Lawn help, Whats wrong??

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Pikey, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Pikey

    Pikey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I a little background on my issue. I live in Michigan. When we moved into our home ten years ago, the lawn looked terrible. For a few years I worked on it and it started looking great. The last few years it has looked terrible. We can reseed the spots and they just come back. I have dug about 1 foot deep into the spots, replaced with clean soil and reseeded, it still does not grow or the bare spot just moves. I aerate twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. Any ideas what is going on here? Thank you in advance.



  2. green_mark

    green_mark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 494

    Without knowing your pH I would lean towards applying limestone. The photos look like it could be a disease or dog spots.

    This elevates your pH and makes either situation less likely to occur.

    A kelway meter will tell you what your pH is and help you to identify if this is the issue.

    I would contact a local lawn care service and ask them if they have a kelway meter to get a reading if you don't want to purchase one on your own.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    What is that white stuff on the dirt??? are those deposits soaking out of the soil , or a mildew groing on the dirt?
    or something else?

    What kind of soil do you have? looks smooth and compacted like it is quite heavy... how often do you water???
  4. Pikey

    Pikey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thank you for the fast replies guys. I have a ph meter and will check the ph. The white stuff is the dead grass. I do have 2 dogs. But the area that the dead grass is in is not used by the dogs. Actually where they use the bathroom is nice and green. The soil at my home is about a foot of top soil and then all sand. I was able to dig to the bottom of my basement along the entire back of the house in 45 minutes! I do not water the back yard where the problem exists. We have had tons of rain in the last 2 weeks. I also cross aerate every spring and fall to help with the compaction. Back when I was doing all the stuff to the yard I applied limestone every year. I guess that I will do a ph test and see what it says.
  5. Pikey

    Pikey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Update: I checked the PH with the cheap rapid test ph tester I have(I am sure it is not super accurate). In the dead spots I had a ph of 6, in a few other "good" places I checked the average was between 7.5-8. considering that rye and tall fescue (what comes in most seed bags around here) call for a ph of 6-7. Could this be my issue? I would figure that the "good" areas would look terrible considering that the ph is at 8. Back when I was doing the Jerry Baker method of mixing all sorts of stuff and putting it down the lawn looked great. But, it was pretty expensive and time consuming. Plus, I did not like just throwing Epsom salts, gypsum, and lime on my lawn and not knowing what I was doing to the ph. (hence purchase of the cheap ph tester.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  6. wrager

    wrager LawnSite Member
    from ATL
    Messages: 164

  7. Pikey

    Pikey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I think that I will. Michigan State University has a satellite campus near me that does the testing. I will take it to them next time they do it.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,810

    It would be rare for soil to test radically different in different areas of the same lawn. Of course, the soil was trucked-in; different truckloads could have been different. The background looks better than the foreground. More shade? Thicker layer of topsoil? Was it hot last year? LOL, naturally it was. So, is this a result of the intense heat and dryness last year? Are we seeing the tall fescue which remained after the rye died out? Is the area irrigated? Was this grass originally sod or seed?
    Sod lawns are sometimes affected with necrotic ring spot. Eighteen-inch diameter rings of dead grass sometimes with healthy grass in the center.
    I am assuming you have checked and found no grubs.
    When you reseed affected areas, be sure to use top-quality disease-resistant grass seed. Include some bluegrass as it creeps to fill in thin spots. TF and rye do not.
  9. Pikey

    Pikey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    The area that has the bare spots is in the shade. The thicker green area behind it is full sun. It was hot last year. Most of the lawn turned brown and went dormant, except for this area. It is in the shade so it was the only green area in the backyard. Well, green with bare spots! I don't know what type of grass it is, it was here when I moved in 10 years ago and the home was built in the 1960's. Every spring when I aerate I spread a quality seed into the aeration holes, then rake over the area causing dirt to fall back into the holes and covering the seed. It has worked well for the high traffic areas from the dogs. The area is not irrigated. I have no grubs. We had this problem last year, we reseeded some of the bare areas and it regrew nicely. But, the bare spots just moved over. Is there a "kill all disease and fungus" product out there?
  10. wrager

    wrager LawnSite Member
    from ATL
    Messages: 164

    Awesome...that is one great school!:clapping: It's my alma matter!

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