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Help trying to ID lawn problem, rare ?

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


    LIBERTYLANDSCAPING LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,283

    I know what you are saying about this- In extreme shaded areas grass will germinate & live off energy stored in seed, until it runs out and then die. I have seen this with northern climate grasses, but dead area is not so defined. The areas I have seen that happen in were in very extreme shade. The more I look at it, the more I think grub control.
  2. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Grubs don't usually stay within boundaries like shady areas or out of the neighbors yard etc. Not saying there are not grubs their but plant problems are rarely are caused by a single factor.
  3. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    OK, When I first seen the lawn this spring, it was already as dead as it looks in the picture taken last week. So I am not sure how fast it died, or how it really progressed. However, one of the first things I did was to pull on the matted grass thinking grubs, but it was still firmly rooted, and the ground was solid. It was not consistent with grub damage.

    The soil type is a fairly good sandy loam. It is pretty typical for the area, and its consitency does not appear to be a problem.

    The street that this house is on runs East-West. The house faces North. The lawn recieves pretty even amounts of sun and shade throughout the day as the sun passes over. As you can see in the pic, which is even taken on an overcast day, the lawn recieves plenty of light to support grass growth. It is not overly shaded. In fact the areas that are near the house that are still thriving recieve less sunlight due to the additional shading of the house and shrubs, and the growth of the tree up to the house creating a nearly solid canopy over some spots. Also the dead area on the curb is out of the shade and in full sunlight, yet is also dead, adding further discredit to the sun/shade theory.

    I am still leaning more heavily toward some type of fungus or disease, although like I said, am not sure how to test for it or prove it this late in the game, or it its even possible.


    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    If you look at the pattern of dieback, it's not consistent with insect or fungus damage. I'm going with mechanical injury on this one. My guess is someone applied to much of something and killed the lawn. The squared off area by the driveway and the round areas by the front door kind of give it away.
  5. hughmcjr

    hughmcjr LawnSite Member
    from Oregon
    Messages: 183

    This is definitely nothing to do with shade. Shade may thin grass and certain conifers shade and needles may kill grass, but this looks like a crane fly or grub problem. If anything in a hot, dry summer the shaded areas under the tree stay greener.

    Grubs and cranefly larvae love healthy well maintained lawns, but they many pests move in when disease is present and then they finish off the job. Nature's way if you will.

    RABBITMAN11 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,480

    Maybe Phytium
  7. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 705

    Have you checked for Chinch Bugs or Bill Bugs? To me, it looks like OLD insect damage, either grubs, billbugs or chinchbugs. If it was grubs, you'd be hard pressed to find them as there's no food source available to them in the damaged areas (they eat the grass' roots and judging by the picture, it looks like the soil is showing).

    Pull on the green grassy areas and check for grubs. If they're not found, look for chinch bugs (along the green grass/dead area's edges.) If you don't find those, look for bill bugs. If something is found, apply the proper insecticide and reseed. Good luck!
  8. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Well, if it was insect or disease, its hard to say at this point, as both are so far in the past that there is really little evidence to support either besides dead grass. For all I know he could have ticked somebody off and been the victim to a cruel Round-Up revenge. Not really sure how you would know the difference over a year later. At any rate, this is the lawn 2 weeks after overseeding the entire thing with Lebanon's Winning Colors TTTF Blend. (overseeded 9-10-06, follow up picture taken 9-25-06). It will still fill in a little more, as there are still some seedlings popping, but I think its looking pretty good now. Just gotta keep an eye on it to make sure the mystery death syndrome does not reapear. If it does, at least I will be fertilizing it from now on so I should be able to have more insight as to its progress and cause.


  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,729

    Wow! it looks great! However...I agree that original problem was caused by over application of something earlier in year. Straight lines or square patterns are a dead giveaway--although I can't exactly see it from the original picture. Look for particles of fertilizer, sulfer coat or vermiculate carrier from a weed and feed. Or marks from a rotary spreader. Customer may have applied 5000 sq ft of material on this small area. Or maybe homeowner applied Roundup to kill his weeds.
  10. ant

    ant LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,466

    someone did something to kill this lawn.

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