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View Full Version : What is going on with my lawn?


les anderson
07-03-2011, 09:36 AM
I am in Miami and have lived in this home for just about a year. I have a few large damage spots on my lawn and am not sure what to do. At first I thought I may have over fertilized with some Scott's but I am not sure anymore. I have heavily watered over the last few weeks but have not seen any improvement besides a couple of green weeds in these dead patches. Can anyone tell me what is going on and suggest an appropriate course of action? Thanks

capelawncare.com
07-03-2011, 09:43 AM
I am going to hazard a guess at chinch bugs.

gregory
07-03-2011, 10:19 AM
dont know. dont see any yellowing at the edges.. hard to see the edges. get some other pics close to were the grass is green still...

Ric
07-03-2011, 10:26 AM
dont know. dont see any yellowing at the edges.. hard to see the edges. get some other pics close to were the grass is green still...

Karl

I believe the close up was taken in the shade. Therefore All I can see is Black. No way I can see the problem from these pictures.

les anderson
07-03-2011, 10:42 AM
I appreciate the help!

Keith
07-03-2011, 10:54 AM
Is this Palmetto St. Augustine?

les anderson
07-03-2011, 11:04 AM
I honestly have no idea.

Ric
07-03-2011, 11:17 AM
Les

I was just in your City over Fathers Day. A great place to visit but you may keep the Traffic.

Sorry but I am not sure what your problem is. I see folded leaves that tells me it isn't get nutrients to the Leaf blade, mainly water. If the Grass is in fact more Blue in color than Black then that might tell me it is a drought issue. How ever it could be a fungus also. Grub Season isn't here so it shouldn't be grubs but then we are still not sure of the life cycle of the Sugar Cane Grub. I am trying to think of every thing that will cause roots to not uptake nutrients.

What is the History of treatment on your Lawn. What Chemicals like Insecticide and Fungicide have been applied and WHEN. What amount and Blend of Fertilizer and HOW WHEN AND WHERE was it applied?? Looking at picture is not like touching smelling and feeling the turf.


In Edit

A second Look at the Picture. Is That Brown instead of black?? BTW I am color blind but not to Black and brown.

les anderson
07-03-2011, 12:12 PM
The traffic can be awful but if you live/work strategically it is not bad at all. I am always headed in the opposite direction of the heavy traffic. :usflag:

Here is a pic of the only thing I have used to treat the lawn. I applied it twice, once about 5 months ago and then again 8 weeks ago because of an issue with dollar weed. I applied it using a hand spreader.

The lawn looks burnt to me and is brown.

Ric
07-03-2011, 12:49 PM
Les

I don't think it is chinch bugs or grubs. I am thinking it might be Drought Stress but would need to know when is started going bad and if rain or irrigation is a factor in order to make a decision. But I am never going to be actuate from a Picture.

Scott Fertilizer I stay away from because I have a college education and many years in both Agriculture and Horticulture . Scotts Fertilizer IMHO is a rip off. If I am correct Bounds S has a very high first number and very low second and third numbers in the Blend. That ratio is the Cheap mix with the High priced Ink on the bag. Nitrogen which is the first number is what cause top growth and a visible response. It also causes Fungus which might be your problem and is the Cheapest Element of the 17 elements of Fertilizer. Granular Urea Nitrogen is literally sucked out of the Air we breath which is 78% nitrogen.

44DCNF
07-03-2011, 01:46 PM
Is this what take all patch looks like while it's taking out a lawn? I've seen images of the damage I believe but not as it's happening.

Ric
07-03-2011, 02:07 PM
Is this what take all patch looks like while it's taking out a lawn? I've seen images of the damage I believe but not as it's happening.

44

I don't think this is Take all Root Rot cause by the soil borne microbial Gaeumannomyces graminis graminis or Ggg. In fact I don't think Ggg is even in your neck of the woods. But one way to help Diagnose Ggg is to look for the Mycelium which looks like a web on the turf in the earl morning. A more complete diagnoses is done by reproducing or growing the Microbial in a petri dish and matching the Mycelium to know stains under magnification. All microbial mycelium have a signature growth pattern.

