Any idea whats wrong with this lawn?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by "Ground Control", Jul 10, 2007.

  1. "Ground Control"

    "Ground Control" LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    One of my customers is upset about their lawn getting these brown spots. She said they started appearing about 2 years ago and have been gettting worse and worse. She asked me if i thought we should tear the old grass out and re-sod the whole yard and I told her I would see if i could find out what it was before we went that far. Any ideas on what this could be? Thanks for any info.




  2. Focal Point Landscapes

    Focal Point Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 401

    You have a fungus - dollar spot or fairy ring or summer patch or something like that . You can treat with fungicide to kill the infection , but the real fix is corrective cultural practice . The lawn is probably being overwatered , may have a thatch issue , probably needs core aeration and might have too much or too little nitrogen ( both can cause a fungus outbreak ) and might be mowed too short. Unless you are familiar with this type of problem , you should get a licensed fert / squirt guy to help you on this - there are fungi in all lawns , some are even beneficial - but you cannot avoid bad fungus unless you educate the homeowner on cultural variables that are the key to control . Really bad around here this year , in all types of grasses.
  3. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,925

    can you get a closer pic. cant tell untill you get some closer pics. definitely a fungus what one ??

    fungus can be prevented by good culture practices. but when those don't work, because your customer has to water because it makes them feel good, you can use preventitive fungicides or have them applied by a licensed co.
  4. The areas are already brown and dry. No one can tell you what it was with out being able to dig up a small area and examine it closely while it is yellowing before it dies.
    * I would first do a soil test. For the Future fertilization and care needs.
    * For now I would try to locate an area that is yellowing at the edge of the browning areas that hasn't completely died yet. dig up a very small area that can be closely examined. If you see munches out of the base of the leaves before the root area then you have an insect. But some times it can be punctures. If you see a web of sticky stringy spiderwebb like stuff it could be sod web worms or cut worms.
    * If you tug on a fist full of the turf near the area that is browned and the whold chunk comes up like a piece of sod was laid down then you prob have gurb problems.
    * If she has a dog it may be amonia spotting from dog urine.
    * If you find yellowing areas at the perimiter of the brown areas and you can see mold like white grey brown, or an ashy appearance it is probably a fungus.
    Either way all are easy to work with you just have to know how to diagnose it.
    If you are in business you need to educate yourself on turfgrasses and their common problems. Good luck to you
  5. Organic a go go

    Organic a go go LawnSite Member
    Posts: 211

    It's probably dollar spot or brown patch. Fairy ring looks very different.
  6. packey

    packey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 556

    jHow wet is the coustomer keeping the lawn/ My first thought is a fungus problem. I would definitly have a soil test done. I would also consider dethatching the lawn. Contrary to pop belief this does not need to be done every year but alot of pople never do it. the reasons I suspect fungus are the type of spots the pictures are showning. the fact that the fence has tail tail signs of continuos watering and the fact that it has been progressively getting worse over several years. I would believe if it was a insect issue it would happen faster. However that is always a possibility. As far as ripping the sod out that is a drastic measure and problems will reacure if they are not addessed.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    My first guess in these cases is always heat or possibly fertilizer stress, mostly because when troubleshooting an unknown problem, always start by fixing the easiest and cheapest thing then work from there.

    So since they have a nice lawn it stands to reason they have a sprinkler system, I would be for checking or having someone check this out. It's easy to DIY simply run the system and watch what it's doing, and if anything isn't working the way it should that would be the first thing I would address. Replace any busted or stupid acting risers, more so for the turf-based ones.

    Also whoever is cutting the lawn, this issue might disappear if blades are raised to 4" from Jun-Sep, either way a higher cut height in the heat of summer never hurts. And no, don't cut it more frequently, just remember to bring it back down early October in time for core aeration, at this point in time one extra cut will likely be required.

    The second thing I would do is check who is treating this lawn, and when this problem started. If the person who is doing it now started treating this lawn about 2 years ago then it's quite possibly a sporadic fertilizer overdose or something of that nature. Either way the best solution is to consult with the person doing these treatments, also that would be the person they should have asked anyhow, if it is you then you have to know how much fertilizer you applied and if it is possible too much went down in spots or if this would even be the case, I don't know.

    That would be the next thing on the list, but I'm not familiar with the treatment for it.
  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    I wish I was there. When were these shots taken?
  9. smcunningham

    smcunningham LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 773

    Runner, it looks like this is a post from back in July of last year....
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    LOL I didn't even see that, I was wondering why in middle of winter this...

    Heat stress it most likely is then, got cut too often, too short, or a combination.
    The next possibility is it got over watered in response.

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