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View Full Version : what's wrong with my lawn? burned?? pics posted


turboawd
09-10-2009, 02:16 PM
i sodded my yard around the 4th of july, with kentucky bluegrass. i'm in northern IL.
the lawn looked great for the first month and a half. but then i started to get these darker green, dry areas. randomly in my lawn. i took pics of one area in the front yard. when you look at these dry areas from certain angles, it looks darker green.

i have a sprinkler system, and i watered real good at the begining, then i cut back the water afterwards.
i used a strarter fertilizer when i placed the sod, then afterwards i put down milorganite fetilizer, towards the end of july and mid-august. the milorganite is an organic fertilizer with 5% nitrogen and 4% iron.
http://www.milorganite.com/home/

did i burn my lawn?
watering the lawn doesnt seem to help the dry areas. the ground is moist below these dry-looking areas. the soil is a claylike, not really black. there is sand further down, when we excavated.

MarcSmith
09-10-2009, 03:03 PM
looking at it on pics 1 and 2 I go out on a limb and say that your sprinkler heads are not giving good coverage...almost like you got a low pressure with a gap in center....

Have you watched the system run from zone to zone. Ie set up a test schedule for like 5 minutes a zone. Maybe when it run on its own a valve is hanging open resultant in low pressure/poor coverage...

if it was burn from fert i think it would be more widespread. now if you spread of a bunch of fert in a diagonal path over that one spot a bunch of times. then could be fert...

I'm going stick with irrigation, based on my glance from 800 miles away...

even the stressed grass is holding tire track and footprints longer than the unstressed grass. Thats usually a good indicator of drought stress

turboawd
09-10-2009, 03:16 PM
i dont believe this is an irrigation issue. there are many heads placed around...and the dry patterns dont match to any potential weak irrigation areas.

i checked some of these dry looking areas, and the soil was moist below.

like you said, when you step on the dry looking areas, the grass stays down.

MarcSmith
09-10-2009, 03:30 PM
again from 800 miles and a photo, it really looks like a couple of rotors whose arc's had decreased in size. I'm not doubting you...Fert burn is usually pretty quick and very very noticeable.

take a shovel and dig out a core sample 6" deep or so in the affected area. and then do the same in a non affected area and compare the two together. see if there are any noticeable differences...

turboawd
09-10-2009, 03:52 PM
well i marked out where some of my sprinkler heads are, and the dryness area doesnt relate to the sprinklers' pattern.

what other possibilities?

turboawd
09-10-2009, 03:55 PM
you know, when i first noticed traces of this happening, thats when i applied my second application of milorganite, and watered good. the lawn looked great for a week or two, then started looking like it does now.

could the lawn just need more nitrogen? the milorganite that i applied has 5% nitrogen.

MarcSmith
09-10-2009, 04:16 PM
the fert doesn't explain the pattern though... that's a fairly defined pattern.

RAlmaroad
09-10-2009, 05:34 PM
That pattern suggests that there was fill and when smoothed out on a slight incline was spread further at the road than above. The soil could have been contaminated or of a different soil altogether. Run you a soil test from the darker soil and the lighter soil. I don't think it is an irrigation problem either. The track marks bothers me in that it almost looks like a wrong herbicide was introduced in a drifting manner almost as if there were a spray towards the road. Did someone perhaps kill off a large amount of brush, weeds, or something before the house and subdivision was being built. There are so many things that could go wrong. I'd almost be afraid to resod before removing the soil area and replacing it. A lot of trouble but let the soil test guide. It could be simple as a much stronger pH or being more alkaline there.
Are you on sewer or septic lines? I can see a leak in a tank line or a possible break in a sewer line. Is that area overly moist or soggy? A long probe would help here.
Whatever the problem turns out to be, please post and cure.

teejet
09-10-2009, 08:17 PM
I am guessing soil difference, that is if it does that every year in the same spot. If not I don't know.

mdlwn1
09-10-2009, 08:24 PM
Guys...this is easy....
1.its fkin dry...or was the day before it got watered. Of course its gonna lay over when walking on it.
2. new sod comes heavily ferted. NO sod farm would ever tell you to do what you did. The increased fert has increased your water requirements. It will come back if it gets more water.

mdlwn1
09-10-2009, 08:28 PM
you know, when i first noticed traces of this happening, thats when i applied my second application of milorganite, and watered good. the lawn looked great for a week or two, then started looking like it does now.

could the lawn just need more nitrogen? the milorganite that i applied has 5% nitrogen.

