A Lawn Fixit Puzzle

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GroundKprs, May 19, 2002.

  1. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    Mr. T. has a 2.5 K ft² lawn area at the end of his drive, with 6 huge oaks in that area. Grass is almost all Poa annua (annual bluegrass). Suddenly in second week of Aug, most of the annual blue dies off - half of area is just dead grass, rest has thin grass, with a lot of dead in it.

    Mr. T. comes out and asks what do we do to fix it. What is the best solution? For the rest of the 12 years I have done this site, this area just thinned out during the summer, still looked good from the drive. Of course, with all the trees, there is dense shade, and the soil is very heavy, but does drain fairly well.

    How would you fix this problem (and no fair cutting down the trees)? Usual prize, if someone gets it right. But, ask Jodi, I'm awfully slow in paying off. :D My solution on Tuesday night.
  2. ohiolawnguy

    ohiolawnguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 391

    well if were gonna do it right,
    (you say i can't cut down the trees)
    then i say let's prune the trees. (even if very lightly. anything to get a little more sun there.) Then you have 2 options, i figure.

    1. you could kill of all grass. till up soil add better compost or nice topsoil, grade and use a shade seed or sod.(they have shade varieties of sod available). all of this is drastic though.

    if customer doesn't allow me either of those options-$$$$$$, then i say we do the final option.

    2. aerate and overseed, or seeder slicer depending on how compacted soil is(maybe both). possibly topdress with sone nice soil. continue to aerate/overseed, or seeder slice at least ever other year(use a preemergent on years you don't overseed), but preferably yearly.

    first option costs a lot.

    Second option cheaper, and has made many customers happy with regards to expense and results. (But, I still think you should try to prune the trees a little if you can persuade them to.)
  3. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,732

    plant fescue or a ground cover. better yet, give him a 2500 sq ft parking area or workshop! lol
  4. strickdad

    strickdad LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 544

    were gonna install sod!!!
  5. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 739

    "Huge Oaks", sounds like sunshine is needed. Prune the trees.
  6. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 472

    Possible solution, assuming the customer still wants grass:

    1) Soil test - and modify the pH to 6.8
    2) Trim a few branches out of those oaks. Any additional light would help.
    3) Water - competition for water with tree roots. Can you add irregation to this area?
    4) Overseed or reseed with fine fescues (creeping red fescue, chewings fescue, hard fesue, etc).
    5) Set your mower higher under those trees and cut at a longer length.
    6) Reduce the fertilizer in this area to 1 - 2 lbs N/M/yr.
    7) Keep the debris picked up in this area (small branches and leaves)

  7. leeslawncare

    leeslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 649

    soil test get ph.set (lime) seed with shade mix avalible at lesco.Kinda pricey but it works .It will grow up the side of a oak tree!! (no kidding)Areate an fert.I did it to some properties last fall like what you decribed an the actually stripe now b-4 they were patches of grass an bare spots not anymore!
  8. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    Don't look up at the trees, the answer lays right on the ground.

    Trees are pruned professionally every 3-4 years, along with the other 12 to 15 trees on site, so more tree work is unnecessary and debris is never a problem.
  9. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    This is for cool season grass maintenance....

    Sodding in the shade will guarantee you future repair. Sod is grown in a wide open sunny field. How could you grow shade tolerant sod under trees, and efficiently harvest it? So your sod will all be dead within 2 years.

    Even in sunny area use, seed is the much preferred course. The major reason is choice: maybe some markets have a great choice of sod farms, here we have 3. But even if your area has 2 dozen, I'll have choice of thousands if I am using seed. (Includes the various combos from seed functional in this area.)

    And there is also the consideration of how the sod is grown, and where it's transplanted. The sod farmer wants his crop to grow to marketable state as soon as possible, and he wants his product to look good. So he provides a prime growing medium for his product (and also gives it premium care). Then where is this sod placed? Right, around the house or office with all the subsoil dredged up by developer and builder. And poor sod has to try to survive in that - like going from steak to bread crumbs.

    Now if you seeded, no matter what the seed, that seed is just starting it's life. If it's growing in subsoil, it doesn't know anything different, and it grows as best it can. Any wonder that the people, who sod the front yard and seed the back, like their back yard better for years? Usually takes the sod around 5 years to adapt to the new growing medium.

    Remember, this is for C3 grasses. There are some C4 grasses that must be sodded.
  10. leeslawncare

    leeslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 649

    Was this a question or a quiz?iIf it was a quiz how did i score?LOL

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