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Customer says "No one else has been on their lawn PERIOD".... Twelve weeks later....

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Midstate Lawncare, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. Midstate Lawncare

    Midstate Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 267

    Yesterday, I was called out to a lawn I had killed off spots of fescue in a predominantly bluegrass lawn and seeded(10 days after application of roundup). I seeded with a BG mix ot three varieties (I don't remember them exactly) The seed is in 3-5 leaf stage now....twelve weeks later. I seeded this lawn on 4-4-08...this was 6-26-08.... Is this because of a pre-emergent application or the relatiely cool 1st half of 2008.... This customer is not happy and I don't blame him. He also claims that "no one has been on their lawn period". The lawn is literally devoid of crabgrass and really any other weed for that matter. What do you think? What caused this?
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,669

    ummmmmmm ha. The problem is slow germination....no weeds...hmmm well a pre-emergent would either prevent germination (if the wrong one was used) or wear off after 30 days if the right one was used, but would cause slower germination.

    What has your soil temp been, any idea? lots of cold days?
  3. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 700

    LACK OF FOOD! With new seed, you have to fertilize it with a Starter Fertilizer at the time of planting, followed by additional applications of Starter Fertilizer every 4 weeks until it's full and thick. Once it is indeed full and thick, applications can then be applied at 6 week intervals. Watering has to be done daily to prevent the seed from drying out (ideally, 3 times per day, each section for 15 minutes each time). Once it's full and thick, the watering schedule has to be changed as well. From that point on, watering should be done DEEPLY but INFREQUENTLY to allow deeper, stronger, roots to develop. Also, if a Crabgrass Pre-emergent control was used, that'll surely stunt the seed that you've planted.
  4. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 724

    Can't help you with the seed germination part but if things aren't adding up right it's a possibility they sprayed something and didn't understand that it could be related to this problem i.e. They read "weed preventer" on the side of the package and don't realize it can also inhibit desireable grass seed or they sprayed a post-em since you were there.

    It's also a possibility that he's lying to you. That's happened to me on quite a few occasions.
  5. Mscotrid

    Mscotrid LawnSite Bronze Member
    from USA
    Posts: 1,456

    Cool spring could have delayed germination. Under ideal condition Bluegrass can take upto 21 days to germinate, let alone the aditonal time to establish. You mentioned Pre-emergent, was their a application earlier in the spring? I would go to a weather source for your area and review temps for that period. You might have had a hard frost and that would help explain the growth issue. We had a extremely cold spring in the midwest and we tend to forget how cold weather can effect certain aspects of our buisiness.
  6. Midstate Lawncare

    Midstate Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 267

    Thanks too all who answered. And to clarify...
    Temps have been "cool" but we haven't had a frost since march believe it or not.
    Starter fertilizer was applied at the time of seeding. 6-24-24 at 4 lbs per 1k ft2.
    The customer waters religiously and I mean religiously! even when it is raining!
    Lying or not he is an older guy, and will never fess up!
    soil temps have been normal...I haven't checked in a while
  7. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 700

    If the grass hasn't been fertilized since it was planted, then it's been 12 weeks since it's had food. This lawn is well past the point of growing because it hasn't been fertilized. As I stated above, new seed needs repeat applications of Starter Fertilizer at 4 week intervals until it's full and thick. Once it's full and thick, the fertilizer applications can be backed off to 6 week intervals and the watering must be changed from 2-3 times per day, to once every 3 days but for longer periods to allow for root development.
  8. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,744

    I agree with Cobra in the need for feeding. What I dont agree with is the application of starter fertilizer every 4 weeks. Even when I worked at Lesco I was not a fan of the 18-24-12. Especially at seeding. The fert is essentially gone by the time bluegrass germinates and needs the food if you are using the standard starter fert @ 35% scu.

    Soil test prior to planting. Around here our phos in 90% of the test that I take is off the charts.

    I usually recommend no fert at time of planting, a 24-0-11 or equivalent 2-3 weeks AFTER planting and again 5-6 weeks after the first feeding. Then follow your normal program.

    I also have heard 'nothing has been done to my lawn all year' quite a few times as the scotts spreader and half empty bag of weednfeed sit next to the open garage door.

    Just my 2 cents.
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,211

    So what is the problem? Perfectly normal. Kentucky bluegrass takes time to germinate (especially if soil is cool). It takes time to establish a thick turf. Sod farms harvest KBG at about 18 months after planting the seed. If he wanted quick results you should have used ryegrass--or better still--sod. If he wants quick results and lower quality--overseed with rye. Save yourself the hassle and use sod.
  10. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    This is so true its not even funny. At least one of my installs each year gets killed off by the homeowner. Usually cause they think they know more,but dont want to do the laborious task of the seed install.

    This year a few customers wanted it extra green so they bumped it up a few clicks. Well needless to say they all have large fert burn patches along the curb. Not sure why it is always along the curb. I even had one guy call me over and blamed my equipment for dropping gas on his lawn causing spots. I looked at his very definite old bag of scotts fert job with burning and striping and politely asked him if he had done any applications. He said no. So I asked him if the application he put down was an old bag he had left over from previous years. He said he didnt put anything down yet. So I asked him again if when he put the application down the material was clumpy or sticky. He knew I knew so he said no. Then we walked over to the burned patches and pulled away he dying grass to find an excess of Scotts with Halts (his personal favorite) and on one an actual chunk a little smaller than a ping pong ball. Still in denial he told me I needed to fix it. I told him we couldnt and he would have to wait till the fall. Then he fired me a month later cause we did a very beautiful wavy striping pattern on the 7 houses we do on that street. His wife felt we where drunk, and he felt he could do a better job with his cheapo tractor. So now when he mows he goes as far as he needs to into the neighbors lawn to turn around and keep the lines straight on his yard. Problem is that he mows 2.5" and we mow 3.5"+. So as you can imagine the 20' deep half circles on both sides really get me going.

    Sorry to jack up the thread, but just remember that most homeowners are idiots, dont know squat about proper care, think they know everything, think you know nothing, assume they can do it better themselves but dont want to, will lie through their teeth to get anything, expect something for nothing, and think that Scotts products are the end all be all due to their visual results from the N & Fe.

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