So..the lawn started to dry...so you put an acid on it....then you watered the acid in...just a little..so it melts..then juat as that acid (the 3rd application in 6 weeks...1 from the farm and 2 from you) melts it starts to burn slightly.....................Patience my friend...that lawn just got 1/2 a years feeding and all the lead you could ever want in your child in like 6-8 weeks.

Think Green
09-10-2009, 08:54 PM
Turbo,
Those areas are drying spots only.
We have several professional systems on our customers lawns too!--residentials.
These accounts are mega-maintenance and zoysia lawns. In July and August, the watering requirements are immeasurable because of absorption and run-off. We had 2 fan nozzles that went bad and didn't notice them until the spots were fading......big mistake for zoysia as these lawns are like golf course putting green's. The customer wants them that way...
Cool Season grasses grow deep roots and deep watering is required. If the grass isn't growing deeply then mowing to short is causing shallow rooting. Soil is a funny thing--as no two soil areas on our lawns are exactly the same. Some areas will absorb the water and diffuse it rather quickly, deeply. Some areas will only penetrate to the upper 3-4 inches and either run off or discipate as evaporation.
When cool season turf gets dry, it turns that blue color or even blackish gray. Mower tracking is really noticed and so do foot prints. I won't get into when you water your lawn, because this subject only causes arguments and alot of bickering. We water our lawns in the evenings, starting at 11:00 p.m. with moisture sensors. It works for our customers. Up north, may differ with temperatures, and disease, I don't know.
I don't think the addition of your milorganite with 5% Nitrogen really did any burning like adding rapid release nitrogen sources. The dry areas will become more noticeable as the well watered areas are taking in the food source. I would concentrate on those 4-5 heads in that zone and recheck for the fan width and the overlaps. On our lawns, we use a 6 gpm nozzle and set the fan wide. The other thing we look at is possible excessive sand deposits or overly compacted soil.

Kiril
09-10-2009, 09:09 PM
Take a screw driver outside, push it into the area where the browning is occurring, then do the same in a good green area. I'd be willing to bet it was far more difficult to push the screwdriver into the brown areas than the green areas. Do this and report back.

Kiril
09-10-2009, 09:13 PM
I would concentrate on those 4-5 heads in that zone and recheck for the fan width and the overlaps.

The HO needs to verify distribution uniformity. The arc can be correct, nozzle working perfectly fine, but it may be the wrong nozzle for the arc (assuming he is using rotors). Just because the turf is getting wet does not mean it is getting watered evenly.

mdlwn1
09-10-2009, 09:27 PM
Watering aside....anyone treating new sod like that is not likely capable of acurately describing what happened in the past..ie watering schedule.......pretty big red flag guys.

turboawd
09-10-2009, 11:20 PM
That pattern suggests that there was fill and when smoothed out on a slight incline was spread further at the road than above. The soil could have been contaminated or of a different soil altogether. Run you a soil test from the darker soil and the lighter soil. I don't think it is an irrigation problem either. The track marks bothers me in that it almost looks like a wrong herbicide was introduced in a drifting manner almost as if there were a spray towards the road. Did someone perhaps kill off a large amount of brush, weeds, or something before the house and subdivision was being built. There are so many things that could go wrong. I'd almost be afraid to resod before removing the soil area and replacing it. A lot of trouble but let the soil test guide. It could be simple as a much stronger pH or being more alkaline there.
Are you on sewer or septic lines? I can see a leak in a tank line or a possible break in a sewer line. Is that area overly moist or soggy? A long probe would help here.
Whatever the problem turns out to be, please post and cure.
this whole subdivision was an old river bed i assume. when i dug the foundation, there was pure sand below. and above mostly clay. i've had the lot for a few years, so i know that no herbicides were applied.

when the soil get dry, it does get hard, real hard. and gets kinda powdery if driven over when dry.......i know since i graded the yard.

all the homes have city sewer.

obviously, i dont have the best soil.
can i add anything to loosen up the soil? or give it nutrients?

turboawd
09-10-2009, 11:28 PM
thinkgreen,
i'll check my heads and adjust if needed. how can i make the soil softer?

i did the screwdriver test recommended by kiril, and the ground is hard everywhere(maybe push 1/2 to 3/4 of a 6" blade flat screwdriver into the ground), but a little more hard where the dry areas are.

turboawd
09-10-2009, 11:32 PM
Watering aside....anyone treating new sod like that is not likely capable of acurately describing what happened in the past..ie watering schedule.......pretty big red flag guys.

red flag? for what?
its pretty simple, i built my self a house and did my own yard. the lawn looked great at first, but turned into this now. i watered very heavily in the beginning, to the point where i got several comments about how soaked my yard was......and water running off the lot and down the street.
after 2 weeks, i cut back on water, to promote deeper root growth.

what did i do wrong?

