A fungus among us?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by PushingupDaisies, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. PushingupDaisies

    PushingupDaisies LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    Wanted a 2nd,3rd, or 50th opinion depending on who answers.

    Here is the situation.

    Here in SLC, UT. Desert climate. Clay soil generally. I have a customer that had a lawn that was out of control with its growth rate this spring early summer. I could have mowed every 2 days. We had a late and fairly wet spring, so everybodies was growing fast, but this was ridiculous. It seemed fairly healthy. This is a new house for an existing customer and they have never been much to have me do mow than mow. I figured it was growing so fast due to overwatering. Haven't staked out there house so I have no idea when they are watering. I don't have that much free time now that I spend hours on this site. It has turned to summer in that past few weeks and the heat ahs cranked up pretty quickly.

    The problem: They are suddenly getting large areas of brown/yellow dead grass and the lawn has slowed WAY WAY down in growth. Much more dramatic than my other lawns. They want the dead grass fixed and addressed.

    After doing some research on this site here is what I am thinking:

    Watered too much in the cool season and have poorly developed roots. I have seen some mushrooms in their lawn in small patches (not many though). My guess is brown patch. The wife said to me a couple weeks ago "i don't know what is happening, we are watering it like crazy." I told her to slow down, but that conversation was way more interesting to her than me. Now that they haven't fixed it with watering they want me to apply something and viola! fix it.

    Here is what I am proposing to do for them:

    Change sprinklers to water at 3 day intervals early morning. Set it to water through one entire cycle at 10-15 mins a zone and then circle back for a second cycle after the first is completed (hoping to improve absorption and deep watering), apply a fungicide and possibly even skip a mowing or "spot" mow.

    They are wondering about applying a fertilizer as well. This is about the time I would start applying just a standard fert for the summer recommended by my local distributor. Can I mix applying a fertilizer and fungicide or should I give it an interval. Fungicide is really expensive. They need 2 bags at $20 a piece, I'm charging $60, and hope that covers gas.

    What would you guys charge for setting the timer for their sprinklers as well as evaluating their lawn. I don't want to be ridiculous but feel that the time taken should be worth something.

    Thanks for any help
  2. iomonet

    iomonet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I would charge an hourly rate, high enough to cover the fuel and time of a professional.
  3. PushingupDaisies

    PushingupDaisies LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    Any body agree or disagree with my diagnosis of the problem?
  4. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    First, check each zone for the amount of water it is getting. Use a rain gage and time it. Thats the only way of knowing EXACTLY how much water the turf is getting. Next, fert and fungicide at the same time only if you are licensed to do so. Use a good 50% slow release and you should be fine. Wait, you have a dandi-digger? Never mind. GET LICENSED before doing ANY fert or fungicide.
  5. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,975

    Could this job be better handled by a professional applicator? I have landscaper friends that I do not refer to in quotations because they have my respect. Why? Whenever a problem comes up that is over their head, they do not run to the hardware store trying to buy homeowner products to attempt treatment. BTW, doing that is illegal. Instead they turn the job over to me. I am a certified applicator with 15 + years of experience. This is all I do. I don't mow lawns, trim trees, haul leaves, install landcaping or irrigation. I concentrate on total health management of lawns and landscapes. If I am treating a lawn, I have control over how often and how much it is irrigated or I do nothing on that lawn at all. No point in me fertilizing the lawn in such a way to promote healthy growth and disease resistance if it is going to be watered incorrectly. No fungicide is going to save a lawn that is incessantly drowned.
  6. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,057

  7. PushingupDaisies

    PushingupDaisies LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    I do need to check ino licensing, however, that means nothing for intelligence. They hand out drivers licenses, but I think we can all agree that it doesn't make a person competent. My ex-bro-in-law has a fert license but knows didlysquat about anything in the green industry. He wouldn't even know where to begin. Checked with my local distributor and it seems to match up with what they are finding here in UT. He's pretty sure it all matches up to be a fungus. I'll talk it over with the HO and see how he wants to treat it. Definitely will be addressing his sprinkler timing/duration/frequency.
  8. AmEdge

    AmEdge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Too much water.

    Now you have a fungus, so do NOT fertilize.

    Treat with fungicide and cut back on the water. WAY back. Maybe just turn it off. :laugh:

    The mushrooms are prolly fairy rings from decomposing organic matter in the soil, prolly where a tree once was. Pay them no mind, they're harmless.

    Your main problem here is water. Way too much water.

    Reset the irr. control box, and lock it. Do not give the homeowner a key.
  9. PushingupDaisies

    PushingupDaisies LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    Problem is that they still have access to the faucets outside:laugh:

    I am definitely more and more convinced it is a fungus. My commercial distributor suggested a liquid treatment. $60 a container (will of course treat more than this lawn). I'm quoting $80 to the customer. I figure I can apply it while on my usual route. Here is my thought and tell me if you guys do it differently:

    Only have one customer needing the treatment right now and my material cost is $80. I will have left over material for many more lawns, but have no demand. Am I in the right to charge for the total material cost?

    Thanks for the input.
  10. AmEdge

    AmEdge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Yes. You have to buy it to do the job. If you have some left over....well, bully for you then.

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