My lawn is dying. Whats wrong?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by kirk1701, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. kirk1701

    kirk1701 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Hello everyone,
    I've took great care of my lawn and did the landscaping myself moving four loads of topsoil by hand with nothing more then a shovel and a dirt cart attached to the garden tractor.

    I had chemlawn do the reseeding (after my attempts failed) and also have them treating it to keep weeds from starting. :)

    They came and fertilized/weed control about three weeks ago and then I started noticing some brown spots. These spots got worse and worse and the last time I mowed the lawn looks like we've been in a drought for over 6 months. :confused:

    I'm being told these brown spots could be a disease that took over but at the same time, could it be something Chemlawn did that may have burned it up with fertilizer?

    Attached are a few pic's. Thanks everyone in advance.



  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Without looking at my books, I would say you have a disease problem. I'm thinking summer patch from the hot/ dry weather, but I'm not sure. I'll look later.

    I wouldn't think you have fert burn only because most large companies use a slow release fert to not get a burn, unless it was a liquid ap.

    Possibly the weed control did it too.

    Try to pull up some of the brown sections, if it pulls up like a piece of carpet then you might have insect damage at the root zone.

    Another thought is, if they used a machine or ride-on, then there could have been an oil leak or gas spillage as it went accross the lawn, but it seems unlikely as it's a pretty large area.
  3. kirk1701

    kirk1701 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Thanks for the quick reply White Gardens, I just tried to pull some up and the answer is No, it don't pull up like a carpet it's actually pretty strong roots and the grass blades broke off while I pulled.

    I take it thats a good sign?

    I do have another question to go along with this. In the process of all this, I have been asked what company did the fertilizing and when I said ChemLawn I was told to get away from them, they do not use fertilizer they use something like a steroid to make the grass grow and stay green. In this process the chemicals kills the soil and if I ever discontinued service with ChemLawn I would never get grass to grow because the soil would be dead. Could there possibly be any truth to that?
  4. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    A real good closeup of damage will help, it could be a coupe of things, but looks like a good chance of disease or fungus. What kind of turf seed exactly did they use, how long ago, and what exactly did they applicate?
  5. kirk1701

    kirk1701 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Here's some close ups and I scanned the last bill off for a complete look at what was put on.

    All I know about the seed was it is Tall Fescue and it was done last fall, took real good and was already mowing before winter.



  6. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Unfortunetly what they put on their slips isnt always what happens. I wouldnt say it is exactly their fault. If you have summer patch fungus in the lawn not showing and you get real hot with moisture and then apply nitrogen you may all of a sudden start to see it. You wont in the spring because of the great growing conditions, but it becomes more apparent when it starts getting hot. Did you have a history of problems with your previous lawn?
  7. kirk1701

    kirk1701 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    No, not really any problems previously, just could not control the weeds and although chemlawn seems to be doing a better job at it then I was able to it still is not completely under control.

    So with what your saying it sounds like the nitrogen burned it up is this right?
    Can it be treated or is it going to have to be reseeded again?
  8. Penscape Landscaping

    Penscape Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 357

    Looks to be a case of good ole Brown Patch!!!! We get it alot here with humid nights over 65 and high nitrogen levels. You need to lay off the nit and giveit a little rest do not mow it as much and lighter on the water if possible. It will prob not clear up but it will do it better. You will have to reseed in the fall and next year apply a pre fungicide in the beginning of the humid months.
  9. LuckhardtLawnService

    LuckhardtLawnService LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    I think the amount applied is way to much.. I cant remember exactly how much your suppose to apply but it seems that your not suppose to apply that much at 1 time.. could be wrong but just a thought and if you talk to chemlawn about the problem they probably will be more than willing to help you out.. just kinda threaten to leave them because of poor service and they usually try to work something out...
  10. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    If they applied 4 lbs of fertilizer that is 15% nitrogen that is 0.6 lbs N per 1000 sq ft which isn't too much. The pictures would indicate some type of disease. The dead patches are too random to be damage from fertilizer, herbicide, hydraulic oil, etc.

    Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for information on how to submit a disease sample.

    I don't know exactly what Chemlawn applies to lawns but I do know they use fertilizer just like everyone else to keep the lawns green. You should not have any problems switching to another service.

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