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View Full Version : Can a dormant lawn look like this-or disease?


mikesturf
07-26-2011, 09:12 AM
We have been having hot and humid days with no rain for 3 weeks (it just rained 6 inches this weekend, so I'm watching for some recovery). Lawns are KBG, fescue and rye.

Many lawns in my area, fertilized or unfertilized have this issue going on. The affected areas are in the sun and the unaffected areas are green which are in the shade. The lawns that are irrigated look much better.

My question is CAN THIS BE JUST DORMANCY? So many times people just jump in a spray a fungicide and/or apply Dylox.

On my treated lawns I've used Merit so its not grubs.

The grass does not pull up when tugged. This is my lawn. I haven't mowed in 3 weeks, been so dry. This is the first year I haven't watered. I've applied 1/2 lb of N in April and 3/4 lb in mid June with Merit.

Smallaxe
07-26-2011, 09:25 AM
My guess is that the tire tracks has been killing some of he grass... either through running over it when its too wet then drying to compaction or heat stress and driven over when dried out... lot of straight lines in the dead zones...

disease could be a part of the problem, but most likely because the turf is in trouble from other factors...

mikesturf
07-26-2011, 09:28 AM
Its not tire tracks, I haven't mowed for 3 weeks and these areas get no foot traffic.

Smallaxe
07-26-2011, 09:53 AM
Something is going on there with those lines... plug the soil in those spots and see what that can tell you...

MnLefty
07-26-2011, 09:56 AM
Given your description of no rain, shaded areas and irrigated look better I would diagnose as simply good old fashioned drought stress. The uneven appearance could likely be differentiation/segregation of the different species/varieties of grass. Some tolerate the heat and drought a little better than others.

Most of the similar stuff I saw a few weeks ago recovered in a few days up to 10 days after a good soaking rain.

It seems we all overthink things from time to time as far as disease, grubs, whatever, and tend to dismiss the simplest explanation or think "there has to be something more going on." I know I do it myself too often.

mikesturf
07-26-2011, 10:01 AM
Something is going on there with those lines... plug the soil in those spots and see what that can tell you...

There are many lawns where there are no lines, just random spots in the sunny areas, where the shaded areas look fantastic.

As far as pulling a plug, if you are thinking high thatch, I have very little thatch. I double core aerate in the fall.

Smallaxe
07-26-2011, 10:13 AM
There are many lawns where there are no lines, just random spots in the sunny areas, where the shaded areas look fantastic.

As far as pulling a plug, if you are thinking high thatch, I have very little thatch. I double core aerate in the fall.

No I wasn't thinking thatch I was thinking soil...

RigglePLC
07-26-2011, 02:15 PM
Mnlefty has it right. Drought. As you can see some clumps of perennial ryegrass turned brown and left some clumps of a hardier bluegrass type, (maybe).
And yes, I see some slight mower tracks from weeks ago.

agrostis
07-26-2011, 04:15 PM
Looks like drought stress to me.

FERT-TEK
07-27-2011, 06:30 AM
Here ya go Mike, hope this helps. http://btny.agriculture.purdue.edu/turfcast/

mikesturf
07-27-2011, 09:51 AM
A few of you mentioned mowing tracks-my 21" mower (good call!). The white leveler in the picture is 24" long.

Also pictured is a soil plug.

Thanks for the link Dave.

mikesturf
07-27-2011, 10:44 AM
Here ya go Mike, hope this helps. http://btny.agriculture.purdue.edu/turfcast/

Hey Dave, Wally Dvorak's lawn on Streamwood Blvd. seems to have similar spots in the middle of his lawn. Are you thinking drought damage or disease?

Smallaxe
07-27-2011, 04:26 PM
Nice color to the soil... Is that a muck type texture? and is it as moist as it looks?

From what we can see there's no real thatch issue either...

FERT-TEK
07-27-2011, 07:27 PM
Hey Dave, Wally Dvorak's lawn on Streamwood Blvd. seems to have similar spots in the middle of his lawn. Are you thinking drought damage or disease?

Wally never returned this years contract. I called him multiple times and left messages with no reply. As you know most of those contracts were on the low side and he was getting the "senior discount". I have not seen the damage you mention but have not received callbacks from the other accounts nearby to see it either.

mikesturf
07-31-2011, 11:38 AM
Nice color to the soil... Is that a muck type texture? and is it as moist as it looks?

From what we can see there's no real thatch issue either...

Its good soil, at least the top 5 inches or so. The deeper you get the more clay and rocks you run into. Yes, it is still moist from the recent rains.

dgw
07-31-2011, 11:46 AM
i agree with the different cultivar theory and heat stress

i have this issue with fine fescue that some jerk put it my full sun front yard, before i bought my house

the other thing that would come to mind at a glance is chinch bug




are people really quick to put down dylox before checking for grubs?

Smallaxe
07-31-2011, 12:03 PM
Its good soil, at least the top 5 inches or so. The deeper you get the more clay and rocks you run into. Yes, it is still moist from the recent rains.

Doesn't really seem like you should have those kinds of problems with that kind of soil unless it was compacted before the heat came on... Some have claimed that the tracks can also spread the fungus in straight lines...

mikesturf
08-10-2011, 09:23 AM
2 weeks since first picture was taken and we have had lots of rain and temps at night in the 60s and daytime temps in the low 80s. I've mowed 3 times in past 13 days. Grass is coming back nicely. I have done nothing to the lawn. And yes I will spray the weeds in the mulch area.

fl-landscapes
08-10-2011, 01:31 PM
drought. But one other thing to consider when you see the stressed out areas in patterns like that. Sometimes caused my moles, voles, or other small burrowing animals that dry out roots when they tunnel through them exposing the roots to air.

RigglePLC
08-10-2011, 03:08 PM
Good going, Mike. You are on the right track. Now check for grubs just to be sure.

mikesturf
08-10-2011, 03:48 PM
Checked area, no grubs.

mikesturf
08-11-2011, 10:50 PM
I just received this email from the Ohio newsletter regarding this topic:

" IS THE GRASS DORMANT OR PERMANENTLY DORMANT? For those areas of Ohio that received sparse amounts of rain over the last 2 months, there may be many homeowners looking at their lawns wandering if their turfgrass is just gone dormant or is it DEAD? BYGLers have gotten into long conversations in the past as to how one can determine if grass is simply dormant or dead. Some of the methods for detecting life or death in the turf can be difficult for the untrained person. However, take heart, for Joe Rimelspach proposed a relatively simple life or death checking method. Joe said, "pick a spot, any spot in the yard, and water it well. Give about an inch of water, let it soak in well and wait to see what happens. If the grass is alive, the application of water should stimulate it to start growing again and new grass shoots should appear in the dead, brown-looking area. If the grass is dead, nothing will happen." If nothing happens, one should probably count on doing some renovation work later this summer and early fall, or expect to deal with major weed problems in the future."

Ben Greener
08-12-2011, 12:39 AM
Mike, in answer to your question, yes- a dormant lawn can absolutely look like that. If its a stand of mature turf, and if it were a foliar disease, then the turf should be able to regrow new foliage once favorable growing conditions return. Be careful not to over-water- too much or too frequent watering of dormant turf can be injurious and invite disease.