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Severe yellowing of the lawn...pics included

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by Raymond S., Aug 14, 2012.

  1. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 996

    I have a subdivision a couple towns over where we do around 30 yards. Of these, probably 25 have sever yellowing after the crazy hot spell we had and constant watering. I received these lawns from a friend of mine who did the applications on most of them for about 5 years. This is not specific to my lawns, Trugreen lawns, or any other company. I have lawns in here that are deep lush green, and one road over they look like piss, literally. This will clear up in a month or so, but for now it's embarrassing. Here are a few pics.




    This is KBG, sandy soil, around the IN/MI line.
    It is more prevalent on lawns that...
    -Water more often during hot temps (no browning or thinning out with drought)
    -Raise mowing heights in summer as instructed
    -Do not display rust stains on sidewalks, fences, house, etc.
    (I noticed that every house that has rust stains on the curb or sidewalk, has a dark green lawn. I talked to a homeowner who said when they built the house the builder said some of the first homes built had a bad iron problem, so they were drilling wells deeper to hit a different vein. The oldest houses in the neighborhood are the ones with the best lawns. Coincidence?)
    The people who do what they're told in regards to mowing, watering, fertilizing, etc. seem to be the ones paying the price. The lawns that are scalped, burnt up a month ago, are now green.

    The previous company (good friend of mine) fought this problem for several years. He tried various iron applications and as expected, everything was a temporary fix. The univeristy extentions offer little guidance and have no answers. They either are out of touch or don't have a solution. We are not the only company fighting this so I know there has to be a solution somewhere.

    Any ideas.
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,568

    I think I have seen the same thing in early fall, when soil temps are high. mysterious.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That particular color, looks like chemical burn... almost orangish yellow is not a naturally occurring color when grass just dies on its own... at least that I've ever seen... even in oat fields there seems to be some residual affect that is evident in some fields... what herbicides were applied during the heat???
  4. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 996

    Little if any herbicide was applied to these yards. Mostly spot spraying of 3way as needed. It's a recurring issue every season with the same yards. We've had soil samples done and Ph is on the high side at 7.3. I've been doing alot of reading on Chlorosis of turfgrass and that's the route I'll go for corrective action but the previous company tried applying sulfur to lower Ph, add iron, etc. I can't believe this is only an issue in this area.

    Oh, and the grass isn't dying at all. It's still growing, rapidly at that. Almost as though it's growing too much. We don't go crazy on fert either. Standard 5 step program
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  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    High pH and possible chorosis, makes for an interesting research project... are there any other things out of whack on the soil test??? this seems like an instance in which the soil test is a good idea...

    Another possibility is the water, as you've already alluded to... could be more than just iron in it at the higher levels... we still have aldicarb from the 70s in our water, perhaps there's something from the agricultural community getting into your water supply...

    Meanwhile it will be fun to browse around and see what some possible causes of chorosis in lawns might be... :)
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082


    This is a good read, 4 pages and pretty easy to understand... it matches your statement about the grass going back to normal in the Fall when things cool down... Summer-induced Chlorosis seems to be a real condition...

    It wasn't mentioned in this article, but I wonder if the idea of cooling the turf in the heat of the day is another possible solution... that article had come from Michigan university system, I believe...

    Anyways, iron seems to help when applied heavily up to the point of diminishing returns at the 0.7/A level... Rootzone temps of 94 degrees and above are going to create a problem for KBG on a sandy high pH soil environment, and that seem to be exactly what you have there... good luck... :)
  7. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 996

    I have not come across that article yet. I'll do some reading into it and hopefully post back my results. Definitely been an abnormal season in regards to weather pattern. The ironic (ha ha) thing is nobody has complained. If I paid a lawn service to do my yard I'd be damn pissed if it looked like this.
  8. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 996

    I need to get a job at one of these universities. Spend 2 years doing an experiment only to conclude that yes this phenomenon exists (all these lawncare guys calling up over the past 10 years weren't lying) and there is more work to be done to get to the route cause of summer induced chlorosis. (Ehhh, we'll just put this one on the back burner)
    It is good to have some validation by their applications of iron and such, but it would be nice to have a bit more conclusive findings.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I thought the 90+ degrees in the root zone was rather conclusive, but at least we know it is temporary and you have info for the customers, if they do complain... :)
  10. crazy4green

    crazy4green LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    I have found that yellowing of this nature when watering a lot. From tracks in lawn looks like it is overwatered. Too much water at a time gave push out all the oxygen out of soil and cause yellowing. Not saying this is the case for sure in this instance but it may be the cause.

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