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View Full Version : Areas that go dormant/brown faster than others


ChiTownAmateur
07-09-2010, 11:37 AM
Assume for a moment that the entire lawn is the same grasses and it is getting equal amounts of sun, fertilizer and water. Soil quality is also tested and good.

In the recent very hot heat, I noticed in my backyard that certain patches go brown much faster than others. Over the last 2 years I have slowly renovated what was a neglected sod lawn. (seed, water, fertilizer, grubs, etc.)

So what I see happening is that as the really hot weather descended (about 2-3 weeks now of 80's - 90's) is that some areas stay very green while others brown quickly and require a lot of water to revive.

I do not think it is brown patch, it is simply areas that are browning from the heat.

Are these areas spots I should target for renovation now or in the Fall moreso than other areas? Should I take the aerator and go over just those spots for now, or is it better to just aearate the whole thing in fall and overseed at that time?

My initial guess is that the roots are shallower in those spots due to compaction or thatch and that aeration would not hurt...but then again I may be totally off in my analysis.

Any input is welcome, and especially tips for what the best long-term strategy is to improve those areas or the entire lawn as a whole.

(note: lawn is in midwest, i'm sure sod was kbg/fescue/rye as all sod up here is for the most part)

bigslick7878
07-09-2010, 04:09 PM
It could be a lot of thing, soil compaction, rocks in there you can see etc ect.

DO NOT aerate now. You aerate when your lawn is growing vigorously in the spring or fall so it can repair itself.

You aerate now you are going to have a bunch of holes with no regeneration till fall.

Mark Oomkes
07-09-2010, 04:18 PM
It could be a lot of thing, soil compaction, rocks in there you can see etc ect.

DO NOT aerate now. You aerate when your lawn is growing vigorously in the spring or fall so it can repair itself.

You aerate now you are going to have a bunch of holes with no regeneration till fall.

Agreed.

Could be sand or gravel in those areas.

Hold off on the aeration.

ChiTownAmateur
07-09-2010, 04:33 PM
again i thank you both for your response

when i bought this renovated home (100+ years old) i first tried to plant the front yard and it took a bit and failed, so this year i tilled it all up did the whole 9 yards and have a beautiful stand (poa supina)

point of saying this was...when i tilled the front yard, there were tree roots, a 9 foot tree branch, all kinds of s--- the builder must have just left there.

the back i did not want to fully renovate if at all possible and it has a giant oak (prob 60" diamter) which I'm sure is laying down tree roots everywhere. But in two places i dug it up this spring because they were a bit shady and I wanted to do it right and suprisingly did not encounter roots...the tree may be a lot deeper...it seems very healthy

I know you cannot give me "perfect" advice without a visual but if I am willing to do the work is it better for me to dig those spots up and make sure the soil is good, then reseed them this fall? Who knows what is underneath there I guess...tree roots, etc. I'm sure the right way to do the yard would be to tear the whole thing out.

However, my hesitation beyond the work it entails is that there is a giant oak back there, probably 60" diameter across. In mid-august, right when you would want to renovate it begins dropping bushels of acorns for about 2-3 weeks...that is then followed by bushels of leaves for another 2-3 weeks. So overseeding is possible in Fall but I would be very hesitant to try and rip it all out with the narrow timeframe I have.

Would you dig up some of the browner spots in fall to see what is under there? I could do that or aerate...or something else if you have an opinion...i could try a full spring renovation but 75%+ of it looks very good, the quick to brown areas represent maybe 15-20%. (another 5% is behind the tree and is just a difficult spot no matter what, i may try the supina there this fall as it seems to thrive in shade even beyond fescues)

Stillwater
07-09-2010, 04:41 PM
soil composition

ChiTownAmateur
07-09-2010, 05:27 PM
thank you stillwater

topdressing maybe as an assist...some mushroom compost and topsoil? (done in fall with aeration and seeding)

AI Inc
07-09-2010, 06:13 PM
soil texture. SOmetimes its a large rock or a septic tank that will actualy burn it from the underside. Sometimes something as simple as when the home was built , left over stone was just spread out and loamed over.

ChiTownAmateur
07-09-2010, 06:53 PM
my front yard is 250sq ft...i pulled out 13 bags of tree roots and rocks, so i could easily believe the back, under a few inches of soil is a nightmare. two areas i dug up though in spring were surprisingly clean. I will aerate the lawn including those spots in fall, and will also use a screwdriver or something I can poke down further into each brown area to see if it hits something solid, thank you for the help

hackitdown
07-10-2010, 07:59 AM
We are having a bad heat wave here, lawns are failing everywhere.

I noticed an athletic field near here where the underlying drainage system is now clearly showing because the grass above the trenches is yellow, and the surrounding grass is green. It looks like a road map.

Clearly the material below the loam is having a huge impact on the performance of the turf.

Snapper12
07-10-2010, 11:00 AM
Just know that this time of year those cool season grasses will stress big time. You can look for answers all day to find out if it's grubs, fungus, rocks, etc etc etc.... then what type of fungus etc etc etc. Just keep with what you are doing now, and in the fall aerate, overseed, and topdress... every year.

Kiril
07-10-2010, 11:23 AM
construction waste, rocks, roots, compaction, layered soil .... anything that can cause shallow rooting in comparison to the rest of the lawn. I would take a tile probe and a core sampler and start poking around to find the problem.

RigglePLC
07-11-2010, 11:38 AM
Do you have ground-penetrating-radar? Failing that I agree, check to see if there is a layer of something that drains too fast--gravel--for instance. Maybe a pool was filled in--or septic tank--old tree. If you can penetrate it with a screwdriver to four inches deep, soil is moist enough. Its possible the irrigation is just not adding enough water.

