa. Also, I haven't been watering as usual, but the yard next door that hasn't gotten extra water in 20 years and is mowed low every week looks fine. It's also on a 5 treatment per year 'fert/weed and insect' schedule with a chemical lawn service which makes me sad, but I have to say right now his lawn looks 10 times better than mine and that makes me sadder.

So what's going on? There is no indication of insects, no areas are easily pulled up, all just looks scorched and weak. I have good earth worm populations and don't want to break down and use a phosphorus-free lawn fertilizer, but it almost looks nitrogen starved.

Any and all thoughts will be greatly appreciated. Annie

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