Areas that go dormant/brown faster than others

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by ChiTownAmateur, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Assume for a moment that the entire lawn is the same grasses and it is getting equal amounts of sun, fertilizer and water. Soil quality is also tested and good.

    In the recent very hot heat, I noticed in my backyard that certain patches go brown much faster than others. Over the last 2 years I have slowly renovated what was a neglected sod lawn. (seed, water, fertilizer, grubs, etc.)

    So what I see happening is that as the really hot weather descended (about 2-3 weeks now of 80's - 90's) is that some areas stay very green while others brown quickly and require a lot of water to revive.

    I do not think it is brown patch, it is simply areas that are browning from the heat.

    Are these areas spots I should target for renovation now or in the Fall moreso than other areas? Should I take the aerator and go over just those spots for now, or is it better to just aearate the whole thing in fall and overseed at that time?

    My initial guess is that the roots are shallower in those spots due to compaction or thatch and that aeration would not hurt...but then again I may be totally off in my analysis.

    Any input is welcome, and especially tips for what the best long-term strategy is to improve those areas or the entire lawn as a whole.

    (note: lawn is in midwest, i'm sure sod was kbg/fescue/rye as all sod up here is for the most part)
  2. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    It could be a lot of thing, soil compaction, rocks in there you can see etc ect.

    DO NOT aerate now. You aerate when your lawn is growing vigorously in the spring or fall so it can repair itself.

    You aerate now you are going to have a bunch of holes with no regeneration till fall.
  3. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,768


    Could be sand or gravel in those areas.

    Hold off on the aeration.
  4. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    again i thank you both for your response

    when i bought this renovated home (100+ years old) i first tried to plant the front yard and it took a bit and failed, so this year i tilled it all up did the whole 9 yards and have a beautiful stand (poa supina)

    point of saying this was...when i tilled the front yard, there were tree roots, a 9 foot tree branch, all kinds of s--- the builder must have just left there.

    the back i did not want to fully renovate if at all possible and it has a giant oak (prob 60" diamter) which I'm sure is laying down tree roots everywhere. But in two places i dug it up this spring because they were a bit shady and I wanted to do it right and suprisingly did not encounter roots...the tree may be a lot seems very healthy

    I know you cannot give me "perfect" advice without a visual but if I am willing to do the work is it better for me to dig those spots up and make sure the soil is good, then reseed them this fall? Who knows what is underneath there I guess...tree roots, etc. I'm sure the right way to do the yard would be to tear the whole thing out.

    However, my hesitation beyond the work it entails is that there is a giant oak back there, probably 60" diameter across. In mid-august, right when you would want to renovate it begins dropping bushels of acorns for about 2-3 weeks...that is then followed by bushels of leaves for another 2-3 weeks. So overseeding is possible in Fall but I would be very hesitant to try and rip it all out with the narrow timeframe I have.

    Would you dig up some of the browner spots in fall to see what is under there? I could do that or aerate...or something else if you have an opinion...i could try a full spring renovation but 75%+ of it looks very good, the quick to brown areas represent maybe 15-20%. (another 5% is behind the tree and is just a difficult spot no matter what, i may try the supina there this fall as it seems to thrive in shade even beyond fescues)
  5. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,888

    soil composition
  6. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    thank you stillwater

    topdressing maybe as an assist...some mushroom compost and topsoil? (done in fall with aeration and seeding)
  7. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,394

    soil texture. SOmetimes its a large rock or a septic tank that will actualy burn it from the underside. Sometimes something as simple as when the home was built , left over stone was just spread out and loamed over.
  8. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    my front yard is 250sq ft...i pulled out 13 bags of tree roots and rocks, so i could easily believe the back, under a few inches of soil is a nightmare. two areas i dug up though in spring were surprisingly clean. I will aerate the lawn including those spots in fall, and will also use a screwdriver or something I can poke down further into each brown area to see if it hits something solid, thank you for the help
  9. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,608

    We are having a bad heat wave here, lawns are failing everywhere.

    I noticed an athletic field near here where the underlying drainage system is now clearly showing because the grass above the trenches is yellow, and the surrounding grass is green. It looks like a road map.

    Clearly the material below the loam is having a huge impact on the performance of the turf.
  10. Snapper12

    Snapper12 LawnSite Senior Member
    from CE MO
    Messages: 259

    Just know that this time of year those cool season grasses will stress big time. You can look for answers all day to find out if it's grubs, fungus, rocks, etc etc etc.... then what type of fungus etc etc etc. Just keep with what you are doing now, and in the fall aerate, overseed, and topdress... every year.

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