Lawn looks like crap, customer won't listen

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

  1. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    Along with Microbe, what about the shade? With "100%" shade, really, you would have no grass growing under it. So assuming you have like 80%+ shade, that is a huge part of the battle there. I have one customer in particular who has a very shady backyard, and the grass there is always thin and stringy. He simply doesn't want to thin out the trees, so I told him long ago in that case his lawns present condition is about the best he can expect. I explained the situation to him, and he understands. He is actually a very good (and rare!) customer!
  2. sclawndr

    sclawndr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    You can't win in a shade situation. Generally speaking, pH is on the low side in shade, which makes lime a better choice. Disease/fungus isn't likely the problem as most diseases are strictly in sunny areas. Fert is definitely not the answer. Run a soil test at the customers expense or lose the customer. In the end, shady lawns are more trouble than they're worth.
  3. ant

    ant LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,466

    Jason Rose we need some pictures... from the street as if we were there..
  4. Victor

    Victor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,430

    Hey Jason. Do you know what poa trivialis looks like? It could also be poa annua. If it's in a shady location like that. That would tailor to being poa. With all the heat we've had this summer. That would be all it took to kill off a poa. Poas are a lighter green color.
    Pictures would tell a lot, but listening to your explanation of what's going on. I'm wondering if that's what you're dealing with.

  5. Lawnchick22

    Lawnchick22 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    Did you say large areas of yellowing? And the blades are spotted? It sounds like brown patch, which can be caused by over fertilizing or fertilizing in late spring / summer and then a lot of moisture w/o sun -- if it's a shady lawn, a perfect breeding ground for brown patch.
    NC State has a good page on brown patch -- see the attached link:

    Hope you get a handle on it.
  6. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    Well, thought i would chime in at this point...

    The lawn in question here happens to be mine, (jason is doing the fert. and whatnot as i am not yet licensed for pesticides), and the lady you all are talking about (with me laughing along the whole way, she is just hard to deal with on stuff like this) is my mom. Anyway... Dad, me, and jason have all tried to convience mom to "let" us aerate...but to no avail. So... the game plan at this point is to aerate sometime when mom and dad are gone, and i have the aerator available. So, mom is gonna come home to a beautiful, aerated lawn.

    Yea, our lawn sucks... very shady 80 to 100% in many places, but full sun in others. So, the plan for that (when the parents are gone, of course) is to get out the pole saw, and do some trimming...:laugh:

    I feel real bad for Jason, as this is the first year he has done our lawn, and this is the worse it has looked in recent history. That is a lot due to overwatering, in my opinion. The lawn looking like crap is NOT jasons fault by any means though, as ALL his lawns (i have seen them all helping him after school once in a while) look W A Y better then almost all others in town.

    To end this, i am just going to say mom is VERY hard to get along with sometimes... Also, I will get some pics. posted tomorrow.
  7. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    I aerated the lawn today (didnt say anything to mom, just marked sprinkler heads and got 'r done). I plan to overseed on Tuesday, with a fescue blend on the sunny half of the lawn, then a shade blend on the rest. Next step after that is get rid of some of the shade...
  8. AlpineNaturescapes

    AlpineNaturescapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    I'll chime in too.
    Most fescues do fine in the shade - they are one of the better grasses for shade. I put some in similar high pH heavy clay soil conditions out my way becasue they do better in the shade. They all have a very dark green.
    The spottedness makes me side with lawnchick - brown patch or other fungus. Fungicides are not a waste. Use Fore. It's relatively cheap and is a broad spectrum lawn fungicide. Lesco can probably get it. I've used it with great results on all kinds of lawn funguses.
    Another thing that will really help is sulfur. Dispersul was suggested. I've used that and it is a great product - esp for $10/50 Lb. One client said no one else could get their lawn to grow for past seven years until I used this. It will decrease alkilinity, and acidity will also help against funguses. It will take about a month for results.
    I really don't feel aeration will help much - may spread a fungus.
    If yellow blades coming up are finer than existing fescue blades - almost hair-like fineness, this could very well be an invasion of poa annua, and a pre-emergent should be applied this fall.
    Since chelated liquid iron isn't helping, I think it is one of the above problems. We use fert with iron sucrate in spring to get the iron in the grass before summer, when stress and increased alkalinity makes it harder to do. Our summer fert doesn't usually have any iron.
    One last possibility. If fert is high in muriate of potash it may well be a chemical burn. This is not a good ingredient to apply in high heat conditions. I discount this possibility since your other lawns do well.
    If it makes you feel any better, I've had dog lawns too - wellll - a dog lawn. In the end I think their problem was fungus - snow mold - and too much late fall N.
  9. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    you sure it is not kyllinga brevafolia?
  10. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    Yeah, though I do see that crap in wet places, but usually barren spots, not in the turf.

    p.s. I had to google that to even find out what the heck it was!
    p.p.s you had it misspelled! lol. Green Kyllinga: Kyllinga brevifolia

    This is a picture from MY back yard. Yes, even MY lawn has decided to revolt the past couple weeks and has turned YELLOW in places. This is not a great pic and the other couple I took from up close just look like nothing (CRAP camera). I gurantee there is NO weeds in this grass. It's fescue, a blend, I planted it, this area was basically dirt a couple years ago. You can see the darker green blotches in and around the yellowness... Thats the color of the turf in the rest of the yard, the color it's supposed to be. The yellow occours when there is the slightest too much water. We have has some rain in the last 2 weeks, and I am very careful about watering. Fertilizer was applied 1 month ago- Lesco 24-0-11.

    9-3-06 006.jpg

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