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Old 08-11-2014, 11:36 PM
Skidoojunky Skidoojunky is offline
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Grass seed Germination problems

Hey guys, looking for a little bid of advice here. I do a fair amount of lawn grading/re-seeding/overseeding in central illinois. I primarliy use a 3 way bluegrass/ryegrass/fescue blend that works great for my climate and soil types.Traditionally I don't do spring or summer seeding and I try to wait until fall to do all of my seeding. I did however have a customer that was insistent upon me seeding his lawn in July. Being a very small yard (approx 6000sq ft) and the fact that the homeowner is retired and willing to commit to watering I seeded his yard. The back yard and side yards came up fine and he will soon mow them for the first time. The front yard however is a different story! The homeowner had some sewer problems when building and his front yard was dug up 6ft deep in places. There were many different soil types in that 6ft profile. I dd my best to remove the clay and brought in a load of black dirt to help fill in. The grass is spotty and there is probably less than a 20% stand. It seems the fescue is germinating, coming up and then dying mainly over the area that was excavated. There is mold on the area that is the worst. My thoughts were to apply 9lb per 1000sq ft of activated charcoal and humic acid to try and cleanse amd sterilze the soil, lightly tilling it in and re-seeding. Do any of you guys have any experience with a situation like this? I am stumped and out of the 10's of thousands of pounds of seed I have sowed I have never seen this before? Thanks in advance!!

Junkman
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:18 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is online now
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What kind of mold are you seeing??? The excavated area should be no different than the rest of the lawn except it has brought a certain texture up on the surface and grows mold... What is the texture of soil that currently dominates the top 6 INCHES of the lawn... Texture meaning sand, clay loam...

What I would do is till the soil to even consistency, soak it down,, let it dry then,,, rake in new seed, cover with generous compost and soak it again...
That should work unless you have something seriously awry with the soil... My guess is that the soils were never soaked since prep time, more than a couple inches deep so the ground continues to settle as the roots try to grab something to eat...
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Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:31 AM
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RigglePLC RigglePLC is online now
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I think your method will work, Skidoo.
AS you suspect, there may be some herbicide or chemical in the soil you brought in. Activated charcoal is the way to go. You should also run a test with the same soil in a container on your desk to check on the germination under controlled conditions. Compare to "clean" soil in a second container.

Secondly, if the weather was hot and he watered heavily, pythium disease may have knocked out most of the new seed. Cooler weather and slightly less water combined with adequate drainage, should allow a second seeding to succeed. Fungicide as needed.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:10 PM
Skidoojunky Skidoojunky is offline
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Thanks for the replies guys! smallaxe, I was away on vacation and the homeowner knew there was something not right so he quit watering. When I got back the mold had dried up and turned a reddish brown. Since last fall I have brought in a BUNCH of fill dirt. I would say that presently the top 6" is a silt/loam drummer mix. We are blessed with very good dirt locally and when someone says "black dirt" around here they mean BLACK DIRT!

Riggle, today I spread activated charcoal and humic acid with a drop spreader, tilled it lightly and had the homeowner soak the are with a sprinkler. I am going to wait until later in the week and re-seed the area. Before I left on vacation I suspected trouble so I actually took a small portion of the same dirt with me and seeded it in a large bowl, watered it daily and by the 5th day I had grass. There continues to be more grass germinate daily in the bowl. Curious about the pythium though. Lawn grading and seeding has been a sideline for me for the last 15 years or so. By trade I am actually part owner of a retail fertilizer plant and have access to every fertilizer, herbicide, insecticide, and fungicide under the sun. What turf version of a fungicide are you using to get soil activity against pythium? Is it a triazole, triazole/strobulin combo? I am all ears!!!! I treat my lawn twice yearly as common rust is a problem in my area. I use a triazole/strobulin combo.
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:00 AM
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Jcl4slc Jcl4slc is offline
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Sounds to me like you need to lime the yard
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:37 AM
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foreplease foreplease is offline
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This may be an area it would pay to mulch (6 50# bags PennMulch as a first choice! couple bales of straw at a minimum) now that you worked it up and reseeded. You are coming into a much better time of year for this action. Hopefully a month from now it will look as good or better that the other areas.

I do not believe in black dirt/top soil. I might have a little cut into acceptable sand if it was thoroughly mixed and screened, but have never and will never have a load of black dirt brought to a job site. That said, you have a lot of experience in your area and I am sure you know what works there. Perplexing problem. Hope you get it straightened out.
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:40 PM
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RigglePLC RigglePLC is online now
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http://plantscience.psu.edu/research...es/damping-off

http://www.valent.com/pests/pythium.cfm
http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/Diseas...um_Blight.aspx

Cooler temps and make sure water is not in excess should solve the problem. And several fungicides are available--such mefenoxam.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:25 PM
Skidoojunky Skidoojunky is offline
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Thanks again for the replies guys!!!

Foreplease, sounds to me like you might be up for a little bit of a friendly competition?? I will grow some kentucky blue in some drummer flanagan and you can grow some of your grass species of choice in your mulch/sand/straw mix and let's see who has the best looking turf in 6 months?? I'm game!!! Thanks again!

Riggle, thanks for the links! The last one was the most helpful with the efficacy chart as well as resistance chart!

Going to re-seed the yard this weekend

Junkman
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:28 AM
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foreplease foreplease is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidoojunky View Post
Foreplease, sounds to me like you might be up for a little bit of a friendly competition?? I will grow some kentucky blue in some drummer flanagan and you can grow some of your grass species of choice in your mulch/sand/straw mix and let's see who has the best looking turf in 6 months?? I'm game!!! Thanks again!

Junkman
Nah, you'd probably whip me - I'm on your side fwiw. I don't mix mulch or straw into sand. I will be redoing a baseball infield soon where I plan to use PennMulch and topdress with a sand-compost mix.

I had to read the USDA Soil Survey web site to understand what you are up against with drummer flanagan. Looks like a tough base. I bet surface drainage is important. I would have to do some reading and experimenting to learn how to properly water that stuff. Sounds like having it dry out in time to plant corn and beans may be a problem too?
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:20 AM
Skidoojunky Skidoojunky is offline
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Yes! Drummer can be a double edged sword. It holds nutrients and water very well.....sometimes TOO GOOD! Even this customers front yard has a perforated tile in it. More often than not here we rely on the water holding capacity of Drummer though as July and August can be two VERY long months between rains. Farmers would prefer to have a predominately Drummer base for soil and then pattern tile the holy heck out of it. Recently farm ground that is Drummer and tiled well that has sold has brought north of $12,000 per acre.
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