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HazyDavy
06-16-2004, 11:09 AM
Hello everyone. This is my first post/thread on this forum. I am relatively new to lawn care. I bought a house last July that had been vacant for about 3 years, so the lawn was a mess(weeds, crab grass, big bare spots) when I moved in. Last fall I used round up to kill most of my weeds and crabgrass, then a few weeks later raked it up, put down some topsoil, and seeded several times in the fall. I also began an organic lawn program. I used alfalfa pellets, then in the spring corn gluten mean as a pre-emergent. I must say, early this spring I had a great looking lawn. It was growing like crazy, and VERY GREEN. I did have a weed problem, and reluctantly used a weed killer, but I did have great results. Virtually all of my weeds were killed.

Now to my problem. I live in Raleigh,NC, and this May we had a period of about 4 weeks where it was hot, and we virtually had no rain. I watered heavily once about every 6 or 7 days(deeply and infrequently), but some of my grass started turning brown in patches and eventually died. I did learn(via rain gauges) that my sprinklers weren't putting out as must water as I thought. I would water for an hour, but depending on what sprinkler I used, I was only putting down 1/4-1/2" of water. I have corrected the problem and now put down at least an inch once a week. I'm trying to figure out if my grass died in patches because I didn't put down enough water and/or my grass was still pretty young and the roots may have been fairly shallow, or do I have a grub problem. Over the past few weeks I've noticed LOTS of Japanese Beetles, they've been tearing up my ornamental crabapple tree, and I have just sprayed it, reluctantly with a chemical. I have also read that grub damage generally doesn't appear until august.

I'm sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to get your thoughts on the reason for my brown spots. Thanks!

PS - I'm assuming I don't have a fungus problem as I put down lots of corn gluten meal in mid-march.

ayyo
06-18-2004, 12:04 AM
do you own a dog that likes to piss on your grass? or possibly your neighbor has a dog that likes to piss on your lawn. are they small patches of dead grass or large patches? if youve watered it and its still dying and it isnt dog piss then i cant help you

cenlo
06-18-2004, 12:16 AM
Seems like if your lawn is only turning brown and dying in patches that it is not due to water shortage. Are chinch bugs a problem in your area? Try turning over a pc of sod, you'll see the grubs (if there is any) then count # / ft2. For chinch bugs, they will be located in the thatch right next to the bare spots. Use a can with both ends cut out, hold in on the ground and fill with water. The chinch bugs will float to surface. For turf problems chech grass blades for irregularities and research.

Good Luck, Don

cenlo
06-18-2004, 12:22 AM
Originally posted by ayyo
do you own a dog that likes to piss on your grass? or possibly your neighbor has a dog that likes to piss on your lawn. are they small patches of dead grass or large patches? if youve watered it and its still dying and it isnt dog piss then i cant help you

What...........................;)

ChickensDoo
06-18-2004, 07:42 PM
try brown patch. carolina's & tall fescue. See info on building surpressive soils with poultry manures @ www. nutrients plus.com.
Corn Gluten high nitrogen product, avoid high n in spring on tall fescue. :cry:
ressed fall with resistant varieties

ayyo
06-20-2004, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by cenlo
What...........................;)




dog piss kills grass

cenlo
06-20-2004, 09:26 PM
dog piss kills grass

I understood the response, it just seemed a little shallow!

HazyDavy
06-21-2004, 08:37 AM
I did notice a couple of brown patches on my side lawn early this spring and suspected the neighbor's dog. I probably did overfertilize in the spring, but I also thought you were supposed to put down Corn Gluten Meal as a pre-emergent. Would overfertilizing cause the brown spots? Also, I pulled up a very small piece of turf, probably not big enough, but I didn't notice any bugs. Do you think bugs are the most likely cause, or overfertilizing?

If I do have a bug problem, what's the best way to handle it organically, or do I need to resort to pesticides?

Thanks for your help!

ayyo
06-21-2004, 05:38 PM
Originally posted by cenlo
I understood the response, it just seemed a little shallow!


sorry about that. i didnt mean for it to come across that way.:)

Randy J
06-21-2004, 09:32 PM
I'm guessing NC to be pretty humid, and you mentioned it was during a hot spell, so brown patch fungus is a possibility. Brown patch favors high humidity and temps over 85 during the day and over 60 at night. It also favors turf cut less than optimum height for that type of grass. Look for rings or patches anywhere from 5 inches to 10 feet in diameter, smoke rings - thin brown borders around the diseased patches early in the morning. You can also look on the grass leaves for spots, tan centers with dark brown to black margins.
Hope this helps, if nothing else than to rule something out.

HazyDavy
06-22-2004, 08:34 AM
It was pretty much in the 80's with some 90's during this period(May). The humidity was actually fairly low. The thing about this is there was always a small patch on my front lawn where the grass didn't come in that great. The coverage was good, but the grass didn't grow much and it was kind of wilted. That was the 1st patch to turn brown. I have also been doing quite a bit of landscaping(borders, flower bed), which required my cutting out small sections of grass and I never noticed any grubs. I'm torn between staying the organic course and doing nothing else, or putting down a bug killer(last resort), or using Milky Spore.

I'm really trying to avoid killing beneficial microbes and my earthworms, which I have a lot of.

Thanks for your responses so far.

HazyDavy
06-22-2004, 08:36 AM
And oh by the way, I cut my grass at the highest height for my lawnmower. I have tall fescue.

Randy J
06-22-2004, 09:03 AM
My opinion is through some compost down, about 1/2 inch worth, keep applying the organic fertilizer and stay the course. Get the soil healthy and the grass should come in thicker and thicker. Organics do take a while, but I feel it's worth it.
Good luck.

HazyDavy
06-22-2004, 11:31 AM
That's my plan, but sometimes I have weak moments. Thanks for your input.

Rtom45
06-22-2004, 02:58 PM
Another possibility to consider is the soil itself. If you're new to the property, there may have been some pre existing bad soil conditions. Some topsoil would allow your grass to start out green, but when conditions got tough, the grass petered out. Do a soil test on the bad areas.

HazyDavy
06-23-2004, 08:08 AM
That's very possible Rtom. There's a section on my side lawn that was very hard and rocky, and I did put some topsoil down, but it probably wasn't enough. I've also dug up some branches and large rocks in that area. I was actually thinking this morning that before I re-seed that area in the fall that I'll have some topsoil mixed with compost and aged chicken manure hauled in and I'll spread it out.

Randy J
06-23-2004, 08:17 AM
When you amend the soil, don't forget to till the amendment in to a depth of about 6 inches - you don't have to till in compost topdressing, but topsoil added in, etc, should be. Otherwise the grass will find the top layer of topsoil much better to grow in, and will resist sending roots down into the lower layer of less desirable soil.

trying 2b organic
06-23-2004, 12:37 PM
If you dont get any new patches it was grubs from the Japanese beetles. Next yr apply Nematodes as a preventative. Nematodes are a safe biological control. They will kill the grubs that fed on the grass roots. The chemical control for white grubs of Japanese beetles is Merit.