Fixing other people's Mistakes

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Hamons, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. Hamons

    Hamons LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 706

    I signed on a new customer today for fertilization and weed control.

    He was looking for someone to do the work for him because he had been messing things up trying to do it on his own. The most obvious think he has done is he has nice even brown stripes in his yard -- obviously from misuse of a badly aligned drop spreader.

    Now --- How do I fix it? I have seen where you have darker shades of green because of overlap, but not brown stripes? Is this from overdose on the nitrogen do you think?

    If so -- How do I make it go away. I'm going to be aerating at the beginning of March. IF I add more fertilizer that will just make it worse right? Do I need to reseed? I definitely want to fix it fast -- I don't want people thinking this is what "I" do to yards when they see me working :)


    --------
    Jeff Hamons
    Hamons Custom Landscaping
    Overland Park, KS
     
  2. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,261

    I would aerate this spring and wait to see if anything will grow. If grass starts to come in, I would use 0-0-7 with dimension. Then do normal weed application with some iron to green up without N . If its OK then start fertilizing in the fall. If nothing grows I would either aerate the heck out of it and top dress with soil or cut out sod deep and replace with soil and seed. If you need to seed skip the dimension. It really depends on how much he laid down.

    Mark
     
  3. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 472

    What was the homeowner applying? Sounds like it could have been a fast release fert. Fast release ferts will burn the grass at too high a rate (the overlapped areas under his drop spreader). Fertilizer burn is usually from the high concentration of mineral salts. It sucks the water right out of your turf. Best response to a fertilizer burn is to apply lots of water to help leach the salts out of the ground.

    What kind of grass does your client have? A bunch type grass (tall fescue) or a rhizomonous grass (like Kentucky Blue or Bermuda). If a rhizomonous grass, it should recover on its own once you get the overdose of mineral salts out of the rhizosphere (grass roots). If a bunch type grass, you may want to consider over-seeding the burned areas. Good luck.

    jim
     
  4. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 472

    1grnlwn,

    I would be interested in understanding your thoughts behind the use of a potassium fert to help repair a lawn with fertilizer burn. Potassium is associated with a plant's tolerance to stress - heat, drought, cold. But how does this help the immediate recovery from a fert burn? Use of a phosphorous fert would have made some sense to me since phosphorous will help promote root development and that's what must happen to repair these damaged areas of turf. But even that approach is questionable since phosphorous moves so slowly through the soil and would have little immediate affect on the existing, healthy roots and rhizomes along the burned areas.


    jim
     
  5. Casey

    Casey LawnSite Member
    Posts: 142

    First step I would make is a soil sample, otherwise you are shooting in the dark. Let your local extension service help you with a plan to repair the damage. It will surely impress your customer and might save you a few bucks.
     
  6. Hamons

    Hamons LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 706

    It is a KBG lawn so I was hoping for the same repair qualities as Lawnstudent. However, I was just trying to speed it up.

    I did take a soil test - just like I do for all of my customers when I start their program. However, I did not take samples just from the burned areas. Would this have been a good idea instead of a representative sample of the whole yard?



    -------------
    Jeff Hamons
    Hamons Custom Landscaping
    Overland Park, KS
     
  7. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 472

    A soil sample should be representative of the whole general area you intend to maintain unless the area is not of the same type (i.e. different soil types, low wet area versus dry hill top, etc.). Application of a fast acting, high nitrogen content fert that burns a lawn is not going to show up in a soil sample test because the nitrogen is too volatile (it leaches too quickly, it turns to a gas and escapes back into the atmosphere, etc.). The test results of a soil sample should yield the long term (3-5 yr) fert requirements of a site, not a quick fix for a fert burn.

    In terms of a quick fix - putting more nitrogen down now will only force vegetative growth of the existing grass, not stimulate root development into the damaged areas. Like I said before, water the burned-out areas to leach out the mineral salts. Overseed the burned areas with a good KBG (80%) and PR (20%) mix. Apply a good starter fert AT THE PROPER RATE to the burned areas. Keep the seeds moist. Within a week the PR should germinate (provided your soils temps are warm enough). In 21 days the KBG should germinate. Good luck.

    jim
     
  8. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    Best to check the salinity of the damaged areas. Trying new seed in a high salt environment will get you nowhere. When your irrigation has reduced the salt in the damaged areas, only then will the environment be conducive to any turf growth.

    I have never seen a fert overdose in KGB that did not recover on its own in time. But I don't know the degree of overdose in this situation, LOL. Only real killing I have seen is near streets from winter road salting, and these were tremendous salt dumps near intersections.

    If speed of such essence, the only sure way is to dig out damaged areas to a 4" to 6" depth, replace with good soil, then seed or sod. After, of course, you have verified that the salt content is still high enough to hinder natural recovery.
     
  9. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,261

    lawnstudent Thou lookest to deapest. 0-0-7 is the lowest N dry product containing dimension. Thats all. I believe the best course is just to let nature solve the problem. So to land the new job we need to do something. Normal program minus the nitrogen for a few months. Good cultural practices. A guy who was DIY isn't going to spring for the replacement route. IMO.

    Mark
     
  10. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,957

    Gkprs

    That was my first though also. Horticulture Gypsum will clean CEC of salt much faster than straight water. This is also good around swimming pool overflows.

    I am not a C-3 guy but do see that both Fescue and KBG are not very salt tolerance on the salt index chart.
     

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