Ground turning black around new grass

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Ben98gs, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. Ben98gs

    Ben98gs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    I was reading about other people with "new lawn" diseases/problems, but they sounded different than mine. I do not know if this is a fungus or what it is, but a few of the areas of my lawn that started out doing really well are now starting to die out... All of these areas have a few things in common, mainly the top of the soil is turning black. These areas are also areas that seem to retain moisture (which I am sure is probably what is causeing the problem)... Not sitting water or anything, just moist.

    Any ideas of what this is and how to get rid of it...

    Thanks,

    Ben
     
  2. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    First is yours a new lawn also? If so did you water heavy and then reduce recently? Could be mold or algee form the sound of it. Can you post a close up picture of the area? Need as much info as possible. If it was a new lawn how was it put in? Seed, hydro mulch, sod, sprigs? How much water are you currently applying if any, how much rainfall lately, soil type? Is ground compacted?
     
  3. Ben98gs

    Ben98gs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    To answer a few of your questions, yes, my lawn is new, hydroseeded on/around March 31, 2005 (so about 3 months ago). I didnt not water heavily and reduce, I have watered unless it rained, and then I wait a day and then start watering again... I water about half of the yard a day so it is about every other day that each section gets water. I will try and get some pictures today, but it is raining so the ground will be wet so the areas might not show up as well. Answering questions in order (even though I already mentioned this) the lawn was hydroseeded. I currently am applying I think about 1/8" every other day (sprinkler with timer, run for about 20 min). We have had a bunch of rainfall lately, kinda... Basically we have been dry, and then it will rain and then wont rain until a week and a half later. Soil type... Do not really know what you are looking for, but the front yard (especially one of the areas that has this black stuff) seems to be a lot of sand, the rest of the yard is hard dirt... not clay, but just hard, compacted dirt.

    Again, I will try and get pictures today, hopefully the rain stops and the top of the ground dries up a tad so the areas will show better.
     
  4. SHOWCASE LAWNS LLC

    SHOWCASE LAWNS LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    Stop Guessing And Take Some Pics And Some Soil Samples , And A Slice Of The Black Gunk To Lesco And Or The Agricultural Extension For Identification.
     
  5. Ben98gs

    Ben98gs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Well, here are some pictures... not the best, but hopefully will give you an idea of what I am talking about:

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    It doesnt really have any depth to it, it is just like a thin layer of black... And like I mentioned before it seems to be in areas that are more moist. Any ideas what this is from the pictures???
     
  6. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    From the look of your pictures, this appears to be a type of fungal disease called Pythium Blight, and more specifically "grease spot". There are different species of Pythium that can cause problems at different times, and under different conditions.

    Pythium is a water mold caused by excessive water. The fungi can survive for long periods in the soil, favors heavy soils, and typically appears in low spots that remain wet.

    Control for Pythium may include chemical treatment, chemical prevention, and environmental control and/or modification.

    It's not a guarentee that this is your problem, but seems plausible.

    Just noticed the animal (dog?) footprint in the picture. Shows that this area must have been muddy wet.
     
  7. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Dig it out and amend the soil and reseed this fall.You have a fungus from lack of drainage and a lack of drainage from not properly preparing the soil to grow things before hydroseeding.Thay does not look like sandy soil to me it looks like it is more clay like.All those rocks in it,dragging the hose over it,and allowing your dog to urinate on it dosen't help things either.
     
  8. Ben98gs

    Ben98gs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18


    That area (from the picture) is not one of the sandy areas, just a lower area in the back yard that wasnt in direct sunlight because the picture in the front area kept washing out (bright sunny, no cloud day). The area in the back I am not "as worried" about due to the fact the grass has started to grow and absorb the extra moisture I guess (basically the grass is not dying in this section in the pictures). But up in the front yard (area between the sidewalk and the street), the area is sandy and seems to be always damp, and the fungal disease has killed the grass (this was the first area grass grew, probably due to the damp conditions, and ultimately this is what killed it now since it spawned the fungus).

    Any suggestions on how to figure out why this area retains water??? It is not like the land is sunk down, it is level with the sidewalk/driveway/street. It is sloped, so there is no standing water, just a constantly damp wet area....
     
  9. Ben98gs

    Ben98gs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Here is the picture of the sandy area... and yes, I know that the rocks, hose, dogS, doesnt help, but I can only pick up so many rocks at once, the dogs arent allowed to go to the restroom inside (not trained well enough to use the toilet :p ), and need to drag the house to water in order to get a lawn to begin with.

    I appreciate the help... And so I was wondering what recommendation you have for preparing the soil... I have been picking up the bigger rocks at least and getting rid of them.... Should I buy topsoil and till it in with the rest of the soil/sand??? Any suggestions on how to get that area to drain properly since it does not seem to be right now??? I have a "one year" inspection in which I can get grading/drainage problems fixed, but that means machinery in the yard tearing up whatever I already have and virtually starting from scracth again.

    Again, thanks to everyone who has helped so far, and I am more than willing to do whatever you suggest (within my budget constraints currently) to get my yard growing again.

    Ben

    Circle is the sandy/always damp area:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    Well, sandy soil by itself drains fast, but if there is clay or some type of hardpan beneath it then you could have water standing in that spot. I run across places out here where people put a shallow layer of topsoil over solid volcanic basalt and then later have problems with their turf. They irrigate, the water will stand, but then the area will dry out real quickly. Not good.

    You may have to dig up that area that you have and do a little work. My fear is that the fungal disease will be in whatever soil remains there. So, I'd be tempted to remove that area down to about ten inches, bring in good sandy loam, and then treat the area with a preventative fungicide after reseeding. Sounds like work, eh?
     

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