View Full Version : Centipede not greening up

04-15-2002, 11:16 PM
Last May we sodded a lawn with centipede grass. Sent out soil for soil test and followed instructions. Sod took root great and looked green and fantastic all season until frost. Spring comes around and sod doesn't green up. We sodded this lawn and one more off of the same delivery. The other lawn is greening up nicely. We don't maintain the property that has the problem but maintain the other. The homeowner called and I looked at the sod and it looks dead. I have no idea what happened or how it was maintained. I have (2) questions:
(1) any idea what the problem is (cold damage comes to mind)
(2) do you gaurantee sod that you don't maintain after installation

We give a 90 day gaurantee on sod that we install but don't maintain and one year on the ones we maintain. I am not going to replace this sod. I feel that with proper maintenance it would not have failed because the other lawn is fine.

Your opinion please.

04-16-2002, 09:09 PM
No warranty on sod. If it greened up last May and lasted until the frost got it. I say you are in the clear. Has the customer watered this year? Was lawn sprayed with herbicide? Need to get some more information.

04-17-2002, 07:03 PM
Customer stated that he had not watered the grass this year!
This is the second lawn that has died here. The first died because the LCO that does the maintenance used the wrong herbicide on St.Augustine. I don't know if this is the case again. The homeowner said that nothing had been applied. I told him last year to apply 1# of potassium per 1000sq.ft. in October to help the roots and he didn't do this either. I also told him that the grass was being mowed a little high and that they needed to drop down on the mowing height. Didn't do this either. It was mowed every 2 weeks and I think they probaly need to mow at least every 10 days to keep the grass height for getting to long between mowings. Like I said, I don't maintain this lawn and don't feel I should be advising the other company on how the should maintain the propertys. This company (2 people) are really the mow and go type people. I dought he knows much except how to mow and not sure he knows how to do that correct.
Anyway, I believe the maintenance was the problem and I know if I say this he will think I'm shifting blame to someone else. All I know is the grass took hold and looked great for 5 months.

04-17-2002, 08:50 PM

04-17-2002, 08:58 PM
Mr. Long

You seem to be very knowledgeable about the other LCO. Is this based on first hand knowledge or assumption.
Anyway, to clear up a few of your misconceptions, St. Augustinegrass is not very cold tolerant grass and since your in a borderline climate it would have trouble surviving.
Second, potassium has very little to do with root formation. Potassium increase stress tolerance of the plant. If the customer did not want this application done, how could you blame the other LCO.
Phosphorous has more to do with root formation, but this should have been addressed at install. Thirdly, you stated that the customer had not watered this season.
Did the customer irrigate properly last season. With frequent, shallow watering the sod would have developed a shallow root system which would have been more susceptible to winter damage.
If the grass was still alive at the end of the season, I don't see how the LCO maintenance could have killed it. Apparently something happened during dormancy.

The turfgrass specialist

04-17-2002, 10:37 PM
This is based on what others have told that know or at least say they know. Personaly. I don't know this person.

As far as the St.Agustine grass dying, I was told that a weed and feed was applied to the grass and could still see evidence of the fertilizer when I first looked at it. St.Agustine is also very suspectible to herbicide damage if not done correctly. Was also told by neighbors that the mowing was not done correctly. This may or may not be true as the grass was about gone when I first looked at this site.

And to clear some of your misinformation, Centipede grass does not tolerate high-phosphorus soil or low-potassium soil. The sod was fertilized according to the soil test recomendations and ph recomendations at installation.The potassium was to be applied in Oct. not to help with root growth but for the stress of winter. After four months the roots should have already have been formed. The sod was firmly knitted to the soil after 4 weeks.

I have no idea how the sod was watered after it was rooted. I know that they were instructed as how it should be watered. When we install a lawn we cannot moniter it for the rest of the season to see if the homeowner is properly watering it. I viewed the property until it was being serviced by the other LCO and at that time it is not up to me to keep up with how its watered, mowed or any other normal maintenance issues. I did tell the homeowner that his LCO need to cut the grass a little shorter. If this was relayed to him, I don't know. But, he should know the correct mowing heights.

I'm not saying the LCO killed the grass, I'm saying that maintenance in general killed it. Weather or not they had a part I'll leave that up to the homeowner. I do believe that with proper maintenance, watering mowing ect. it would not have failed. The other sod did fine and is greening up nicely. If the homeowner didn't want the application of potassium after I instructed him then it is his fault and not the LCO's. Maybe he didn't follow the watering instructions either.

It very well may be that winter injury did the grass in. But I still feel like with proper maintenance it would not have failed.

04-17-2002, 11:02 PM
One more item. When we maintain a lawn we moniter the irrigation if they have one to see that the lawn is watered properly. Most homeowners hire a LCO because either they don't won't to be bothered or don't have the knowledge to do it themselves.

04-17-2002, 11:15 PM
Mr. Long

You seem to be placing a lot of facts on what the neighbors say. Are they qualified to make any of these assumptions.
I am also well aware that St. Augustine and centipedegrass are very susceptible to herbicide damage. That is why I use herbicides that are specially formulated for
these type grasses. St. Augustine grass is also very susceptible to decline and this could have also contributed. I am also aware that centipedegrass prefers low phosphorous/ high potassium soil. I also know that it prefers a pH of near 5.5. I also know it prefers to be mowed at 2 in. or less if possible.
I was just stating that little extra P at installation might help root development. Your previous post stated that K would help roots. I was just clarifying.

