confused

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Squirter, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    No this isn't naturally occuring in the soil, it is actually mined from rock quarries. We have a wide range of soils, even on the farms. It appears to have been hydro-sorted from the melting glaciers so clay was floating at the top and the sand is everywhere underneath it. When the clay washed away it left many sandy locations evespecially around the lakes...

    We have fairly heavy clay around the area so that the local construction company has all materials necessary to mix up a nice blend of topsoil...

    Most of my lawns have soil brought in at several inches deep... Which of course they over water and turn it greasy under the turf... :)
     
  2. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 386

    KISS principle here imo...the disease is most likely due to your springtime efforts to grow new grass...lots of watering, fertilizer sets it up for disease potential

    IMO you need to quickly get new grass up, and then follow best practices so you are not watering or fertilizing any more than necessary

    I think shopping for different cultivars is more work than necessary -- simply get a very high quality blend and get it down. What is in it matters...but what will thrive on your property will naturally select itself by being successful on its own and outgrowing the other types

    The process should get easier every single year. You should have less and less work and renovation to do as the quality goes up. Don't start over! Simply get the seed down and let nature do the work (with your assistance watering). Do it once, do it right, and let it spread on it's own all spring summer and fall. It can be a multi-year process but don't keep starting over.
     
  3. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 386

    Here is where you need to think it through...the reason for the disease is very unlikely to be due to your mowing height, which is in the ideal range according to most of the pros here. It is the amount of water and fert being applied that is your issue. Often the fungus begins before you see it and that is in mid-spring as you are growing the new grass. If anything, one good app in late spring should cover your bases for disease. After that, plan on NOT needing any unless you have drainage or sun issues. If you are watering more than 1 or 2x a week in summer, that is too much even for newer grass.
     
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,904

    Can be tough. Warm humid nights really promote fungus, especially a warm drizzly rain--when nightime temps exceed 70 degrees. It was hot last year in your area, right? It is important to avoid watering at night--nothing after 5 pm. Also, my opinion, sometimes you can reduce disease by trying to water 3 times per week more deeply--thereby reducing the average humidity, and making the turf wet only 3 times per week instead of 7 times. Gray leaf spot is real serious on ryegrass, and brown patch, also (not to mention red thread). I would like to know what exact diseases were a problem. Slow release fertilizer is better, fertilizer in cool weather is better than in hot weather. Red thread is worse if nitrogen is lacking.
     
  5. Squirter

    Squirter LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Posts: 172

    yes riggle, it was hot and humid in my area (cent. ind.) last summer. perfect conditions for fungus. as for the types, i didn't bring an expert to my home to diagnose the fungus(s), but, i'm not a total idiot and from my experience and research, i'd bet most of the farm i had some rust, brown patch, and necrotic.

    i don't want to get in trouble turning this thread into something more appropriate for another topic on lawnsite but i will say this: i'm having somewhat of an internal struggle with the amount of fert i'm using. i know i'm using slow release (lesco). my struggle is that i'm using a walker mower with the ghs so i'm collecting my clippings. this tends to make me think i should use 'more' fert to make up for the nutrients/fert i'm sucking up and throwing away. however, the reality could be quite different. so perhaps i'm applying more fert than my lawn can take, hence, the thought of a 'spoon feed' approach for this year. i was going to try cutting back on the amount but increase the frequency of my aps. i know, i know, GET SOIL SAMPLES!!! but, after doing it myself for so many years, i'm starting to see what works and what doesn't through trial and error. so, hopefully this year, i'll start getting it more 'right than wrong'. as for my watering habits (yes, i have an irrigation system), trust me, i'm doing things 'by the book'.

    at the end of the day (as they say), i'm still stuck with a 'hodge-podge' lawn made up of several blends of kbg...that have been added to the initial stand of premium athletic, both through slice/overseeding the entire turf AND through 'spot treating' (which has resulted in the polka-dot look of mis-coloration). in addition, i'm looking at a lawn that has some drought damaged areas left over from last year (my watering was briefly interrupted by a failure in my irrigation system) along with several thin areas needing to be thickened. so......there you have it. the real kicker is MY lawn gets the most compliments of any in the entire neighborhood. go figure!
     
  6. tombo82685

    tombo82685 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 288

    How much are you putting down when you spoon feed? It should be under .25lbs per thousand when you do this.

    In terms of the fertilizer being loss do to collecting the clippings, don't compensate for that by applying more fertilizer. Granted you are losing some nitrogen but its not a ton, just go with a more slow release fert. like you are. For fertilizing you should not be applying more than 5lbs of nitrogen to a lawn in the year, the recommended amount is 3-5lbs. Once outside this, you run into troubles.
     
  7. Squirter

    Squirter LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Posts: 172

    I haven't been 'spoon feeding' YET. That's my plan/strategy for THIS season. As for my past approach for knowing 'how much' fert to apply, this is how it goes:

    "Hey Mr. Lesco Rep., gimme the best you have for this time of the season that will cover approx. 8,500 sq./ft. Ahhh, that's a pretty big bag, how much of it will I need to use? Ok thanks, see you next time."

    Then I go home, dump the recommended amount into the hopper of my Lesco broadcast spreader, turn the dial to the 'recommended setting' (as guesstimated by Mr. Lesco), make a pass through the yard and adjust (fine-tune) the spreader setting/walking speed to a point where I don't run out of material until I've covered the entire lawn.

    How's that for being BRUTALLY honest????? NOW, go ahead and blast away at the 'dumb ole homeowner'. But you know what??? After doing this for several years, reading about lawncare, watching some pro's, and judging my results, I've actually become 'quite good' at what I do....and according to my easily satisfied neighbors who compliment my lawn, I must be doing something right. I'm just not satisfied because I know my lawn and it's far from perfect. Heck, most any dummy with some fert, irrigation system, and a little luck from mother nature, can grow decent looking grass.
     
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Th problem with spoon feeding is the constant creation of 'real thatch'. The matted impervious layer of living and dead roots and stems above the soil line... That is always going to keep you from having a perfect lawn...
     
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,904

    I think Lesco 24-0-11 will work for you. I think it comes in two versions. Nitrogen at 25 percent slow release, or 50 percent slow release. Use the 50 percent slow. A full bag covers 12,000 sqft. Try using half a bag. As Tombo and Small suggest omit fert in hot humid (disease prone) weather. Try to apply it only when temps as expected to be below 85 for a few days. And this year--try to find out what diseases you have. And make sure no insects or grubs are involved.
     
  10. Squirter

    Squirter LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Posts: 172

    24-0-11 has been my choice of fert for the last several years. i don't know whether it's been the 25 or 50% slow but i'll pursue your suggestion. you seem to be placing emphasis on the timing of my aps in relation to temp. not completely sure i'm getting the concept. as a reminder, i have an irrigation system...and also, i'm using a WALKER mower with the GHS which I believe is sucking up fert and other important nutrients, even tho i try to put off mowing for several days after applying the fert. i try to apply water FIRST or wait on mother nature as the case may be. regardless. the ghs is a sucking machine.

    fyi. my spring ap's (2) have been 19-0-6 w/dimension and in the late fall, it's been 35-3-5 (i think). although this spring, i'm thinking of going 'unprotected' when it comes to using a pre-m so i can potentially do a complete reno this fall. i'll try to identify EXACTLY what types (if any this season) of fungus i am encountering. however, i can quit thinking about frying my lawn and starting over this fall in the ongoing quest for perfection.
     

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