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douglee25
03-05-2012, 11:45 AM
I have a customer I visited over the weekend. He told me this appears to be spreading but he's not 100% sure. Anyway, check out these pictures.

1. What caused this?
2. What is it?
3. What is your recommendation to fix it?

Thanks again.

Doug


http://i937.photobucket.com/albums/ad213/douglee25/CIMG1233.jpg

http://i937.photobucket.com/albums/ad213/douglee25/CIMG1234.jpg

http://i937.photobucket.com/albums/ad213/douglee25/CIMG1235.jpg

http://i937.photobucket.com/albums/ad213/douglee25/CIMG1236.jpg

http://i937.photobucket.com/albums/ad213/douglee25/CIMG1237.jpg

Hineline
03-05-2012, 12:14 PM
Who cares what it is. I would sell him a new lawn so fast it would make your head spin!

douglee25
03-05-2012, 12:29 PM
What would you recommend, sod or seed? Till everything up and then plant seed?

In a perfect world it would be great to give him a new lawn. Unfortunately like many people today in this economy, they don't want to invest a ton of money. There are two areas that are approximately 10'x15'. I was hoping I could either kill or till up the area, throw down some top soil, and lay some seed.

Thoughts?

Doug

Hineline
03-05-2012, 12:45 PM
First you will need to pull soil samples and get them off to the lab. Then you will have to wait until everything greens up like the tan patch of nimblewil or zoyzia in the pic plus whatever is growing and spreading. That way you can kill it thoroughly. Spray the entire front with Roundup wait a week to make sure you have it all then scalp it. Spread seed then aerify and repeat three times that day. Make sure you have put all your corrective inputs down from the soil test. Fertilize well and water heavy. Straw blanket if you like.

If all that is showing in the pic is most of the front yard you can do everything including soil sample, roundup spray, fertilize, seed and aerate in less than 8 hours. If this lawn is less than 5 K I would charge 1000.00-1500.00. Pick the best Bluegrass with a little perennial rye and you will now have a great start for treating and maintaining if you mow.

Kiril
03-05-2012, 12:54 PM
Pick the best Bluegrass with a little perennial rye and you will now have a great start for treating and maintaining if you mow.

Rye is junk grass .... bluegrass is inappropriate for this site and generally for the region given borderline transition zone & the apparent lack of irrigation. I do agree with the new lawn assessment, but the decision to till or not should be made based on soil test & physical conditions. Also, if the site does not have irrigation, then either get some or consider bailing on the lawn altogether and landscape it with regionally appropriate plants.

Hineline
03-05-2012, 01:02 PM
I disagree about a ryegrass mix like double eagle being junk. Outstanding color and adding some endophyte and bio-diversity for patch diseases is a good idea. I will agree that if there won't be any irrigating during the heat I would recommend TTTF for drought resiliency but I would mix in about 15% Bluegrass for spread and fill.

Patriot Services
03-05-2012, 01:11 PM
Are those lighter spots insect mounds? There is no saving that mess. Like previously stated, burn it all and fix the soil. Make the customer understand its almost impossible to have a nice yard without a real and efficient irrigation system.
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Kiril
03-05-2012, 01:14 PM
I disagree about a ryegrass mix like double eagle being junk. Outstanding color and adding some endophyte and bio-diversity for patch diseases is a good idea. I will agree that if there won't be any irrigating during the heat I would recommend TTTF for drought resiliency but I would mix in about 15% Bluegrass for spread and fill.

Rye grass is junk in part because it is susceptible to a large variety of diseases, requiring more intensive management. The only time I might consider a rye is for winter color in a warm season grass. When it comes to cool season turf grasses, fescue wins hands down for being the most tolerant and problem free grass. In this case a mix of fine, red, and tall fescue would be my choice, with maybe a very small amount of blue.

Hineline
03-05-2012, 01:20 PM
Kiril, you know I respect your thoughts always but putting fine fescues in full sun is a disaster up north for several months a year. I'll tell you why in a message if you like because I won't let that little secret out. It's huge problem and gives me a ton of renovation work each year.

douglee25
03-05-2012, 01:25 PM
Thanks for the advice so far - A couple of points to ponder...

1. Most lawns at this time of the year in the Northeast looks like complete crap. My yard looks like crap right now, but it looks beautiful during the year. It's hard for me to justify that to you when you see pictures like this though.

2. The customer did mention that other than those two spots, the yard comes in fairly well.

3. I do not have a pesticide license, so I can not spray round up or other chemicals on the lawn.

Based on that, do you have any other recommendations?

I suppose I decline on the grass scope of work and just bid on the rest.

Doug

Kiril
03-05-2012, 01:27 PM
Kiril, you know I respect your thoughts always but putting fine fescues in full sun is a disaster up north for several months a year. I'll tell you why in a message if you like because I won't let that little secret out. It's huge problem and gives me a ton of renovation work each year.