Time to cut more grass, I check back in when need to cool off again

maynardGkeynes
07-03-2011, 02:29 PM
Florida, this time of year, hi-nitro fert....fungus probably. I see some evidence of spotting on the blades, but a picture before it turned to pure thatch would have been more helpful.

kenel
07-08-2011, 10:12 AM
alien spaceships.

call NASA asap please.

les anderson
07-08-2011, 06:40 PM
I am really starting to get concerned about this. I can tell I am about to lose another huge patch of what was healthy grass just a few days ago. It has rained the last couple of days so I haven't been looking too hard but this seem to have happened almost instantly. The 3rd and 4th pictures down show the spot I was writing about last week in the foreground and then the new patch that is seemingly on its way out.

lawnguy26
07-08-2011, 10:02 PM
WOW!!! That is a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Looking at the first pics this area looked to be healthy just 3-4 days ago. The only things I know of that can damage that large of an area that fast is webworm/armyworm, drought or mis-application.

But I can tell you webworm/armyworm did not cause the first damage.

les anderson
07-08-2011, 10:06 PM
Posted via Mobile Device

les anderson
07-08-2011, 10:09 PM
Is it possible that problem from over fertilizing weeks ago could lay dormant for so long? I have watered the hell out of it the last 6 weeks and we got a ton of rain mid week.
Posted via Mobile Device

eball1
07-08-2011, 11:01 PM
It looks like it could be drought stress. maybe some sort of fungus. does it start near the road? may be ground pearls or nematodes. Just some suggestions. I'm not for absolute sure. It does look like st augustine turf. I don't know about Miami but here in NC I don't see a whole lot of that turf around here but we do have some customers with that turf type. I hope my suggestions helped!

Keith
07-08-2011, 11:39 PM
Take a look at some of the good areas while you still have some. See what color the stolons (runners) are. Should be some shade of green, purple or white. I'm really curious what variety this might be.

Landscape Poet
07-09-2011, 12:31 AM
I am just guessing here as is everyone else. I really think it appears to be drought stress or insect related. I am leaning against it being over fertilizing just based off of the photos because the turf does not appear that it is really dark green for a SA variety but maybe it is just the photo. Also if it was just a case of a little fert being over applied in those areas I would think the areas which have not declined, well the areas right outside of the declined areas would be super dark and thicker because of the excess nutrient super charging it. Another sign I would assume would be there would be GLS on the leaf blades because over fert, over water and our environment usually lends itself to GLS from my experiences.

Les a couple of questions - 1. are you familiar in scouting for chinch bugs and if you are have you looked in the green areas right outside of the declined areas for them? 2. I know it is obvious but have you check your irrigation system to ensure it is operating properly and heads are not clogged/or rotating properly to give good coverage.

les anderson
07-09-2011, 01:31 PM
I dont really know how to look for chinch bugs but I am thinking I should just treat for them anyway. The good grass simply appears to be gone- I don't see how anything else could take it so fast. Would it hurt to treat for chinch bugs even if they turn out not to be the problem? Anyone have a recc on a decent product?

I am also thinking it might be to have a pro come by. Anyone decent in South Miami/Coral Gables, FL that anyone knows of?

maynardGkeynes
07-09-2011, 01:45 PM
Misapplication..... The instructions for Bonus say:

Do not apply to lawns or mixed lawns of bahiagrass, bermudagrass, bluegrass, fine fescue, bentgrass, tall fescue or dichondra.

Given your area, you may have had patches of Bahia or Bermudahrass that you have now killed off. Do you know what you had?

les anderson
07-09-2011, 01:58 PM
Of course not! But that application was probably 8-12 weeks ago. Does that make sense?
Posted via Mobile Device

maynardGkeynes
07-09-2011, 02:55 PM
Of course not! But that application was probably 8-12 weeks ago. Does that make sense?
Posted via Mobile DevicePossibly, for a selective herbicide, which tend to work slowly when there is not much growth. Note also, u said first signs were several weeks ago, not today. But I would also try to rule out insects, and fungus first. I know that is not much help....

les anderson
07-09-2011, 03:24 PM
Several weeks ago on the first spot. This new spot was fine last week. Something got it quick and it has been watered very well.
Posted via Mobile Device

maynardGkeynes
07-09-2011, 05:29 PM
Several weeks ago on the first spot. This new spot was fine last week. Something got it quick and it has been watered very well. Posted via Mobile DeviceThe damage is too complete and sudden (in presentation) for almost anything but roundup or an herbicide IMO. But who knows? It really doesn't matter now, because you are through for this year on the existing turf. What I would do is give it a good scrape and low mow, and overseed now with perennial rye. At least you will have a lawn starting in 5 days. But you will need to keep it LIGHTLY misted the next 2 weeks. In the fall, plug in the warm season grass of your choice, or just resod the whole lawn.

