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Dead spots in lawn

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by JKJ777, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. JKJ777

    JKJ777 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I had a new lawn and sprinkler system professionally installed in 1999. Every year since 2002 there have been numerous dead spots everywhere. It looks like it will be the same this year. I have always had a professional landscaper take care of the fertilizer/weed killer/grub control applications. (I usually do apply starter fert. between his applications-this was a tip from the lawn installation company). He has been unable to explain why my grass dies.

    The water from my point well has a lot of iron in it. The grass is Kentucky Blue grass and was originally hydroseeded. My neighbor next door does not have my lawns problem. His lawn/sprinklers were professionally installed in '99 too, by a different company. His grass was from seed and his water is city water; no iron. I took a few pictures, but if I understand correctly, the rules here will not allow me to post a link to them so I have attached just one.

    -Is the iron a problem?
    -Am I stressing the grass with the starter fertilizer?
    -Good loam was added over my original lawn- I assume that is deep enough.
    -I mow at 2.75" (1" lower for the last mowing)

    What do you think is the problem?

  2. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    Appears to be a fungus problem. You probably are enhancing the problem by fertilizing it between your LCO's apps. Also, make sure you are watering in the A.M., not at night.
  3. JKJ777

    JKJ777 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

  4. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Ya' know, from your pictures the fungus appears to be snow mold (Typhula incarnata). It's very common in areas where snow may stay on the ground for any length of time.

    With snow mold, the areas become grey, or pink, and matted. If this is snow mold, what you're seeing is the after-effect caused by the fungus, and a fungicide at this time wouldn't help - again, if it is snow mold. A systemic fungicide such as Daconil should be applied to the turf in the late fall to help guard against this.

    At this time, aeration and dethatching would be of great help, or if nothing else, rake over these spots and pick up the dead thatch. You will want to encourage new growth, but not to the point of applying so much nitrogen as to develope a lot of thatch that will again have to be removed later on.

    To see a lot of pictures of snow mold, just do a search containing the words university snow mold.
  5. ccorts

    ccorts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    I will ask the obvious to eliminate that problem---you don't have a dog do you? I have seen areas in concentration somewhat like this from dog urine.
  6. JKJ777

    JKJ777 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks for your replies. After researching, I have come to the conclusion that my problem is in fact snow mold. For some reason my lawn has been effected by it more severly than other lawns nearby over the past three years. I am probably at fault for applying starter fertilizer between my Lawn care service companies applications. It seems that too much nitrogen could make the grass more susceptible. I will not do that this year, at least not near the end of the season. I don't own a dog anymore and the leash laws here have eliminated almost all dog traffic in recent years.

    Thanks again,
  7. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Jeff, make sure you get that lawn dethatched and aerated.

    I gotta tell you that I've never applied the fall fungicide treatment onto my own lawn, mainly because I think that since I've been aerating and dethatching every year, the snow mold problem has basically gone away. This last winter I had snow on parts of the lawn from November through March, but after if finally melted I saw no evidence of snow mold, just a poor looking wet mess ready for a good drying out spell.

    Give your lawn a good combing and poking, and then later on in the fall get it prepped with a fungicide. That will help it in more ways than one. And, by the way, in the fall look for a fertilizer relatively high in potassium (k), but drop that nitrogen percentage down.
  8. Hometown Lawn Care

    Hometown Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    Hometown Lawn Care is in your area, we could help you :-D
  9. lars

    lars LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    I'd agree with the snow mold thing. The problem is that it stays. Snow mold reproduces and creates scloretia, these are little capsules that fall into the turf canopy and wait until next winter to spring up if the conditions are right. Scloretia can survive for a long time. You should apply a preventitive fungicide this fall. PCNB is the most effective. It often comes in the form of Scotts FFII.

    You should not apply a starter when you fertilize. An established lawn does not need that much phosporus. I would look for a fertilizer with a ratio of 2-1-2.

    Also did you ever test your water? Does it have any other heavy metals?
  10. JKJ777

    JKJ777 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I was wondering if the snow mold demons were hiding over the summer. I will show my Lawn care Guy your e-mail and see what he has to say. I have never had my water tested. I know it is loaded with iron, and lots of it. What are heavy metals? If I can work it out financially, I want to install a filter for the Iron. My future son-in-law and his father (his father owns the company and seems to know his stuff) are plumbers and are sure that their recommended system will work (about $1200 with a reusable filter cartridge).

    Thanks for the info.

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