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godzilla
10-24-2012, 11:21 PM
This spring we subbed out the renovation of a new lawn for one of our more demanding clients. The sub brought in 60 yards of what is now know to be fill to cover an 8,000 sq ft existing lawn. We raised the irrigation heads on the property at a cost of over 1K. The lawn is not growing, and the client is not happy. A recent soil test came back with a CEC of 5.3, (we are still waiting on a full report)

What would your course of action be?

Remember... the client is very demanding, and simply adding more topsoil is not an option.

RigglePLC
10-25-2012, 08:58 AM
I would like more information. What do you mean by not growing? Non-germination? Very thin? Slow growth? Poor clipping yield? Can you mow once per two weeks? Color pale? Late seeding? Too cold for good growth? Grass species? Dwarf-type? Seed type and origin? Have you applied lime? Nitrogen?

Why was renovation needed? Is it the same problem--shade for instance? Is growth better in parts and poor in parts? Why?

Cadzilla
10-25-2012, 09:00 AM
Cation exchange is a little out of my league but is this really sandy fill and original soil?

If they were able to determine the CEC then you should also have a PH level. What is that?

Do you have a number for the percentage of soluble salts?

Have you tested the clients water?

Why did the lawn need topsoil and seed in the first place?

Why are you just getting to this now on a spring seeding job?

By 'Not Growing" do you mean Not Germinating?

How was this seeded. Hand, Hydro, Primary?


Sorry for the questions but to proceed with remedies we really ought to know why it's failing.

Cadzilla
10-25-2012, 09:02 AM
I would like more information. What do you mean by not growing? Non-germination? Very thin? Slow growth? Poor clipping yield? Can you mow once per two weeks? Color pale? Late seeding? Too cold for good growth? Grass species? Dwarf-type? Seed type and origin? Have you applied lime? Nitrogen?

Why was renovation needed? Is it the same problem--shade for instance? Is growth better in parts and poor in parts? Why?

Get out of my brain.

lol

godzilla
10-25-2012, 09:09 AM
We are seeing poor germination, and thin / slow growing turf which is stressed. It was originally hydroseeded. Job was done because lots of roots competing with a thin layer of topsoil over lots of rock. Water is fine at this property, no questions there. It was fertilized at least 3 times since the lawn was put in, and we aerated / overseeded in the fall to try to help things along... same problem, piss poor germination.

Cadzilla
10-25-2012, 09:16 AM
I'd be very curious what the PH levels are and what the at least Macro nutrient levels are.

I have to believe this is some seriously depleted sandy soil with a crap PH level causing nutrient lockup. Thats where my head is leaning with the info I have.

What kind of fertilizer was applied? High P or High N.

This also sounds like shady conditions, Yes?

What kinds of trees?

godzilla
10-25-2012, 09:37 AM
The 3 shots of fertilizer were all nitrogen based. I believe 1 was slow release, and 2 were starter.

There is a shading situation for part of the area, lots of oaks on the property.

Smallaxe
10-25-2012, 09:45 AM
Germination doesn't rely on soil fertility, CEC or even pH as far as I know... If you've place sand on top of a thin layer of topsoil, my guess would be that you're watering the trees more than the turf... adding compost originally instead of dirt would've paid off big dividends w/out raising any sprinkler heads...
Compost for 8k, doesn't have to be that thick, but the seed needs something to hold moisture around it... I imagine this picky client insists on bagging as well...
I'd do a dormant overseeding and adding compost , at least, to main areas... this will be a slow recovery as the instant result opportunity is past, IMO...

What other options do you see since you're on site???

Cadzilla
10-25-2012, 10:07 AM
Germination doesn't rely on soil fertility, CEC or even pH as far as I know... If you've place sand on top of a thin layer of topsoil, my guess would be that you're watering the trees more than the turf... adding compost originally instead of dirt would've paid off big dividends w/out raising any sprinkler heads...
Compost for 8k, doesn't have to be that thick, but the seed needs something to hold moisture around it... I imagine this picky client insists on bagging as well...
I'd do a dormant overseeding and adding compost , at least, to main areas... this will be a slow recovery as the instant result opportunity is past, IMO...

What other options do you see since you're on site???


You can get turf seed to germinate in a paper towel, but it will not survive because it has no food.

I agree with the addition of organic matter or good topsoil but am sure this is a PH nutrient availability issue.

What kind of Oaks?

Pins? Whites?