Patriot Services
07-09-2011, 09:39 PM
The damage is too complete and sudden (in presentation) for almost anything but roundup or an herbicide IMO. But who knows? It really doesn't matter now, because you are through for this year on the existing turf. What I would do is give it a good scrape and low mow, and overseed now with perennial rye. At least you will have a lawn starting in 5 days. But you will need to keep it LIGHTLY misted the next 2 weeks. In the fall, plug in the warm season grass of your choice, or just resod the whole lawn.

He's in Miami. Exactly how is he finished for this season? Worst case scanario is resod the area. Bugs and Fungus can run that rampant through turf down here. I think fungus will be worse this year with the increased rain we have had the past few days.:usflag:

agrostis
07-09-2011, 09:52 PM
Is that yard that shady all of the time ?

les anderson
07-09-2011, 10:01 PM
Is that yard that shady all of the time ?

No, there are a few spots that are mostly in the shade but where the issues are there is several hours of direct sunlight every day. I run my sprinkler system twice a week for 2hrs and then another 3-5 hrs on the weekend using the hose and a basic sprinkler in this area.

Is it possible that is not enough water?
Posted via Mobile Device

ProMo
07-09-2011, 10:09 PM
I am thinking fungus.I suggest looking up your county extension and cut a small section containing good and bad grass and bring it to them for proper diagnosis.

les anderson
07-09-2011, 10:11 PM
Okay, good suggestion.
Posted via Mobile Device

agrostis
07-09-2011, 11:00 PM
I don't want to diagnose a problem from a 1200 miles away with just some pictures. But that sounds like too much water. But your in sandy soil and it is heavy clay around here. A soil test for this problem is in order.

Landscape Poet
07-10-2011, 09:07 AM
I am thinking fungus.I suggest looking up your county extension and cut a small section containing good and bad grass and bring it to them for proper diagnosis.

This is the proper way to get your best possible answer. We are all trying to diagnose your problem from a computer many miles away. Your County extension agent should be able to get you headed in the right direction.

Landscape Poet
07-10-2011, 09:12 AM
I dont really know how to look for chinch bugs but I am thinking I should just treat for them anyway. The good grass simply appears to be gone- I don't see how anything else could take it so fast. Would it hurt to treat for chinch bugs even if they turn out not to be the problem? Anyone have a recc on a decent product?

I am also thinking it might be to have a pro come by. Anyone decent in South Miami/Coral Gables, FL that anyone knows of?

Not that it is chinch bugs for sure....but if you are going to have a SA lawn...while you are at the county extension see if one of the agents would not mind showing you how to scout for them in a lawn. This way you can at at least eliminate them as the cause in the future if you experience issues. This will be valuable information for you to have as many homeowners think every spot in their lawn is caused by chinch bug and many will even apply a pesticide not knowing what the issue is. This constant exposure and misapplications of chemical agents is part of the reason why the l & O guys are fighting the resistant chinch bug battles of today.

abrightday
07-10-2011, 09:13 AM
Drought stressed areas followed by heavy rains, equal fungus on dead blades,,chinch would not leave grass blades,,
www.YourLandscapePro.com

Plantculture
07-11-2011, 08:16 AM
Possibly pythium root rot due to the overall chloritic appearance and non response to the Nitrogen application. Just a theory, without a microscope.

Mjcurry3
07-14-2011, 01:02 AM
Hey bud,
You need to get on this right away. I am almost willing to bet that you either have Grubs or Chinch bugs which is causing your issues. It is very hard to see from pictures, but I am going to try to help you the best I can. I truly don't believe you have any fungus. Brown patch is very scarce this time of year, and your turf is established. Also, you may have burnt the lawn with the fert depending on how much you put down, but I don't believe this is your problem either.

1) Go out to the area of dieing turf, not the dead stuff but the turf on the edge of the dead spot that is still slightly green. Right on the edge of where the circles are starting to die, and grab the turf and lift up. Try this in several different areas. If the grass is loose like a carpet, you have grubs. Also, keep an eye out for yellowing, this one always one of the first signs of grub damage. Also, grub will cause the area to look like it is drought stressed because the turf cannot uptake water or other nutrients like it needs because the root system has been severely severed. Chances are if you do have grubs, you could even see then when looking closely in your turf, or even digging up an area of about 1 square foot about 4 inches down.

If you do have grubs, go to your local John Deere store, and ask for either a 50lb bag of Dylox and spread accordingly. Dylox is not a product that will burn your lawn or stain your driveway, so put it down.... Be Careful not to water the Dylox for more than about 20m minutes each zone after it has been applied. I personally like to use Merit to treat for grubs, however this product is very expensive for a homeowner to buy. Merit is much better IMO because it gives you a very nice residual on the grubs.

