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Lawn looks like crap, customer won't listen

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Jason Rose, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    I have a lawn, well a few actually that are looking very bad. Lots of fluorescent yellow grass (NOT nutsedge or crabgrass), this is fescue mainly, maybe a little bluegrass in the mix. These also have some fungus problems. Both are related to overwatering on a couple properties I'm pretty sure but one is really a mystery...

    I applied 24-0-11 about 2 weeks ago, no green up what so ever came from it, actually the yellow grass got worse... Talked to the customer, shes mad that it dosn't look good but i really don't know what to tell her. Sure I could throw fungicides on it but that won't make it look better, just keep it from getting worse. The neighbors lawns on both sides look fine, both green and healthy. Pretty much all the lawns I fert and mow look good and healthy. I know it's not ME that's the problem.

    I suggest that it needs aerating, which it DOES. Lawn is almost 100% shade over half of it and has very little root to it. Dense heavy soil. Aerating, overseed, and maybe run the slicer over it lightly. "you are NOT aerating my lawn, I don't want it torn up!" Tried and tried to EXPLAIN that aerating will not tear up the lawn nor damage her precious sprinkler system (would mark the heads, duh). I'm to the point of saying just call someone else to fert your lawn. They had chemlawn last year and it looked good, which I don't get cause I used to have chemlawn on a couple lawns I fert now and they always looked awful till I took over...

    My opinions... Fungicides really do no good as a curative treatment, plus are so costly it's out of the question
    ... soil test? I have had a few done here, local extension office has to send them to K-State, takes about 2 weeks and the results show P, K, and Ph is ALL. Gee thanks for nothing... (P and K here are always extremely high, and Ph runs a little high as well)

    ok, enough of my nonsensical babble... any suggestions? :confused:
  2. mrkosar

    mrkosar LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 680

    the ph is so high that many of the nutrients are unavailabe to the plant, especially iron. try a liquid application of iron. sounds like you need to print some educational sheets out for this women on aeration and the benefits of it. if the lawn is as compacted as you say i don't care what you put down it probably will all runoff and never get to the roots. liquid iron application would keep her quiet for a little bit. then try and reason with the lady, soil test possibly, or tell her to go back to Chemlawn so they can compact her lawn more.
  3. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    Yeah I know iron really prefers a pH of about 6.5 to uptake into the plant most efficiently... a pH over 7.5 and you really see iron results drop dramatically. If I recall, when I had my lawn checked (same soil type in town) the pH was like 7.6 or .8 Iv'e done liquid and granular Iron on my lawn and others and had Zero green up! The other soil we have that I deal with is sand. pH in the sand is typically higer by nature and Iron has little effect there either.

    I tried correcting the pH here at home, just for fun... Used sulfer+gypsum, the stuff that's mixed together in the same bag. Applied at the bag rate, like 10lbs per K I think and every time I applied it (spring and fall) my lawn would actually look worse. I'm thinking the sulfer was just too much for the roots and was maybe harming the grass even though it may have been adding acid to the soil.

    Is there a better way to lower the pH other than Sulfer? Or maybe the product I was buying was just of poor quality and was breaking down too fast. I use lesco fert, which usually has 30 to 50% PSCU. So that's SOME sulfer with each app...

    I have talked to another fert and squirt guy that works for a local landscaping co. He said he deals with the flourescent yellow turf too and even K-State dosn't have any answers. Their suggestion was some "soil activator" stuff, granular to put down and it's supposed to increase microbes and help the plant take up nutrients. I bought a couple bags to see, got no results that I could see.
  4. mrkosar

    mrkosar LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 680

    where i live majority of the lawns are alkaline soils. my lesco rep told me that lowering PH is tough and takes time. he said aerating before a sulfur application is very good if you can convince the customer to do it. sounds like this old women is a little too stubborn for that. you don't want to put down more than 4 lbs/per 1,000 sq ft though when applying it. if you put down too much it will make other nutrients unavailable. i was told in the spring go with 3 lbs./per K, then in fall, aerate and apply at 4 lbs./per K. they say it takes 2-3 years of this to lower the ph 1 point. The sulfur in the fertilizers you are using are not worthless, but aren't going to do sh@t for helping lower the ph. You need to get a pure sulfur product and apply that. I think the stuff I use is called Disper-Sul by Martin. I got it at Lesco. It is 90$ sulfur in a granular type form.

