Need som help diagnosing this Bermuda

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by bcg, May 31, 2014.

  1. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    Looks a lot like shade is causing the issue.
  2. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    Bermuda needs 8+ hrs if direct sun to thrive.

    I've seen sodded areas do great the first year but slowly decline as it can't thrive due to proximity to tree roots and shade.
  3. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,471

    I'll second this. Some take the term "shade tolerant" to mean something it doesn't intend. It may mean 5 hours of DIRECT sunlight instead of 8. There is a huge difference between direct and filtered sunlight from what I see.

    Another thing, is the irrigation properly designed? Head to head coverage with no over loaded zones? See it everyday.

    If grass has failed here before figure out why?
  4. exmarkking

    exmarkking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    I'll say the same as above. Tifgrand still needs some pretty good sun to thrive. Also you may have an irrigation issue, may not be getting full coverage, or to much in some areas.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    Take a careful look at the pattern of brown and green. I am not sure--but in the first picture--it looks like the grass is greener in the sun--this may mean it is still dormant as the shady areas have not got as much heat. Or as above--not enough sunlight.
    But other areas, I am not so sure. And I see that at least one square piece of sod next to the curb is brown, although the grass around it is green.
    Is there any chance of in-roll "heat-up". Which happens when the sod is not laid within 6 hours of being cut.
    Any chance the sod was actually cut Wednesday? In a "heat-up" situation, the sod on the top and outside of the pallet is green whereas the sod more internal on the pallet hits higher temperatures and cannot dissipate excess heat to the air, (damaged before being laid).
  6. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    It gets full morning sun, filtered afternoon sun beginning shortly after noon. That's a little over 6 hours of full sun. The areas with the most green actually get shaded first so I'm not convinced it's sunlight. In fact, I have more brown in areas that get more sun.

    The sod was definitely cut that morning, I had to wait until after 1 to pick it up because they couldn't have the harvester in the field before 9. Highs when we were doing this were barely reaching 80* and we were still getting into the low 60's at night.

    All of these photos show the areas that get the most sun during the day. You'll notice that the browning is fairly well squared off with the sod. The first 3 pictures and the last picture show the parts of the lawn that get the most sun during the day. The turf is all on the East side of the property, trending slightly Southeast. In fact, all of the areas shown were the parts that were actually growing St. Augustine. Pictures 4 and 5 had St. Augustine pretty sparse but it was still enough sun for it to grow there some. If it's enough sun to grow St. Augustine, it's definitely enough for TIFGrand. These pictures were taken around 5:00 PM.

    Irrigation isn't perfect but the area is fully covered, it just over sprays the hard surfaces quite a bit. I've compensated for the imperfections in the irrigation design in the scheduling. None of this has dried out at all since it's been in, in addition to the irrigation we also had 8" of rain this week.
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  7. PicturePerfectLawns

    PicturePerfectLawns Banned
    Messages: 3,845

    Sorry I got home late tonight and just got the equipment clean and blades sharpened. But for your situation, you have me lost. There's so many things that can go wrong with sod installations. You can try throwing iron at it, nitrogen, potassium, and everything in the books. But the truth, the more fertilizer you put out there, and the more nutrients you put into it, the more money your spending. Sometimes throwing stuff out there can do even more harm. For example, when you have too much of nutrient x and it locks up nutrient a. Before spending any money out of pocket on nutrients or fertilizer, I would have the customer or yourself spend $30.00 for a soil test, and I think that would give you a better start then us sitting here guessing and stabbing at what could have went wrong. As for buying sod, I agree with what you said above. I found one good place in Austin that I buy sod from and it is "consistently" quality cut sod. I don't use anyone else under any circumstances. I've did a few this year and have had nothing but the best of luck with The Grass Outlet. Hope you get everything lined out.
  8. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    I honestly think the problem is the sod, I don't think we did anything wrong, in fact I think we did it exactly the way it should have been. I normally wouldn't have fertilized this early but I figured with the way it was declining, that some Fe, P and K with a little bit of N couldn't hurt it any worse that it already was.

    I'm going to talk to the turf farm on Monday and see what they have to say and see if I can talk the customer into giving it another month. If I don't see satisfactory improvement by then, it'll be less labor to rip it out at that point than it would be to wait longer and give the roots a chance to really get a hold so I'll just redo it.

    Truth is, from a distance, it looks much better than the St. Augustine did but up close, it looks rough.
  9. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,135

    When dealing with Tifgrand or any of the other bermudas advertised as shade tolerant, there are two things I think about. Height of cut and watering. In the shade, bermuda needs some leaves. My fairway cut, never mind a greens cut is out. I raise the mower to 3/4" if not 1". Secondly, Tifgrand will die if it is overwatered and not allowed to dry. That is tough if the lawn irrigation system is zoned so the sunny areas and the shady areas are on the same valve.
  10. Green Leaf Turf

    Green Leaf Turf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    I work for a company that lays a lot of sod (4.75mil sq ft over the last 12 months), 3.9 of that being bermuda (419,tifsport,tifgrand, t10, celebration and patriot). Not many companies are getting sod here in NC due to the bad winter we experienced and the sod not being ready for harvesting. We have experienced a lot of winter kill this year. Farms are scared to cut and deliver right now due to not having crop ready and it still being tender. My thoughts and observations which are tough from just pics are the following:

    -Winter kill
    -Turf being tender while being cut and not much root growth underneath
    -ground temps still too cool to be ready to help promote root growth

    I personally don't think it is irrigation because it is not only "dry" at the curb but also up closer to the plants and if irrigation was going to miss on the patch it would most likely be missing on the curbs.

    You at least picked the best bermuda for your situation, but St Augs does well in the shade also (i know you had mentioned something about that)

    I think you fert has been ok and wouldn't be too worried about that. Maybe limb up a little if possible as that will help more light get in.

    Good luck

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