I would think Miami is a hot spot for grubs because it is located so close to the water. Unfortunatly I don't work in Miami which I believe is where you said you are located.

2) I'm not going to go through the whole entire way to look for chinch bugs, but with the damage your lawn has, it should not be hard to see them because if it is chinch bugs you have a serious infestation. To check, go to the edge of the dieing turf, where the green and brown grass meet. Spread the grass apart till you can see the crown of the turf, and keep your eyes open for chinch bugs. They are about the size of a pen tip, sometimes a bit bigger or smaller. Most should be black with a white spot on their backs, you may also see very small orange chinch bugs as well.

If you have chinch bugs you may want to call a company that uses Merit, Allectus, or even Arena. It is hard sometimes for homeowners to spray chemicals properly because they do not have the proper spray equipment to do the job correctly. Sure you can use a backpack sprayer, however its very hard to spray an area this size correctly with a BP sprayer. Be sure that whatever company you choose to spray the bugs also uses a contact insecticide to go with any of the chemicals listed above. Allectus is the only product listed that has a contact insecticide mixed with it already. If you do decide you want to spray it yourself, goodluck lol. I would use Merit and something like Bifen XTS at the highest rate.


I really don't feel that you have serious irrigation concerns, because if it was your entire yard would look worse than it does. As opposed to right now you have areas that are dieing and not the whole entire lawn. However, I will tell you that more than likely if you have chinch bugs, you do have irrigation concerns which is what probably caused your issue to begin with. It is very important to make sure you lawn is getting proper coverage. With the size of the area you have on the photos, you are definitely running rotors. Right now in Florida, I recommend that my customers water their rotor zones for a minimum of 60 minutes per zone, twice per week. For the best results, I would run for 90 minutes twice a week. Something as simple as a rotor being adjusted improperly can cause drought issues. Many homeowners see the sprinkler heads spraying water and rotating and think they have perfect coverage. Make sure your rotors aren't over spraying the area, many people do not adjust the front adjustment of their rotors. This adjustment makes sure there is mist coming off the spray pattern which tremendously helps the lawn, especially the area closest to the head.

Good Luck to you, Hope this helps you.

Landscape Poet
07-14-2011, 08:48 PM
Where is Ric at? He usually corrects misinformation but has chosen to ignore this?

maynardGkeynes
07-14-2011, 09:13 PM
The way to check for grubs is to lift up the turf, and if you have them, you will see them. I'm dubious about the advice that doesn't mention this obvious knowledge of turf disease caused by grubs. Also, a few grubs are OK. It's like when you have a lot per square foot that it becomes an issue. I'm still with fungus or drought stress.

Landscape Poet
07-14-2011, 09:57 PM
My point being that if this guy was to take the majority of the advice given on this thread so far he would of sprayed a fungicide, a pesticide, in some advice two applications of pesticide which both would not have mattered to a resistant cinch bug. We have a guy thinking that brown patch is the only fungus that can take out turf apparently, people thinking that since there is green turf present that it could simply not be a irrigation problem when it very well could be, either too much moisture or not enough.
Simple fact is that the guy need to seek the advice of the county extension agent if he is a do it himselfer or call a reputable L and O company, most likely he will not only pay less in either case, he will also get quicker results than listening to us babble on here hundreds of miles away.

maynardGkeynes
07-14-2011, 10:41 PM
My point being that if this guy was to take the majority of the advice given on this thread so far he would of sprayed a fungicide, a pesticide, in some advice two applications of pesticide which both would not have mattered to a resistant cinch bug. We have a guy thinking that brown patch is the only fungus that can take out turf apparently, people thinking that since there is green turf present that it could simply not be a irrigation problem when it very well could be, either too much moisture or not enough.
Simple fact is that the guy need to seek the advice of the county extension agent if he is a do it himselfer or call a reputable L and O company, most likely he will not only pay less in either case, he will also get quicker results than listening to us babble on here hundreds of miles away.In a sense I agree, on the other hand....poor irrigation is overwhelmingly the cause of dead grass in summer. Either it dies of thirst or they get fungus from too much. Yes, the extension agent is great. but if most people just watered and fertilized properly the extension agents would be out of a job a long time ago. Not to offend anybody, but most landscapers are only slightly less clueless than the average homeowner when it comes to diagnosing lawn disease/problem.

