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"areas Of My Lawn Dry Out"

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by milsaps118, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. milsaps118

    milsaps118 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 559

    I get faced with this question quite often from some of my customers, but mostly from people I know or talk to in general.

    "My lawn looks so good and green from about May to mid July then I start to get dry areas and brown areas scattered throughout my yard. I water on a regular schedule for 25 min per zone and some times longer. I had the sprinkler guy come out and adjust my heads and he says everything is getting covered. What should I do?"

    The facts that I typically gather are; 9x out of 10 its Sandy soil, only happens during the dog days of summer, happens on flat and elevated areas, they fert on a routine basis usually with something that consists of 20-30(N), 0(P), 10-20(K) ie. 29-0-19 for the summer app.

    I usually tell them to make sure they are getting enough water down in those areas and check it with a rain gage. Change watering schedule to 2 start times just during the summer heat, or advise them to water more (deeper), and less frequent before the hot months arrive. Change mowing height. Advise on gypsum or lime on those areas to lower Ph. Over-seed and top dress areas w/Blk dirt.

    With my customers when I applied some of these techniques who have a similar cenerio it usually works, but not all of the time. What else could I suggest, and what else could be done?
  2. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,257

    Your fertilizer rates have no phosphorus. Phosphorus helps to develope a strong root system. If you don't have deep roots to stay cool during the summer heat, the shallow ones will die. Do you have one type of grass or multiple types. Annual grasses will die off. There are lots of variables in this situation. Send me some picks of your lawns at my email adress xtrmgrn@hotmail.com.
  3. ECS

    ECS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,733

    Had a similar problem to what you are describing. Under a shallow layer of soil was all cobble. During the early season it was a beautiful lawn, and then it would all dry up. The problem was that there was not enough soil to hold the moisture. I could water it for 2 hrs a time, 3 times a day and it would not make a difference in the end of July and August going into September.
  4. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    The suggestion from ECS is a good possibility. The dry spots could also be isolated areas of heavily compacted soil. Or hydrophobic soil. Aeration should help for both of these problems.

    dKoester - The Twin Cities has a phosphorous ban just like we have here in Madison, WI. You can only apply P if soil test shows the soil to be deficient.
  5. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,194

    Heed the soil test firstly, Then record what fertlizer you've used. Some grasses--not all don't need so much nitrogen. Lots of times they turn yellow due to lack of iron. In Tennessee the fescue will suffer this way. In SC the centipede does the same. The watering sometimes leachs the fertlizer down deeper than the roots. As someone else said, there're so many variables. Try a little iron on a section of lawn and see.
  6. dave k

    dave k LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,178

    Have you ever tried a sufficant in that area, I get the same problem on my Emerald Zoysia and I will try it this summer to see if it helps, I sodded last year and it could have been the roots weren't fully established too. I hope I spelled Sufficant correctly? Do you know what I'm referring to?
  7. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    You are on the right track. Honestly check the DU on the irrigation system. Research how to audit an irrigation system on http://www.irrigation.org/

    Also, typical track homes have trash and contractor sand under the sod. This is in layers not incorporated so you get a vast mix of drainage and soil types in the top 3 to 6 inches. It really is sad.

    Two Choices IMHO for track home lots with heavy compaction and layers of sand and soil.

    Aerate and top dress.

    Kill, remove top dress and incorporate.

    Again, a lot of this has to do with construction practices and the best resolution is your understanding of those practices.

    Often you have native soil compacted from construction, debris, sand to level, 1/2 inch of sandy loam that came with the sod. Even of the water is even, it will hit that compacted native soil and travel within the sand to a low spot. Thus the effects of uneven watering.

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