Kiril
09-11-2009, 09:25 AM
i did the screwdriver test recommended by kiril, and the ground is hard everywhere(maybe push 1/2 to 3/4 of a 6" blade flat screwdriver into the ground), but a little more hard where the dry areas are.

The brown areas are brown because you are getting limited root development due to compaction and therefore water issues show up first in these areas. In fact, this is a method I use to dial in a irrigation system and check a lawns root development, without having to take a mess of core samples. As you back off on the irrigation, areas that are compacted start to brown out (assuming the irrigation system has good distribution uniformity). This then shows you areas that need work, with respect to the soil.

Start by getting a soil test. Make sure it includes OM% and SAR. You also need to start doing a yearly core aeration with compost top dress until you loosen the soil up. Pay particular attention to the areas that have browned out when aerating. Then continue with yearly compost applications and mulch your clippings.

Verify your irrigation system has good DU, the sprinklers are nozzled correctly, and adjust your schedule to compensate for the compaction issues. Until you get the soil structure in better shape you will probably need to irrigate more frequently, but absolutely not the point of runoff or constant soil saturation. What is your irrigation schedule right now and what type of sprinklers are we talking about for your lawn?

turboawd
09-11-2009, 05:44 PM
i have hunter rotor heads. cant remember the model, but i think its the standard type with the rubberized head.

i watered the lawn twice last night, about 20 minutes each time,each zone.

it looks a lot better today, but will look bad again if i dont keep up the watering.

will adding gypsum help loosen the soil, or is that a waste?

and if i core, and spread compost, how much do i spread, and how would i spread it?

and i'm still puzzled why some areas get more dry than the rest.

i did a quick ph test in one area, and got a 7.0 result.

MarcSmith
09-11-2009, 06:06 PM
20 minutes with a rotor might get you 1/10 of an inch of actual water applied to the soil... the PGP does .4" per hour based on 50psi and 18-45' spacing.

depends on your overlap as well.

but it does look a lot less stressed

turboawd
09-11-2009, 07:00 PM
20 minutes with a rotor might get you 1/10 of an inch of actual water applied to the soil... the PGP does .4" per hour based on 50psi and 18-45' spacing.

depends on your overlap as well.

but it does look a lot less stressed

i have 75lbs water pressure, and the heads are no farther than 25-30' apart.
my first water bill was around $250, so dont tell me to water more. :cry:

i did a complete soil test with a store bought kit.
ph- 7.0 seems ok
nitrogen- doesnt even show any
phosphorous- medium to almost high
potassium- high

i'm thinking to apply some scotts anytime fertilizer. i tested in a couple spots before, and the grass grew faster and greener than the rest.

keepcuttin
09-12-2009, 09:33 AM
I'll throw my 2 cents in.

Early am watering

place empty tuna cans over the lawn, do a cylcle of watering and see if all the cans fill to the same level, if not adjust nozzles.

apply a liquid gypsem or core aerate and add compost.

take core samples and take or send to Lesco/jdl and get a test done. they will tell you what the N-P-K and pH levels and what it will take to adj those #'s

until you have definitively answered all the other questions throwing fert is not the answer.

Kiril
09-12-2009, 09:34 AM
i have hunter rotor heads. cant remember the model, but i think its the standard type with the rubberized head.

Probably PGP.

will adding gypsum help loosen the soil, or is that a waste?

Gypsum is good for sodic soil reclamation and for adding Ca (secondarily S) to an alkaline soil without any major impact on pH. Using it for anything other than that (with a few possible exceptions) is pointless.

and if i core, and spread compost, how much do i spread, and how would i spread it?