Perhaps buy one of those soil moisture meters normally used for house plants ($7.95).
http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1279441&CAWELAID=109336674

You want a moisture level of medium or higher--or at least the same as where the grass is green. Does this area get the most sun? Fine fescue does not do well in the heat. Are there a lot of tree roots pulling moisture out of the soil? Place coffee mugs in the area and run the sprinklers--check to see how much water collects.

Fungus is still a possibility: Check the fat four: red thread, dollarspot, brown patch, necrotic ring spot. And the little two: powdery mildew and leaf spot.

Kiril
07-11-2010, 11:46 AM
Do you have ground-penetrating-radar?

Sweet! Now your talking. :clapping:

Perhaps buy one of those soil moisture meters normally used for house plants ($7.95).
http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1279441&CAWELAID=109336674

Those are junk. Lincoln is a decent tester for the price.

http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?mi=3052

clean_cut
07-11-2010, 08:58 PM
It could be a lot of thing, soil compaction, rocks in there you can see etc ect.

DO NOT aerate now. You aerate when your lawn is growing vigorously in the spring or fall so it can repair itself.

You aerate now you are going to have a bunch of holes with no regeneration till fall.

I was thinking something along those lines, maybe some spot has compacted soil or some doesn't, or one drains and another holds water.

AI Inc
07-12-2010, 06:32 AM
well acording to the customer, " That damn irrigation system isnt working right"

ChiTownAmateur
07-12-2010, 03:21 PM
I'm 98% sure it isn't disease...it responds too well to direct watering (you can almost see it green up on the spot)

based upon how ridiculously bad they did in laying my front yard i can only imagine what is underneath the backyard. but because of the giant oak back there, i know that somewhere down there is a lot of tree roots.

since i moved in a few years ago there has never been any aeration done and i think that alone will begin to improve things. My guess is rocks, branches, etc are down there, hopefully no bodies

americanlawn
07-14-2010, 09:38 PM
holy sh$t buddy -- you ain't the only one. I ran a service call today. New customer that previously lived in Michigan, Chicago, Mpls, and now Des Moines. When I got there, I pulled out the "truth detector" (soil probe). She was amazed that her soil was pure CLAY instead of the rich "farm ground that Iowa is known for. I don't think a few tree roots are your main problem. Sounds like a soil problem. Most customers do not own a soil probe, but they can use a "screw driver" to probe the soil in order to detect soil probs. Mow high (3 - 3 1/2 inches) during the summer heat regarding cool season turf. My 2 cents.
Assume for a moment that the entire lawn is the same grasses and it is getting equal amounts of sun, fertilizer and water. Soil quality is also tested and good.

In the recent very hot heat, I noticed in my backyard that certain patches go brown much faster than others. Over the last 2 years I have slowly renovated what was a neglected sod lawn. (seed, water, fertilizer, grubs, etc.)

So what I see happening is that as the really hot weather descended (about 2-3 weeks now of 80's - 90's) is that some areas stay very green while others brown quickly and require a lot of water to revive.

I do not think it is brown patch, it is simply areas that are browning from the heat.

Are these areas spots I should target for renovation now or in the Fall moreso than other areas? Should I take the aerator and go over just those spots for now, or is it better to just aearate the whole thing in fall and overseed at that time?

My initial guess is that the roots are shallower in those spots due to compaction or thatch and that aeration would not hurt...but then again I may be totally off in my analysis.

Any input is welcome, and especially tips for what the best long-term strategy is to improve those areas or the entire lawn as a whole.

(note: lawn is in midwest, i'm sure sod was kbg/fescue/rye as all sod up here is for the most part)

midsouth grass master
07-15-2010, 12:41 AM
The soil in the area could be hydrophobic and repelling a large quantity of the water yyou are applying. I use soil wetting agents to help areas that stress prematurely. I suggest you look up your local turf supply and get some professional wetting agent. It will benefit your entire lawn and greatly increase the efficiency of your irrigation. Lesco/JDL usually keep a good selection of those products.

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
07-15-2010, 12:58 AM
well acording to the customer, " That damn irrigation system isnt working right"

haha good call. thats what ive been hearin for the past three weeks of no rain and 95- 100 degree weather! and people seriously still wonder why there lawns are browning out and spot "burning".

Kiril
07-15-2010, 09:35 AM
The soil in the area could be hydrophobic and repelling a large quantity of the water yyou are applying. I use soil wetting agents to help areas that stress prematurely. I suggest you look up your local turf supply and get some professional wetting agent. It will benefit your entire lawn and greatly increase the efficiency of your irrigation. Lesco/JDL usually keep a good selection of those products.

Some compost and informed irrigation scheduling will do the same .... permanently .... and be FAR more beneficial to your soils and lawn health.

Kiril
07-15-2010, 09:40 AM
haha good call. thats what ive been hearin for the past three weeks of no rain and 95- 100 degree weather! and people seriously still wonder why there lawns are browning out and spot "burning".

I always find it amusing to watch this occur. The weather conditions the east coast is experiencing is what I see every summer .... yet I can somehow keep the grass green with minimal water. Guess it goes to show how prevalent poorly designed/managed irrigation systems and poorly managed soils are on the east coast .... not that we don't have our share out here as well.

AI Inc
07-15-2010, 02:33 PM
A lot of lawns this way are builder installed. 1-2 inches of loam if that. Normaly just spread whatever material is on site and hydro seed it. Pretty gross.

MikeT
07-24-2010, 12:52 PM
An oak of that size with roots throughout and beyond the drip line will win the competition for moisture in this weather.