    as for the iron not working, I would have to say the PH's are too high. My mom's lawn's PH was 7.2 and I applied chelated iron on it the other day and it looks nice a green now. that was at a medium rate too.

    good luck.
  5. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    hate to step on anyones toes but.....fluorescent yellow grass (NOT nutsedge or crabgrass)
    so, what is it? you need to id the problem before you can correct it.

    see, in my mind, when i hear 'florecent' grass,,,,this means fert burn

    then to say that you could throw fungicides on it.... on what? you cant id the situation so just start applying everything under the sun till you get lucky??

    you say fungicides dont work curatively. or could it be you been applying fungicides to non disease related issues?

    i dont know, just seems you are leaving yourself wide open for all sorts of critisisum
  6. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    Grass: Fescue, turf type. Probably several varieties involved since many lawns are planted as a blend and many have been overseeded several times over the years. Whats to ID? Fert burn would be BROWN grass. I have no idea what the fungus is, the grass blades are spotted with brown, in amongst the yellow blades. I don't call it brown patch since it's not really in patches but whole areas. These areas in the lawns in that do this happens every year and each year I try a new remedy to no avail.

    This new lawn I have this year, the one with the mad woman, I really don't know how it looked last year, other than she tells me it looked better.

    Like I said, Iv'e talked to others who do apps around here and they don't know what to throw at it either... Here's what I have tried but saw no real positive results: Iron (liquid and granular), Fungicide (daconil I believe), Organic soil activator, Fertilizer. This was on the lawns in the sand... I have not tried areating since sand is porous already...

    So, I'd ID the problem or get help... Tried help locally but no one has answers, thought I'd go global with the question here... Hope that helps, thanks!

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,134

    can u get a pic? or several of them
  8. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    You applied 24-0-11 in August with evidence of fungus already in the grass?

    That's alot of nitrogen for the fungus to feed on.

    I can't get away with that around here with our humidity, that would be the death of the entire lawn.
  9. Microbe

    Microbe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 172

    OK......... First problem is SHADE! Lawns are extremelly difficult to get growing in full shade! You should try rounding up the lawn, depending on how large it is, after killing it off, thatch the area heavily. Really deep thatch it to aerate the soil and give you a nice soft bed to work with. Then I would over seed the lawn with POA TRIVIALIS. Poa Trivialis is a seed specially created to grow in shaded areas. But I feel even in full shade it won't work. After thatching throw down a 1/4 inch of peat moss over the entire lawn and over seed heavily with Poa Trivialis. THis will bring you some results but if the lawn doesn't get energy from the sun she will never have a lush lawn. Don't cut the lawn either for 2 weeks at at time. Let the lawn grow, so many landscapers don't let the lawn grow and in time they have a sorry looking lawn during the months of july and august. Also, this would be a great time to "sell," your customer a design for her property. Mabye a lawn is a waste of her money, sounds like a nice shade garden with a nice gravel bed would really bring out the area nicely. When I have area's that are very very shady I use beach pebble or some kind of 3/4 inch stone or smaller to bring out the property. Don't use white limestone or marble for this situation.
  10. mikesturf

    mikesturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 797

    If these few customers are not following your suggestions and are still complaining, let them go!!! Don't spend 80% of your emotions, time and energy on 10% of your lawns. The feeling you get by firing those 3 customers will be great. In a few weeeks those 3 will be replaced by 3 more that will LISTEN to you and will appreciate your hard work. Don't let those annoying customers suck you dry.

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