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Do My Own Lawn Care - How to Fix Lawn Damage

By DoMyOwn staff

Paul does a follow up on his liquid fertilizer and plant growth regulator application he did a couple of weeks ago. He will go over what happened, how he fixed it and what he learned from it.

Video Transcript

Alright, so ready for the grand reveal on the liquid fert and plant growth regulator app? Brace yourselves, ready? Here we go...

Not all that exciting is it?

You probably saw it better from the opening drone shots but there's still some discoloration or streaks through the yard from that liquid fertilizer app. So, what exactly happened?

Yeah, I totally burned the yard.

So how did this happen? How did I burn my yard with that liquid fertilizer? It has nothing to do with the product itself. It's all on me.

Somehow, some way, I misread the label and I got the number 32 ounces per gallon in my head. And while that's ok and that's on the label that you can go 32 ounces per gallon, the problem is I used that 32 ounces per gallon for a four gallon back pack sprayer. Which means, I put in two gallons of water. I put in 128 ounces, which equals one gallon of liquid fertilizer, and then I needed to put two more gallons on top of that. So, I had two gallons of water, one gallon of liquid fertilizer, where's the other two gallons going to go? You can't put five gallons in a four gallon backpack sprayer. So...

So what that actually means is I only put 3 gallons of water on top of one gallon of liquid fertilizer and if you do the math, that equals out to be about 42 ounces of liquid fertilizer per gallon, per 1,000 square feet. Which is almost double the recommended rate.

Now, like I said, I completely take owner ship of this. This is my own stupidity. I messed this up. I did not cut the liquid fertilizer with enough water and it just resulted in way too much on the ground and that's why I ended up with some chemical burn.

Now I know I'm not alone on this, I know there's others out that have made this similar mistake and just put way too much nitrogen in the yard, which resulted in some chemical burn, so the biggest thing that I learned, don't freak out. Admittedly I most certainly freaked out when I first started seeing signs of the damage and I thought, freak, I ruined my yard.

Now that's a pretty typical reaction and I don't blame you if you did have that same thought. That, crap I killed my yard. There's no bringing it back. Fear not! There is a way to bounce it back to life. Let's talk about how to fix chemical burn in the yard.

All you really have to do is when you first start to notice signs of stress or damage or chemical burn, whatever you want to call it, is to bust out your irrigation and start watering the lawn immediately.

Now what I did was I broke my yard up into these smaller little sections that were easier to manage and I just watered those different areas with my old school sprinkler that you've seen me use in videos past, for about an hour, hour and 15 every single day since I first started noticing signs of chemical burn.

It's been about two, two and a half weeks since I made that application and I've seen huge improvements in the turf just from watering it.

Matter of fact, here's some clips that I took about a week after the application with some observations I made.

So this is one week after the liquid fert and growth regulator application. I've noticed that it hasn't been growing as tall, like the growth regulator is suppose to make it do. Uh, it is growing my horizontally. When I edged the sidewalk right here I had to do two passes on it because it was just so thick along the edges here.

As far as the chemical burn is concerned there's still remnants of it in the yard. A lot of the orangish brown that you see going on is still that chemical burn from where I over applied the liquid fertilizer. But it's bouncing back pretty good. I've just been watering like crazy. I've taken, I think I've busted the yard up into three or four different sections here, and watered each one of those for about an hour in each section. And, yeah! It's coming back pretty good.

Talking with the customer service staff, they recommended that I wait a week, watering it everyday like I had mentioned, and just see where it's at. And then, a week out from when I applied the liquid fertilizer, get my mower and just cut all this old growth off to make room for the good growth. There's still good Bermuda under there. I didn't kill it, I just damaged it. And it's, it's bouncing back like I already said. But what I'm going to do with the mower is just cut this nastiness off, so that that healthy grass and that healthy turf underneath can thrive.

Just got done cutting and yup! Most certainly still stressed out and I can still see some remnants of the chemical burn like I was mentioning earlier. But, it's looking much much better and healthier than it did a few days after the liquid fertilizer application and I really noticed the chemical burn.

All I have to do is stay on top of watering it everyday. So it's time to bust out the old school sprinkler, get it going, and will revisit in about a week.

So, like I said, here we are about two, two and a half weeks after I made that application. It's still bouncing back. It's still going to take some time for it to get back to where it was, but it's looking much much much much better.

Now let me talk about the plant growth regulator real quick. I know that's probably slow the process down of this yard bouncing back after that chemical burn, but what it's also done is shorten up the leaf blades and caused that horizontal growth instead of that vertical growth which is what it's designed to do.

And to illustrate that, usually it only takes me about one pass to do my edging along the sidewalk and the driveway. This past week, I had to do two passes to edge the sidewalks and driveway because again that Bermuda is getting a lot of horizontal growth instead of vertical growth.