You can PM me if you want. My experience in a dry arid region that gets no rain for the majority of the year is, fescue (fine and otherwise) performs exceptionally well in full sun. Biggest problem with fescue in my area is summer patch, due in large part to improper soil and water management.

Hineline
03-05-2012, 01:55 PM
How old are you? Getting a license is a good investment for the future of your business. There is no reason this lawn should look like this after all the rain last year except that the grass is junk and you may have some issues you need to address from the soil test. Could have been a bug that took it out but my guess from the looks of all the poa that most of the yard is garbage and will always have problems from season to season.

Kiril
03-05-2012, 01:57 PM
How old are you? Getting a license is a good investment for the future of your business. There is no reason this lawn should look like this after all the rain last year except that the grass is junk and you may have some issues you need to address from the soil test. Could have been a bug that took it out but my guess from the looks of all the poa that most of the yard is garbage and will always have problems from season to season.

Agreed .... see bold.

douglee25
03-05-2012, 02:03 PM
How old are you? Getting a license is a good investment for the future of your business. There is no reason this lawn should look like this after all the rain last year except that the grass is junk and you may have some issues you need to address from the soil test. Could have been a bug that took it out but my guess from the looks of all the poa that most of the yard is garbage and will always have problems from season to season.

I'm not making excuses, but I already have a full time job. I used to do this full time, but now I have an engineering degree. This is something I do in my spare time to build cash reserves. Since this is something I do in my spare time, I need to be selective on what I take on. It sounds like this just isn't one of those jobs.

Doug

White Gardens
03-05-2012, 02:05 PM
Just do some soil samples first before you do anything.

Shouldn't have to apply anything restrictive such as herbicides unless there is something such as nimblewill in there.

....

Hineline
03-05-2012, 02:11 PM
I'm not making excuses, but I already have a full time job. I used to do this full time, but now I have an engineering degree. This is something I do in my spare time to build cash reserves. Since this is something I do in my spare time, I need to be selective on what I take on. It sounds like this just isn't one of those jobs.

Doug
I see, yes you have a bright future elsewhere. You have any friends in the business you can hand it off to? This is a slam dunk for relatively easy money and to make a customer very happy.

douglee25
03-05-2012, 02:13 PM
I see, yes you have a bright future elsewhere. You have any friends in the business you can hand it off to? This is a slam dunk for relatively easy money and to make a customer very happy.

That I do. I will probably decline and hand that portion of the business off to them.

Doug

Hineline
03-05-2012, 02:18 PM
These types of lawns are gold Jerry...GOLD! If they can't afford to have a great lawn for a few dollars then move on. I'd love to walk up to this lawn because it's 1000.00 in profit for a days work then I take care of the best lawn on the street for a very happy client. They will do anything I say after that!

RigglePLC
03-05-2012, 10:10 PM
I think Hineline makes some good points. You probably need to get rid of that patch of zoysia. And try to find out why the dead area is dead. Check for grubs. Is it the sunniest spot? I think I see a residue of some kind of creeping weed with a slightly reddish color. Or do I see roots from the maple tree? I see that the house faces north and the 15 feet near the house was protected from the hot sun by the shadow of the house. Refer him to an irrigation company, (and try to get a referral fee from said company). Best to reseed in the fall. A top-quality rye/blue mixture would do nicely--but--as Kiril mentioned--without irrigation, a blue/tall fescue blend would be happy. Add seed and fert. Aerate or rake to mix the seed into the top 1/2 inch of soil. Start when day temps hit about 60. Use a battery-operated sprinkler timer to set up a temporary irrigation system, ( you should be able to cover two 80-foot circles.) Since this is spring and not irrigated--do not guarantee anything whatever. Take his check when you are 50 percent completed on the job.

And you are probably correct--sod would be better looking, quicker and cost not that much more. Probably get paid quicker.

jbell36
03-05-2012, 11:55 PM
i'm not real familiar with PA's summer but if it is anything like Kansas then i wouldn't touch bluegrass, just simply isn't as tolerant as TTTF...does anyone have an idea of what happened in that spot? to me it looks like it holds water, and it probably held too much for too long...my other guess would be brown patch...i do agree, get that nasty bermuda or zoysia out of there, which is another pita because you have to wait for growing season which is june or july and kill it multiple times as one application won't do justice...a soil test is a must imo, then adjust accordingly...tilling is probably not necessary although i would aerate the sh*t out of it...

this lawn will take some work...if they are cheap then simply verticut seed in and tell them to water it with no guarantee...if they wanna go the whole nine yards of installing an irrigation system then so be it, but my bet is they don't...

Smallaxe
03-06-2012, 10:03 AM
That looks like a grass that dried out and couldn't survive the winter w/out snow cover. What kind of grass was that? An ugly tangle of dead stolons...
The soil seems to be an impervious clay and if that slope is facing South or West, you might be seeing ongoing problems with less than desireable weather conditions...

douglee25
03-06-2012, 11:06 AM
Thanks to everyone who has provided me with good advice.

I am working up the customer's estimate now, so I will see what he says within a week I would estimate.

Thanks again.

Doug