Are they at all chlorotic by chance?

Smallaxe
10-25-2012, 10:21 AM
The issue is poor germination... let's stay focussed on germination... being side-tracked onto 'after germination, doesn't help us understand what is the cause of poor germination... :)

nighthawk117
10-25-2012, 06:42 PM
Would you care to share or show the seed tag used on this property ? What was planted ? If this is such a demanding client wouldn't you have made sure the material that was hauled in was from a known source ?
I've got some Top Gun II , Impulse perennial rye, Touché Kentucky bluegrass growing in the bed of one of my trucks from 6 weeks ago, looks like it needs a bit of fert.

godzilla
10-25-2012, 09:17 PM
Germination doesn't rely on soil fertility, CEC or even pH as far as I know... If you've place sand on top of a thin layer of topsoil, my guess would be that you're watering the trees more than the turf... adding compost originally instead of dirt would've paid off big dividends w/out raising any sprinkler heads...
Compost for 8k, doesn't have to be that thick, but the seed needs something to hold moisture around it... I imagine this picky client insists on bagging as well...
I'd do a dormant overseeding and adding compost , at least, to main areas... this will be a slow recovery as the instant result opportunity is past, IMO...

What other options do you see since you're on site???

A slow recovery is not an option per se. I'm thinking remove the crap, bring in good material and cover with sod. Make the sub pay for it. I've already spoken with a few people about it, and should be able to get the money for it.

bigslick7878
10-26-2012, 05:40 PM
Would like to see some pics, but giant oak trees I am sure have something to do with it.

RigglePLC
10-26-2012, 07:47 PM
Germination depends on adequate moisture and temperature above 50. As Smallaxe pointed out, not much else matters.

If this is a shade problem...seed might germinate...but the grass won't last long. Sod is poor in the shade, (although it might look good at first.) Shade-thinned areas should be planted with one of the well-known shade-adapted ground cover plants: myrtle, ivy, pachysandra, lamium...and more.

One additional potential problem is that there is some chemical in the fill sand that was brought in. Take a sample of the fill and try to grow some of your seed inside on your windowsill. Compare to good soil. And while you are doing that--try a different type of seed. Its possible the original seed was stored too long or under too hot conditions. Under ideal conditions, perennial rye should be a quarter-inch tall after 96 hours.

Show the customer the results. Ask to see his water bill. Never believe when a customer tells you how much he watered.

Hope this helps. We are trying. Grass seed isn't easy. Sub will blame it on the homeowner. Your arguments will fall on deaf ears. Ms Experience is a great teacher, but she is mean. Sod is a good choice. And get a new sub.

godzilla
10-26-2012, 08:38 PM
Germination depends on adequate moisture and temperature above 50. As Smallaxe pointed out, not much else matters.

If this is a shade problem...seed might germinate...but the grass won't last long. Sod is poor in the shade, (although it might look good at first.) Shade-thinned areas should be planted with one of the well-known shade-adapted ground cover plants: myrtle, ivy, pachysandra, lamium...and more.

One additional potential problem is that there is some chemical in the fill sand that was brought in. Take a sample of the fill and try to grow some of your seed inside on your windowsill. Compare to good soil. And while you are doing that--try a different type of seed. Its possible the original seed was stored too long or under too hot conditions. Under ideal conditions, perennial rye should be a quarter-inch tall after 96 hours.

Show the customer the results. Ask to see his water bill. Never believe when a customer tells you how much he watered.

Hope this helps. We are trying. Grass seed isn't easy. Sub will blame it on the homeowner. Your arguments will fall on deaf ears. Ms Experience is a great teacher, but she is mean. Sod is a good choice. And get a new sub.

The lawn was watered 22 min a day every day. Irrigation system.

nighthawk117
10-26-2012, 10:50 PM
The lawn was watered 22 min a day every day. Irrigation system.
Really ? Who recommended that watering cycle ? :rolleyes:

Smallaxe
10-27-2012, 09:43 AM
... One additional potential problem is that there is some chemical in the fill sand that was brought in. ...

That occurred to me yesterday as well... there is so much residual in so many areas wheresoil is dug out that there might be some inhibitors to germination that aren't even understood that well...
Hopefully no one has actually used pre-m in their "fertilizer" by mistake in the past 3 months... :)

Kiril
10-27-2012, 11:03 AM
Water is fine at this property, no questions there.

Of course you determined this by auditing the soil and irrigation system ..... right?