Help trying to ID lawn problem, rare ?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Mower For Less, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823


    I have seen the same problem twice this year so far, and was wondering what it was or if any of you had encountered similar problems? In both yards there are tree's. The grass has died completely in the shadow of the tree (a very large portion of the lawn), literally shriveled up into brown a brown hay thatch mat. It almost appears that it was sprayed with roundup, but nothing else is growing. A couple sparse weeds here or there, but for the most part nothing. The tree's have leaves and appear to be in ok health. Then, as if nothing were a problem, just outside the shadow of the tree the grass is green and healthy. I planted a small 1x1 square test plot of seed in the 1st yard and it grew and established and help all summer and is still doing fine. I am about ready to reseed the entire lawn, when I meet the second customer with a near identical problem who says he has re-sodded his lawn twice, and both times it died off the same way. Got me worrying about the 1st, which is why I am trying to look into it now. Now it has me rethinking what this problem is/was. Anybody ever seen anything like it? I can take a pic, but it probably wont be until this weekend.

  2. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,564

    The only thing I can think of is a fungus. It was in shadow, so would have stayed wet longer than the sunny areas. Leaf wetness can lead to disease, particularly dewy grass. The shady areas would be dewy longer, so more likely to become infected (?). This is more of a shot in the dark, but seems plausible.
  3. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Are there any types of soil tests that will reveal soil contamination of presence of disease or fungus?

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    Has there been a drought in your area? The canopy of the trees will deflect most of the water from a heavy Summer shower, so this might be a problem of lack of water. Include somne pics.
  5. rusty2

    rusty2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    It could be Green Bugs. They are little aphids that suck the juice out of the leaves. You will find them in the shadow of the tree. To check for them go to the actively infected lawn and place a piece of paper on the grass. Run your hand over the grass around the paper. The bugs will be visible on the paper.
    Good Luck.
  6. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Alright, here is a picture of the one lawn. The small green sqaure of grass was a test plot I did in the spring. It survived all summer, and a very hot summer, without losing its green, and with virtually no watering once it was established, and no additional fert past the initial starter app. (If your interested, I used Lebanon's Winning Colors Blend TTTF). I did this test as a way of trying to determine if something was wrong with the soil. I half expected it to be dead by now, but I am actually surprised it still looks good, so I overseeded the rest of the lawn, and have to assume it will turn out the same way. My problem is I still dont know what caused it to begin with.

    My deductions are these:

    1. I highly doubt it was drought, becase of the definite line between good grass and dead grass, and the survival of the newly seeded grass.

    2. It may have been some type of fungus or disease, but I am not sure how to identify it this far into it, it looks like it could have been anything.



    LIBERTYLANDSCAPING LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,283

    What time of the year did lawn start dying out? Was it in the late summer/early fall? It's hard to tell after lawn is already dead, but if it happened late in season it could be grubs. Iv'e seen a lot of grub damage that looked similar. Looks like patchy drought stricken turf, as the roots have been chewed off. Try pulling up some of dead area and seeing if it has much root mass left.
  8. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 688

    I agree w/ Liberty on this one. You might have had an outstanding pop of grubs that just ate you out of house and home. Also, what kind of soil is that lawn made up of? I have seen trees do that to small lawns where the tree has an extensive root system running underneath. If you are growing it back in successfully, then all is well. gl
  9. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I can't believe no one has mentioned this and maybe its because we are in different parts of the country with different turf types. Turf is a full sun plant it needs full sun, it will survive for a time in shade using stored sugars and starches from previous seasons but it needs energy from the sun to do its thing. Take away the power source and eventually the batteries go dead. It is a very common problem out here. I have two huge pine trees in my front yard I have to re sod every other year if I want to keep a decent lawn. I think it is a low light condition.
  10. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 688

    If that were the case, how could the grass have germinated???????and remained healthy???????

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