And I've just noticed that the Bermuda hasn't gotten really tall or leggy. It's just growing out instead of up which is again what that plant growth regulator is designed for. So, I'll most definitely going to use it again but I'm going to just hold off and just let this yard bounce back from that chemical burn.

As for the back yard here, I mean, yeah! It's, it's really heat stressed. I mean we haven't had rain in awhile. I've been watering it. I just can't stay on top of it enough to give it what it needs. It was already a little bit heat stressed before I put that liquid fertilizer down. That application didn't help my cause back here. So, it is what it is back here. I'm just going to try and water it some more. I know I've got rain in the forecast later for today so that should help. But, yeah, it's just, it's struggling. I'm doing the best I can with it.

So what is my take away on all of this? Well ,number one I would say don't panic when you screw something up in the yard because it is bound to happen. Lawn care is a learning process. I only really started doing this myself last winter. So, I've learned a lot since then but I'm also still learning a whole bunch as I go.

Number two, and this one ironically I preach all the time, read the label. The label is law. Read it over and over and over again to really understand the product that you are using.

I honestly think I just psyched myself out because I've never used a liquid fertilizer before and I wanted to try and get it right even though I screwed it up. And, like I said, I think I just psyched myself out. I got that number in my head, that's what I went with. Even though I double checked the label. Some how I just, I screwed it up. So, slow down, take your time, understand what the label is saying and if you don't understand it, call up our customer service staff and they can help you figure that out.

That's, that's another mistake I did. I didn't call them up and, and clarify what the label says. So, again, all my fault.

And number three, I've got to give credit to one of my co workers, Brett. he gave me this tip and I think it's sound advice. When you're using a brand new product like a liquid fertilizer , if you're just unsure, always go under, just a little bit, the recommended rate.

And I think that's paid off well for him because here's a picture of that property I was talking about.

Looks amazing! High five Brett.

So, yeah, like I said, just go a little bit under the recommended rate. So for example, on this liquid fertilizer, they recommend about 22 ounces per gallon per 1,000 square feet; I should have probably played it safe and done about 18 to 20 ounces per gallon per 1,000 square feet.

Like Brett was telling me, he would rather go a little bit under the recommended rate and make multiple applications over a longer period of time, then to over apply a product and be in a situation that I put myself in. So, again, good job Brett. Sound advice. I think I'll follow that next time.

All that being said, I think I learned a very valuable lesson here, and I most certainly won't be making that mistake again.

I'm just going to stay on top of my watering schedule. I normally water as the sun's going down in the evening's but we've got rain moving in a little bit later this evening, so I'm going to let mother nature take care of it for today.

But again, if this happened to you, if you have chemical burn in your yard, number one, don't panic. Number two, bust out your irrigation and just start watering the lawn. Seriously water is your best friend and that's what's really going to help bounce your yard back to life.

Ok, going to jump in here real quick. The rain that I was talking about has moved in. So, it down poured heavy earlier and now it's just kind of misting. But, I thought that this would make for a good comparison.

This is the side yard with the Bradford Pears, obviously I've talked about it a lot in the videos. But this line right here that you see; it's kind of raised. Looks like it kind of lowers past that. So back there is turf type tall fescue and in front of it, all the way up to the side walk here, is Bermuda. I'll probably overseed that and get rid of the Bermuda in this section and just make it all turf type tall fescue. But for now it's a little transition point from the turf type tall fescue to the Bermuda.

And what I wanted to point out, I have not watered this little area after I treated it with the liquid fert and noticed that there was chemical burn. I haven't done anything with it. I haven't watered it like I said. Just, I've just left it. And I wanted you to see the difference. So you can see the brown tones to it, there's still chemical burn damage in there. But, compare that to the main part of my yard with the Bermuda. Again, I know I can, you can see some of the damage is still there. But it's coming back and it's doing pretty good. So, just wanted to show you a comparison between where I have been watering a whole lot versus a section where I haven't. Hopefully that shows up well. You can see the difference.

So lesson learned. I hope you found this helpful. And I also hope you found it encouraging if you've found yourself in a similar situation. Again, lawn care, it's a learning process. it takes time. It takes effort. It just, you, you got to get in there. you got to get your hands dirty. You got to learn what it takes do get your yard looking good.

We had some great comments and questions on that last video and we've done our best to go through and answer those for you, but if you have any more questions, on the last video or on this video, always feel free to leave those in the comments section below, email them over to our customer service staff, or pick up the phone and give them a call.

We've got some more great videos coming. We are planning to do another rehab project in another lawn. So, make sure you keep an eye out for that. If you're not already, subscribe to the channel by clicking this button here, you can click this link to watch the most recent episode in the lawn care series, and if you want to watch them all, all 55 or 56 of them, you can click this playlist right here.

And as always, thanks for watching!