I am about to give up...

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by DeepGreenLawn, Jun 27, 2009.

  1. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    I have this customer, she is synthetic, not by my choice, but that is water under the bridge right now...

    She has this spot on the side of her yard that will not grow turf and has seemed to keep getting worse. I have done everything I know how to get it to grow again, even brought in new seed... all to no avail. I finally went and did the best I could at doing a soil drench with NPP and I think it may have helped. The thing that gets me is the hostas are doing GREAT! Also, the straight lines and shape are confusing me as well... the far rear spot is almost a perfect rectangle when you get up on it. It started toward the end of last year and I figured it would come back this year to no avail... there is a slight slope there and water seems to stand a little but I am unsure... I have drilled the customer with questions about cultural practices and all and she can't come up with anything... no recent construction other than the drain pipe that you can kind of see where the grass is a lighter green at the far right of the pic.

    ANY thoughts would be greatly appreciated...

    Prob 1.jpg
     
  2. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,117

    Plant more Hostas:)
     
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    do you have a soil probe? take a core sample and look it over.
    It is either a hot spot, meaning water and nutrients are just running through the soil or it is compaction

    The NPP will help increase water holding capacity, it is a natural polymer

    Let us know what the soil structure is like and we can go from there
     
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Site unseen, my guess would be shading issues and irrigation. If you can't get turf to grow, just extend the planting bed out to cover that area.
     
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Not entirely sure why you would want to do that in a GA clay, but why not go ahead and explain how, and preferably with some documentation to substantiate it.
     
  6. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,117

    Can you say anaerobic? We have clay here and my biggest problem is getting customers to water correctly for their soil conditions. When north sides of fence lines stink because both neighbors are watering to often it is really sad. After thirty years of breathing yard dust if I can smell the stink it really is bad!
     
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Irrigating heavy clays is difficult, especially in the case that you mentioned.
    At risk of sounding like a broken record, SOM and it's contriubtion to good soil structure is critical in heavy clays. Any increase in WHC/AWC due to the addition of SOM will not come at the expense of good gas exchange.
     
  8. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    Hardly any shade, the sun runs right down this path... and the I took a soil plug to see what it looked like and the soil was more of an orangish color and seemed a little chalky.
     
  9. WannaBeOrganic

    WannaBeOrganic LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    Everyone else will probably give you a lot of thoughts on what might be wrong with the soil so I'll go in a different direction.

    Hard to tell from the photo but it looks like the side of the house and I wonder if there are clogged gutters over that area. Overflowing gutters along with what looks like a steep slope can flood an area and wash away seed.

    Since hostas were planted there I wonder if it's also mostly in shade. What side of the house is that? North, east, south, west? Have you examined how much sun it gets throughout the day?

    There's not enough info to give a definitive answer but my hunch is to clean the gutters and downspouts or check for an poorly installed gutter screen, reseed with a shade tolerant seed and use seeding mats or something similar to keep the seed from washing away on the slope. In an area I have where hostas do well and I had trouble getting grass to germinate I had dense shade and acidic soil. Correcting the pH and using the right type of seed helped a lot.

    I think it would be helpful to know the following:

    Have you done a soil test and if so what did it reveal?

    Have you dug up the rectangular area to see if there's anything under there? All sorts of crap winds up getting backfilled near the foundation and after some erosion the usable topsoil isn't enough. Would be funny if one worker buried another's lunch cooler or something :) The rectangular area also looks like it's where the gutter/roof ends.

    How much direct sunlight does that area actually get throughout the day?
     
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Explain? Wouldn't be the first time I have seen problems with plant growth due to something dumped in/on the soil.
     

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