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Bermuda lawn has me stumped

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by NickN, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    Guys I've got a big problem on a hybrid bermuda lawn.I can usually figure things out,but this one has me stumped.Until 4 weeks ago,the lawn looked great.Then I started seeing small footprints in the lawn and thought it was a small dog.Turns out,it's appears to be an armadillo.Bed areas have small holes dug all around them.(I put out traps yesterday)
    The lawn problem though,is severe.Grass is layed over in irregular patterns(I know,a pic would help alot)and has stopped producing any new growth.This isn't occuring on any other bermuda lawns I have.I've tried lowering the cut to mask the problem,but it hasn't helped.This is a fine texture hybrid bermuda and I'm wondering if the armadillo itself is causing this from just walking across the lawn every night,pushing the grass down in the direction it travels.
    Lawns on either side of this one are ok,but they are a coarser texture bermuda.
    I'm going to check for grubs today(I'm sure there are some,but the grass itself isn't brown or dying).I'm also going to check for bermuda mites,as it appears that some of the grass is "witchbrooming" in some areas.I also wonder if armyworms could cause this?
    Photo is of the lawn when it looked fine.

  2. jcthorne

    jcthorne LawnSite Member
    Messages: 208

    Send a sample off and check it for fungus as well.

    The armidillo is there for a reason......food. Obviously there are some insects for the critter to eat in the turf.
  3. Sweet Tater

    Sweet Tater LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,123

    Armidillo (possum on a half shell) loves mole crickets, grubs and other small critters. check the lawn for these also
  4. Jordan River

    Jordan River LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    .22 calibre worked for one of my customers.
  5. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,148

    That is an absolutely beautiful lawn but the Armadillo is not causing your problem unless there is an insect infestation and it is foraging.

    Yes, Army Worms can cause anything to happen in vegetation.
  6. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    Thanks guys.I spent 2 hours yesterday going over the lawn,taking soil samples,drenching,etc.,,
    Caught a opposum in one of the traps.(he's been making the holes it appears)
    The soap drench found no signs of chinch bugs,armyworms etc.,,There were quite a few grass spiders that didn't like it though.
    Taking soil samples I found a few grubs.About half of the cores had grubs in them.The grass doesn't easily pull back as associated with heavy grub infestation.
    No bermudagrass mites were found with a 30x hand lens.
    The biggie was that the soil was saturated.Heavy clay that I could mold in my hand and it just packed.The layed down grass is sticking to the clay,then the next shoot of grass is layed down on it,and so on.This is from mowing and varmints walking over such a saturated soil.I could stand the grass up and the layers under it were just soaked and matted.
    I found early stages of leaf spot on the grass,again from the saturated grass and lack of air flow.(thick bermuda)This is weakening the grass and it hasn't grown any in a week.
    I'm going to have the customer stop watering all together and let the soil dry out.Then I'll core aerate to relieve compaction and allow some airflow.I don't see the lawn recovering this year as we'll probably have frost in about 4 weeks.
  7. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,148

    If the animals are digging holes they are looking for grubs more than likely, they don't dig holes for no reason, if they are not crossing the property line that is a pretty good indication there is food they are searching for on that particular property. They are walking across the adjacent property also but have very keen smell senses and they stop and dig on the property providing the food source.

    That is another problem, to much watering and suffocating the roots. I don't know who set up the watering plan but if Bermuda is saturated it is definitely incorrect.
  8. mhussey

    mhussey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 523

    Wow, that is a very nice lawn.

    What type of Bermuda is that by chance? Was it sodded or planted by cores or seed? What height do you cut at and with what kind of mower (rotary or reel)?

    Sorry for all the questions. I am wanting to sod my front yard with Bermuda being I can't get rid of it.


  9. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    It's a Tiff variety,although I'm not sure which.Most around here is Tifway 419,but this is even thicker.
    I got this account in July after the previous mower stopped showing up.It was 6 inches tall when I first cut it,so I lowered it to 3 inches.It's at 3.5 now.It's mowed twice a week June,July and August,in alternating patterns.
    After stopping again yesterday,the grass was still wet underneath from the previous days watering,so I stayed off of it.Called the homeowner and left a message to cut the water off and let it completely dry.
    Caught another opposum and found a small amount of billbugs in the lawn,but not enough to warrant treatment.
    Here's a pic from another angle with a worker blowing off the drive.

  10. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,148

    That is really beautiful, has it not been extremely dry in your area?

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