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lawn repair (large)

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by godzilla, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. godzilla

    godzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    This spring we subbed out the renovation of a new lawn for one of our more demanding clients. The sub brought in 60 yards of what is now know to be fill to cover an 8,000 sq ft existing lawn. We raised the irrigation heads on the property at a cost of over 1K. The lawn is not growing, and the client is not happy. A recent soil test came back with a CEC of 5.3, (we are still waiting on a full report)

    What would your course of action be?

    Remember... the client is very demanding, and simply adding more topsoil is not an option.
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,721

    I would like more information. What do you mean by not growing? Non-germination? Very thin? Slow growth? Poor clipping yield? Can you mow once per two weeks? Color pale? Late seeding? Too cold for good growth? Grass species? Dwarf-type? Seed type and origin? Have you applied lime? Nitrogen?

    Why was renovation needed? Is it the same problem--shade for instance? Is growth better in parts and poor in parts? Why?
  3. Cadzilla

    Cadzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    Cation exchange is a little out of my league but is this really sandy fill and original soil?

    If they were able to determine the CEC then you should also have a PH level. What is that?

    Do you have a number for the percentage of soluble salts?

    Have you tested the clients water?

    Why did the lawn need topsoil and seed in the first place?

    Why are you just getting to this now on a spring seeding job?

    By 'Not Growing" do you mean Not Germinating?

    How was this seeded. Hand, Hydro, Primary?

    Sorry for the questions but to proceed with remedies we really ought to know why it's failing.
  4. Cadzilla

    Cadzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    Get out of my brain.

  5. godzilla

    godzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    We are seeing poor germination, and thin / slow growing turf which is stressed. It was originally hydroseeded. Job was done because lots of roots competing with a thin layer of topsoil over lots of rock. Water is fine at this property, no questions there. It was fertilized at least 3 times since the lawn was put in, and we aerated / overseeded in the fall to try to help things along... same problem, piss poor germination.
  6. Cadzilla

    Cadzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    I'd be very curious what the PH levels are and what the at least Macro nutrient levels are.

    I have to believe this is some seriously depleted sandy soil with a crap PH level causing nutrient lockup. Thats where my head is leaning with the info I have.

    What kind of fertilizer was applied? High P or High N.

    This also sounds like shady conditions, Yes?

    What kinds of trees?
  7. godzilla

    godzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    The 3 shots of fertilizer were all nitrogen based. I believe 1 was slow release, and 2 were starter.

    There is a shading situation for part of the area, lots of oaks on the property.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Germination doesn't rely on soil fertility, CEC or even pH as far as I know... If you've place sand on top of a thin layer of topsoil, my guess would be that you're watering the trees more than the turf... adding compost originally instead of dirt would've paid off big dividends w/out raising any sprinkler heads...
    Compost for 8k, doesn't have to be that thick, but the seed needs something to hold moisture around it... I imagine this picky client insists on bagging as well...
    I'd do a dormant overseeding and adding compost , at least, to main areas... this will be a slow recovery as the instant result opportunity is past, IMO...

    What other options do you see since you're on site???
  9. Cadzilla

    Cadzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    You can get turf seed to germinate in a paper towel, but it will not survive because it has no food.

    I agree with the addition of organic matter or good topsoil but am sure this is a PH nutrient availability issue.

    What kind of Oaks?

    Pins? Whites?

    Are they at all chlorotic by chance?
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The issue is poor germination... let's stay focussed on germination... being side-tracked onto 'after germination, doesn't help us understand what is the cause of poor germination... :)

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