On an existing lawn you can in most cases get away with up to 1/2 inch, but 1/4 inch would be the safer bet with new sod. There are a lot of different ways to spread it, I use a still steel tine leaf rake.

and i'm still puzzled why some areas get more dry than the rest.

Improper nozzling, poor DU, compaction, differences in soil structure/texture, etc....
Remember what I said about the rooting. Areas where the turf is having difficulty developing roots, for whatever reason, will always show up as a "dry spot" when you start backing off the water.


--------------------------------------------


20 minutes with a rotor might get you 1/10 of an inch of actual water applied to the soil... the PGP does .4" per hour based on 50psi and 18-45' spacing.

Awww, come on Marc, you know better than this. :nono:


---------------------------------------------


i have 75lbs water pressure, and the heads are no farther than 25-30' apart.
my first water bill was around $250, so dont tell me to water more. :cry:

Static water pressure does not translate into dynamic water pressure at the nozzle.
What you need to do is go out and check the nozzle number on all your sprinklers, noting the color of the nozzle and the arc. Write it down.

i did a complete soil test with a store bought kit.
ph- 7.0 seems ok
nitrogen- doesnt even show any
phosphorous- medium to almost high
potassium- high


Those kits are worthless and they give you no actionable information. You need to get a real soil test done.

i'm thinking to apply some scotts anytime fertilizer. i tested in a couple spots before, and the grass grew faster and greener than the rest.

If your turf is struggling from adverse soil conditions, the last thing you need is fertilizer. You really need to do the basic things in order to determine what is going on.

1) Check the sprinklers for proper nozzling

2) Check system DU

3) Get a general soil test that also includes organic matter % (OM%), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) and exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP), electrical conductivity (EC), and cation exchange capacity (CEC).

Some labs include OM%, EC, and CEC in a basic/general test, others do not. SAR and ESP will more likely than not be an add-on test to the basic package. The SAR and ESP will tell you if you need gypsum or not to deal with excessive sodium.

Smallaxe
09-13-2009, 09:31 AM
Simply put, the water is not soaking into the clay underneath you sod on the slope. Your dry area is on the slope. My guess is that it faces South or West.

You say the clay underneath it was wet. How do you know that? Are you still able to lift up the sod?

I would aerate with a plugger, fill the holes with compost, and run a soaker hose for 24-48 hours in just the droughted area.

Lots of water is meaningless without it getting into the roots.

AI Inc
09-13-2009, 09:35 AM
Did someone do a sewer tie in in the last few yrs or something? It almost looks like a soil structure probel along with 1 sprinkler head missing from center.

Kiril
09-13-2009, 10:08 AM
Did someone do a sewer tie in in the last few yrs or something? It almost looks like a soil structure probel along with 1 sprinkler head missing from center.

You know what it looks like to me .... construction staging area. Note how it leads right to the front door.

Falcon50EX
09-13-2009, 01:58 PM
i sodded my yard around the 4th of july, with kentucky bluegrass. i'm in northern IL.
the lawn looked great for the first month and a half. but then i started to get these darker green, dry areas. randomly in my lawn. i took pics of one area in the front yard. when you look at these dry areas from certain angles, it looks darker green.

i have a sprinkler system, and i watered real good at the begining, then i cut back the water afterwards.
i used a strarter fertilizer when i placed the sod, then afterwards i put down milorganite fetilizer, towards the end of july and mid-august. the milorganite is an organic fertilizer with 5% nitrogen and 4% iron.
http://www.milorganite.com/home/

did i burn my lawn?
watering the lawn doesnt seem to help the dry areas. the ground is moist below these dry-looking areas. the soil is a claylike, not really black. there is sand further down, when we excavated.
Have you tried a wetting agent on this area? I have two yard that look just like this. Core aerate, compost and a wetting agent just a thought, it has worked for me.
I may get criticized about this one but try a 5 gallon buck of soap and water about 5oz of soap to 1gal of water. Pour this in the middle of the dry spot and see what happens. What do you have to lose?
Just about any liquid dish soap will work.

The grass she is on I have done just what i said above. What I am trying to do now is a soap injection system that. I can easily apply with every watering. The soap is also a biodegradable insecticide. Yes I know it is not a true insecticide but it keep and will kill bugs on plants and in the ground.

Kiril
09-13-2009, 02:06 PM
Soap and wetting agents are not solutions, they are bandaids. The only solution to this problem is to improve the soil structure.

