Frustrated with my bermuda

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Jericho574, May 19, 2017.

  1. Jericho574

    Jericho574 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I bought a new home a little over a year ago and the lawn is your standard common bermuda. The total square footage of front/back/side is probably 2.5-3k, but I'm only concerned with the front and back (~2k total max) because the houses are close enough that the sides just don't get enough sun.

    I have a manual reel (American 7-blade) that I keep sharp. I mow 2-3 times per week @ 1.25" (would love to go lower but need to level the bumpy lawn first). I installed an irrigation system last year and water deep and infrequently.

    I have a lawn service for fertilizer, although I'm about to stop that and go off on my own. The lawn was last aerated and fertilized (28-0-3) about 3 weeks ago.

    I mow low and often. You cannot find a weed. I water deep and infrequent. As a last resort I even applied some liquid iron last week (I went a little heavy) yet the color and density are both light. I'm not sure what to do. I'm doing everything, what I read, to be correct yet my grass is light green and thin while all my neighbors, who do everything "wrong" (i.e. mowing at 3-4", watering 15 mins every day...at night, 10-10-10, or 46-0-0 every couple days) have a much fuller, darker lawn. I know that longer heights typically yield dark colors but the difference is shocking. The fact that the liquid iron did absolutely nothing for the color is alarming.

    I have a neighbor who recently leveled his lawn and threw out a gargantuan amount of fertilizer. Lawn is the deepest color green. He went and bought a used reel and took it down from 3" down to 1.5" overnight and it's still dark and lush.

    I always read about how indestructible and invasive bermuda is yet I'm not seeing any of this. Any thoughts???
     
  2. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,975

    One possible cause is soil that is too acid or too alkaline. Non response to standard rates of fertilizer suggest that. That is why I utilize soil testing. Especially in cases where grass does not respond to 46-0-0 or 10-10-10. Get it tested and post the results.
     
    TerraCade likes this.
  3. Jericho574

    Jericho574 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I meant that my neighbors are making crazy "mistakes". One is putting down 46-0-0 literally every couple of days while watering frequently, lightly, and at night, another throws down a bag of 10-10-10 and never waters. Both of their lawns are so thick, green, and soft (all of our lawns were sodded at the same time within 10 houses of each other in distance). My is lighter, thinner, and harder (you wouldn't want to walk barefoot).

    So it sounds like soil testing would be my best bet?
     
    TerraCade likes this.
  4. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,975

    Yes. I remember one of my customers describing how they would put down a double or triple rate of lawn fertilizer containing slow release 46-0-0. Grass would be green for a week or so and then down it went. What turned the grass green and kept it that way was my going in there and fixing a problem with their soil pH. Bermuda can survive at a pH of 8. However, I make no guarantees about what the grass will look like. I had to apply a lot of sulfur, citric acid, phosphoric acid and ammonium sulfate to correct the soil. Conversely, I remember the opposite case. One customer inherited a lawn from a previous owner who fertilized like crazy. Grass was green while he did it. They did not keep up his program. Problem there was a soil pH of 5.5. Ideal soil pH for Bermuda to me is between 6-7. Anything above or below that will cause problems with how the grass looks and how hard it is to maintain. Do not listen to people who tell you that soil pH does not matter. They can afford to spend a lot of money and do a lot of hard work. I as a lawn care professional and you as a homeowner have neither. Fix the actual problem and enjoy the results.
     

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