On another note, what type of preparation was done to site. Was herbicide used to kill existing grass. Was lime worked into soil. What type of lime was used: pelletized or powder?

Why not talk to the other LCO. You might be able to obtain a better diagnosis of the problem. You might also be surprised of their knowledge or ability.

If the homeowner is doing "extra" maintenance to the yard this may be the ultimate problem

The turfgrass specialist

04-18-2002, 07:47 AM
Didn't mean to step on anyones toes and I'm not trying to point fingers or make false assumptions.
Thanks for your input. Will look into it.

04-20-2004, 01:07 PM
I have to agree with Mr. Long on this. The neighbors as well as the homeowner are saying that the lawn was mowed every 2 weeks. Well Thats all I need to know. If St. Agustine is mowed every 2 weeks then its either having too much cut off at one time or is being mowed using the no more than 1/3 rule and is not being maintained at the proper height.
Even though this is what the homeowner requested, I would have turned down the job. If a customer wishes me to maintain their landscape in a fashion that is wrong and potentially detrimental to said landscape then I dont touch it. I for one would not want to be the one that is blammed for it. Even though you tell the customer its wrong and explain the proper way to do it, if you do it wrong just to get the job then you are at fault.

I am not saying its the LCO's fault, but if that LCO serviced the lawn in an irresposible manner the first time they may have done it again.

Most of the blame if not all should lie with the homeowner. He did not follow the instructions given to him by Mr. Long. If this was his choice then he is to blame if it was based on advise given to him by the LCO such as " thats a waste of time and money you dont need to do that" then the blame is with the LCO.
Since the sod grew and thrived for 5 months I cant see how any of the blame can be placed on the installer. He had a soil analysis done and followed it. Thats all any of us can do. None of us can be blamed for other LCO's maintenance practices or the homeowner's unwillingness to do what we instruct them to do.

04-20-2004, 01:09 PM
And yes I know this is an old thread but I am just catching up on my reading. lol
I am not trying to place any blame just stating that Longslawn isnt to blame. I am not listed as a turfgrass specialist but I do have one at my disposal. My brother is a certified turf grass specialist and I will be too this year.

04-20-2004, 05:40 PM
I'm sorry, but did someone say that ST. Augustine would not survive in the transition zone? Are you smoking something? I maintain three St. Augustine lawn in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Been maintaining them for five years now, and they haven't keeled over yet. Salt air, freezing temps, 'Noreaster's, snow and chinch bugs haven't been able to kill them either. They go dormant every winter and start to green up about this time of the year, but die? C'mon dude, where'd you read that?

04-21-2004, 12:22 AM
VA Beach and Norfolk are basically Zone 8 areas. The proximity to the ocean keeps the winter temps up. I grew up there and live in Raleigh, NC now. Central NC is Zone 7. I have seen Zone 8 plants such as Oleanders thrive in those areas of VA and be killed in the winter down here. Centipede is quite susceptible to cold damage and St. Aug even more so. St. Aug will usually have cold damage every year around here. This past winter in central NC was rough. That could have a lot to do with the problem.

04-21-2004, 01:02 AM
"On another note, what type of preparation was done to site. Was herbicide used to kill existing grass. Was lime worked into soil. What type of lime was used: pelletized or powder"

What I want to know is what difference it makes between powdered and pellitized lime makes? Assuming since you are in North Carolina that you used dolomitic limestone. The pelletized and powdered are in fact the same lime. Second since Centipede likes low ph why was lime even needed. Are we working the lime into the soil or just broadcasting it on top. If broadcasting it on top the amounts used, if based on a regular soil test, where probably way to high and would of raised up the ph to much right at the rootzone. Third, in most NC soils the potasssium levels are adequate for grass establishment since the potassium occurs naturaly by the weathering of mica and fieldspar. Phosphourous is usually the lacking nutrient in NC soils.
I realize that a soil test was taken by the original poster, and recommendation where followed, according to his post. I am questioning the response that suggested there is a difference in powdered and pelletized lime and that difference might be what killed the grass. And the fact the lime might not of even been needed since the grass is Centipede. I also realize that all NC soils are not the same and conditions at this site might not be close to the state adverages which still leaves me wondering about the suggestion of lime by someone that hasnt seen the soil test. In fact since this lawn is a renovation of an exsisting lawn, the ph may have been higher than 5.5 that centipede likes and adding more lime would have made it worse. I am not trying to flame, just trying to understand the reasoning behind these suggestions.

04-21-2004, 09:30 AM
The Ph if I remember correct was around 4.3. The soil test was from the NCDA at NC State and they reccomended the liming. It was rototilled into the soil and another soil test was resubmitted after the problem and it came back I beleive at 5.9 which is pretty close and was ruled out as the problem by the local extenision agent. Roundup was used to kill all vegatation and was sodded some 3 -4 weeks later.
The agent seemed to believe that the problem was low pottasium also. Centipde grass does not like high phosphourous or low pottasium according to NC State.
The end results was that the grass was sanded and watered correctly and filled back in nicely over time. Looks good now.

End of story.