Falcon50EX
09-13-2009, 02:24 PM
Soap and wetting agents are not solutions, they are bandaids. The only solution to this problem is to improve the soil structure.
Yes I agree with you total but it will give him some time to correct the problem. It will allow the nutrients to penetrate into the soil to start the process. I am in no way saying to only use a wetting agent but it will help the overall process. Core aerate and I use mushroom compost that has worked well with no weeds.

MarcSmith
09-14-2009, 08:01 AM
Awww, come on Marc, you know better than this. :nono:


Why do you say that, those numbers came right off the pgp spraychart?????

And we also know that in most cases HO's will always underwater the rotor zones.... as opposed to the spray zones

AI Inc
09-14-2009, 08:05 AM
A pgp can water anywhere from 7/10ths of a gpm , to 6.56 pgm depending on how its nozzled.

Kiril
09-14-2009, 10:13 AM
A pgp can water anywhere from 7/10ths of a gpm , to 6.56 pgm depending on how its nozzled.

and a PR of 0.12 - 1.16 in/hour depending on nozzle and layout.

bigslick7878
09-14-2009, 06:24 PM
Water is a lawns best friend,that is all it needed.

turboawd
09-14-2009, 10:57 PM
you know, part of the problem might be a watering issue.

lets say that i have an edge of a yard, and there are 3 rotors along that edge...1 on each corner, and 1 in the middle. how do you calculate the tip size required? lets say i have a 7 tip on the 2 corner rotors, what should the center rotor have? the center rotor needs more water, since it sweeps 180 degress, versus the corner rotors sweep 90 degrees.

turboawd
09-14-2009, 11:10 PM
^ hunter pgp rotors by the way

Kiril
09-15-2009, 08:31 AM
you know, part of the problem might be a watering issue.

lets say that i have an edge of a yard, and there are 3 rotors along that edge...1 on each corner, and 1 in the middle. how do you calculate the tip size required? lets say i have a 7 tip on the 2 corner rotors, what should the center rotor have? the center rotor needs more water, since it sweeps 180 degress, versus the corner rotors sweep 90 degrees.

First by radius at the nozzle pressure, then by arc.

If we assume square layout with spacing at 30 feet and 50 PSI nozzle pressure, then the closest you could get to even PR is

#3 red on your 90 degree
#6 gray on your 180 degree

MarcSmith
09-15-2009, 08:34 AM
not the irrigation guru my any means...but let say you have a perfect square yard
http://geagolf.com/landscapeandsprinklers/images/drawings/full_coverage.jpg

if you look at teh drawing long enough with out getting cross eyed, you'll see that some areas get overlap from a bunch of sprinklers and some areas ares only getting hit by 2 sprinklers...

you can get 100% coverage but you'll never be able to get 100% equal precip rates in all areas...(thast what we have rain for...) your only hope is to lessen the fluctuations

here is a pic of a "poor" install
http://geagolf.com/landscapeandsprinklers/images/drawings/bad_coverage.jpg

which you'll get form the bargain companies/lowballers... you've got 100 coverage, but you will have issues with dry spots

subeedude
09-16-2009, 05:39 PM
Have you tried a wetting agent on this area? I have two yard that look just like this. ......

Gosh, you have a beautiful lawn. Besides the soap for insecticide, do you use organic or synthetics to feed your lawn and soil???

naughty62
09-27-2009, 08:35 AM
1. Is the dry spot a high traffic area for kids or drainage area for down spouts ?2.Is is area getting enough water or need aerated and more O.M. to retain water? 3.Has the area lose water pressure do to industrial and commercial development? 4. check the area while running the clock .not turning on the zones manually .Ounce you figure out why the area is not retaining water .you might want consider a soil test and a organic source of K ,in my are the the only lawn that have come back low on k are newer homes with irrigation and no natural source of k such large leaf and twig dropping trees ,bushes, hedges .

Falcon50EX
09-28-2009, 01:02 PM
Gosh, you have a beautiful lawn. Besides the soap for insecticide, do you use organic or synthetics to feed your lawn and soil???

Thanks
I use synthetic; I have 27 thousand sq of Myers zoisa. 33-0-17 at 3lb per 1000 and 24-2-11 4.2lb per 1000. 21-0-0 ammonia sulfate also with a gran iron. I pre M three times a year also.

I soap it three time a year spring and summer twice