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  #21  
Old 09-15-2014, 11:28 AM
Landgreen Landgreen is offline
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Location: Traverse City, MI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skipster View Post
Letís not overlook the obvious here. Trees create shade and pull huge amounts of water out of the ground, which also contains the nutrients that trees and grasses both use. Allelopathy certainly plays a role for some trees and landscape plants, while changes in soil chemistry (usually pH) can result from things the trees drop (leaves, fruit, bark).

But, in most of these pictures, it looks to me as if the turf around the trees got stressed during a dry spell (or didnít get an increased amount of water if irrigated), when the tree exerted more force on the soil water than the grass could.

There are also site-specific conditions, too. Some spots could be made worse by compacted soil, a big rock underground, or the local wildlifeís favorite place to take a leak.

Allelopathy is a cool concept of nature, but it factors into lawn management for only a couple of plants. It is certainly not the larger issue.

Thanks for the response. I'm wish it were a single factor like water, ph, compaction. It would be a much easier problem to solve.

Most of the lawns pictured rarely dry out. They are irrigated quite a bit. We have received plenty of rain this season as well. The spots only get worse.

The alder is one that really baffles me. It is so obvious that the tree is screwing with the soil somehow. And its not shade, lack of water A soil test will be in order for that one.
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  #22  
Old 09-15-2014, 12:32 PM
Skipster Skipster is online now
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Of course thereís rarely just one things happening in nature or in a landscape. But, Iím not sure that youíre going to find a soil chemical issue is the cause for all (or even most) of these phenomena. Make sure that you follow proper sampling procedures when you collect your soil samples for analysis, so that you know your sample is reflecting the conditions youíre turf is growing under. Be sure to collect and analyze samples from the good parts of the lawn. Doing this allows you to zero-in on the diagnosis and separate out what might be happening if the two areas have the same acidity and nutrition status.

All the pictures youíve included are textbook examples of turf response to excessive shade, competition from trees for water and nutrients, or the combination of the two. Remember, some trees are shallow rooted (maples and alders especially), so they can dry down turf just a day after heavy rain. If you take soil samples and find that nutrient status is different near the tree than in the middle of the lawn, remember that the tree will take up nutrients, too. This isnít an inherent soil chemical problem Ė just a plant competition problem.

As for the alder tree, I might look at all the physical factors before searching for chemical ones. Use a soil probe. What does the soil look like? Is it sandy in some areas, but heavier in others? How and when was the tree planted (B&B, how was the hole dug)?

Please keep us posted on the results of your soil testing. My bet is that this is a physical/competition issue, but never say never Ö.
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  #23  
Old 09-15-2014, 08:52 PM
Landgreen Landgreen is offline
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Location: Traverse City, MI
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Originally Posted by Mark Oomkes View Post
Maybe your flask leaked there, LG.

Did you burn household waste in that spot? One of your employees, maybe?
LOL.

Trash update- After being told to remove the bags, he dumped a trailer load of brush on them...

And yes. All lawns should be dethatched. 2-3 times per year...
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  #24  
Old 09-15-2014, 09:00 PM
Landgreen Landgreen is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Traverse City, MI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skipster View Post
Of course thereís rarely just one things happening in nature or in a landscape. But, Iím not sure that youíre going to find a soil chemical issue is the cause for all (or even most) of these phenomena. Make sure that you follow proper sampling procedures when you collect your soil samples for analysis, so that you know your sample is reflecting the conditions youíre turf is growing under. Be sure to collect and analyze samples from the good parts of the lawn. Doing this allows you to zero-in on the diagnosis and separate out what might be happening if the two areas have the same acidity and nutrition status.

All the pictures youíve included are textbook examples of turf response to excessive shade, competition from trees for water and nutrients, or the combination of the two. Remember, some trees are shallow rooted (maples and alders especially), so they can dry down turf just a day after heavy rain. If you take soil samples and find that nutrient status is different near the tree than in the middle of the lawn, remember that the tree will take up nutrients, too. This isnít an inherent soil chemical problem Ė just a plant competition problem.

As for the alder tree, I might look at all the physical factors before searching for chemical ones. Use a soil probe. What does the soil look like? Is it sandy in some areas, but heavier in others? How and when was the tree planted (B&B, how was the hole dug)?

Please keep us posted on the results of your soil testing. My bet is that this is a physical/competition issue, but never say never Ö.
The alder- It is planted in an area where the grass does ok but requires additional fert. I'll check it with a soil probe tomorrow. I assume it was a B&B and an auger was used. It's about 6-7 years old. There is one other alder near it with similar a turf problem. There are birches and spruces on that same property too. Several have dead/dying areas.
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  #25  
Old 09-15-2014, 09:34 PM
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RigglePLC RigglePLC is online now
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Skip makes some good points. Regarding the alder--I suspect that something from the shredded bark is causing the problem: 1) a chemical herbicide used to keep the weeds out, 2)"Sour bark" this happens when the bark is from a big pile that was not aerated enough--it has a sour pickle odor. Formic acid or other compounds resulting from fermentation of the bark, leach out when it rains. Look carefully--you may see that it is happening where water would drain off the bark. Downhill--not --uphill.

Secondly, near the big trees. We used to call this "root burn". It happens when long roots of the tree reach under the grass and steal the water. Doesn't happen in the shade of the tree--so--it mainly occurs on the sunny south side of the tree. Usually happens in late summer during dry spells. Dig down; check the soil for signs of dryness.
"They are irrigated quite a bit." Really--turf near the spruce trees looks really dry to me. The soil near the spruce trees looks sandy to me.

Last edited by RigglePLC; 09-15-2014 at 09:43 PM. Reason: ps
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