Landscape Poet
07-14-2011, 10:55 PM
poor irrigation is overwhelmingly the cause of dead grass in summer. Either it dies of thirst or they get fungus from too much.

Or is dry and stressed and attract insect. Either way the OP will only know how to address the problem if he knows what is causing it. Even a simple answer like many of us have given of irrigation can be taken in a different view from a home owners. Ever tell one of your clients that there lawn was dry in the early spring, they listen to you and turn it up, and a month later their lawn is buried in dollar weed and sedge, and look at you like you are crazy for suggestion they dial back the irrigation now? Same issue here, OP does not know how to scout for cinch bugs, but yet some are telling him to use insecticides so we do not even know if it is the issue. Others like myself have mentioned irrigation, but what does that mean to most HO's, turn it up, and this case very well maybe a fungal issue brought on by over watering. To many variables for any of us to say for certain what it is off a few pictures...we are all just guessing.

bugsNbows
07-15-2011, 06:58 AM
Gentlemen please...they are CHINCH bugs not Cinch bugs. Know of what thy speak. IMO, the best chinch bug monitoring tool is a vacuum. It will pull out #'s and stages from 1st instars through adults. Helps in life cycle stage monitoring and treatment threshold level determinations.

lawnguy26
07-15-2011, 02:40 PM
if most people just watered and fertilized properly the extension agents would be out of a job a long time ago.

Fertilize properly maybe. But I'm not mother nature, and I'm pretty sure you're not, so where will the diagnosticians be when you get 6 inches of rainfall in four days and nothing but overcast skies? Or 30 days with no rain and watering restrictions?

maynardGkeynes
07-15-2011, 02:57 PM
Fertilize properly maybe. But I'm not mother nature, and I'm pretty sure you're not, so where will the diagnosticians be when you get 6 inches of rainfall in four days and nothing but overcast skies? Or 30 days with no rain and watering restrictions?I'm not dissing the extension guys, they are great, plus the soil tests are critical. People should use them. All I meant was that most of the problems I see is the homeowner has not done even the basic things right, like water right and fert properly. it's like they don't ever change the oil in their car, and then wonder why the engine goes bad.

greendoctor
07-15-2011, 03:23 PM
It is hard to fertilize a lawn in Florida for optimum health. The granola eaters have totally interfered with that. Enacting bans and restrictions that totally ignore what the grass needs. I love the environment, do not get me wrong. However, there will be fireworks when a granola eater tells me I cannot fertilize a lawn with what it needs, when it needs it, therefore causing all manner of problems with weed invasions, and pest/disease outbreaks.

I never understood the concept of a pre mixed, one size fits all weed and feed. Especially not the formula that Scotts sells for use on centipede and st augustine. For one thing, if I were contemplating an application of atrazine or simazine to a lawn, that lawn would have adequate levels of non urea nitrogen and potassium a month before. Scotts is all urea. Secondly, atrazine is not a good idea in really high heat or flooding rains. Especially not flooding rains. It will wash right through that sand and end up in the water supplies. I will not apply atrazine or simazine to an area that will be subjected to flooding rains. Only to turf areas that receive no more than 1.5" of water per week. Not 1.5" of water per hour for the next 24 hours.

maynardGkeynes
07-15-2011, 05:38 PM
It is hard to fertilize a lawn in Florida for optimum health. The granola eaters have totally interfered with that. Enacting bans and restrictions that totally ignore what the grass needs. I love the environment, do not get me wrong. However, there will be fireworks when a granola eater tells me I cannot fertilize a lawn with what it needs, when it needs it, therefore causing all manner of problems with weed invasions, and pest/disease outbreaks.

I never understood the concept of a pre mixed, one size fits all weed and feed. Especially not the formula that Scotts sells for use on centipede and st augustine. For one thing, if I were contemplating an application of atrazine or simazine to a lawn, that lawn would have adequate levels of non urea nitrogen and potassium a month before. Scotts is all urea. Secondly, atrazine is not a good idea in really high heat or flooding rains. Especially not flooding rains. It will wash right through that sand and end up in the water supplies. I will not apply atrazine or simazine to an area that will be subjected to flooding rains. Only to turf areas that receive no more than 1.5" of water per week. Not 1.5" of water per hour for the next 24 hours.I know that urea gets no love on this board, but the university extension studies do not mention the source of nitro as a factor. What they do mention is the release rate, and Scotts TurfBuilder is pretty good on that score. I don't own stock in Scotts or anything, but for DIY homeowners, they could do a lot worse than following the Scotts 4 step protocol. I am referring of course to the retail products, not the squirt and fert franchises.