input needed

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Keegan, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Keegan

    Keegan LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 614

    I have a customer that I've had for several years. They're backyard (1500sq') they want very nice. I've tested the soil and followed the recommendations, sprayed tea, aerate and over seed every fall. They have a lot of trees but cut several down to allow more light in. I've put down just fescue, and a mix of rye, fescue, and kbg. It grows nicely and then dies. They have 2 dogs that they swear they keep off the seed. Before they hired me they've tried other companies and no one can get anything to grow. One of the women is obsessed with watering and I believe she over waters the seed.
    I got an e mail from them yesterday saying they want to dig up the lawn and start from scratch with either seed or sod.

    Any thoughts on this.
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,158

    Shade, trees, over-watering, and dogs does not a happy lawn make.

    Are you saying the entire lawn dies?
  3. Keegan

    Keegan LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 614

    Most of it dies especially right off the patio.
  4. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,158

    I'm just trying to understand what has happened. It sounds like this happens every year. Seeds germinate and grow, how long until the turf dies off? If no one can get anything to grow, aren't you starting from scratch every year? Or are you saying that only the new turf dies from over watering and existing turf continues to grow?
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Let me guess, the trees that are creating the shade are Sugar Maples.

    Even so, Landscape the backyard and be done with the headaches.

  6. Keegan

    Keegan LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 614

    A small percentage of the new grass stays and most of it dies off after several mowings. The grass that has been there is ok and slowly the weeds are taking over.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I've successfully grown excellent turf in very dense forest for quite some time now...
    The most important thing to understand about Shade Lawns is that they are truly a Low Maintenance Lawn...

    The High Maintenance Lawn usually means 3 properly timed apps of N, in cool season areas...

    You have 2 problems in a Shade Lawn... One, is the tree roots sucking water, and the second, is the tree leaves blocking the light...

    When they start over, it will be noteworthy as to how much volume in tree root they will till up.

    Water just enough to keep the grass alive and healthy, and fertilize only as a winterizer(if the color fades in the Spring after a couple of mowings, maybe a little slow release N then)...

    I could explain, Why works and How it makes perfect sense, but I've done that b4... :)
  8. green_mark

    green_mark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 494

    A couple of things I did not see mentioned.

    1) If the trees are blocking more than 4 hours per day of direct sunlight you will not ever have a lawn. Sodding will not help as it will last about a year before your back at square one.

    2) Purchase a Kelway pH meter. It will tell you what your pH is. I have found that in these more difficult areas that if you spread lime (50lbs per 1,000 raises pH by .5) and get it close to 6.5 - 7.0 your grass responds very well even in heavily shaded areas. Note you really should never apply more than 100lbs per 1,000 at one time. I have had lawns in the 4 pH range and have added 150lbs and gotten away with it but it must be in that range before you dare go that high.
  9. B-2 Lawncare

    B-2 Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 263

    How about the water have you had it tested? I had a lawn that was be water after it had been run through the water softener.

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