What could be the cause?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Keegan, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. Keegan

    Keegan LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 610

    I have a customer who seeded one part of his lawn. He put down several bags of top soil, compost, and manure. Turned over the existing soil. First he put down rye mix Lesco seed (he said he bought it at Home depot) it dies and then he bought a blend from Lesco and it is barely surviving. They both started out nice. It's a mostly shaded area. He says he didn't over water.

    Any clues?
  2. Prolawnservice

    Prolawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 612

    too much manure, maybe
  3. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    fungal issues? damping off?? to hot ??? any pics????soil test?? N can make the grass just shoot its load and die if its over applied
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082


    I would certainly take a look at the 'manure' issue. All the compost you want, but manure can rot living tissue in just about anything.

    You may have to supersoak the soil to disperse the manure then after it dries till again to aerate then perhaps it is ready to reseed.
  5. HazyDavy

    HazyDavy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    It's a losing battle if the area doesn't get at least 3 or 4 hours of sunlight per day.
  6. Keegan

    Keegan LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 610

    What's in the manure that would kill the grass?
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We use raw manure and grass clipping to kill plants that are too tough to pull out, or other wise deal with.

    They both ROT quickly..... What's in quckly rotting stuff that makes it deadly to living tissue? Good question. ...Acid?
  8. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    I think it is the anaerobic condition. Anaerobic organisms can excrete(exhale) ammonia(NH3) instead of carbon dioxide(CO2). While ammonia is a nitrogen compound it is phytotoxic.

    Manures are high in both Nitrogen and salts(not necessarily NaCl). If you add too many salts to your soil your grass can't absorb water like it needs. If it isn't the salt per se the amount of nitrogen he put down with the manure could be burning the plants.

    So it could be three things, or more, but I also suspect that it is one of these three...
    -The plants are dehydrating even though the soil is moist (too many salts - have a lab test ECe, results should be roughly below a 2)
    -There is too much available nitrogen and it is burning the plants (test nitrate levels, make sure you air dry your soil sample before shipping to the lab)
    -The manure was too much food at once and the explosion in microbe population has created an anaerobic environment... because of that they are excreting(exhaling) the phytotoxic poisonous gas ammonia and harming the plants.

    In the case of the first two, have your customer water deeply, very deeply. The idea is to dissolve the excess salts (including the nitrogen) and take them below the root zone. Then he can replant.

    In the case of the ammonia gas, leaching might help because it will take some of the oversupply of nutrients away from the microbes. He might also till in some tiny wood chips or sawdust to try to get higher carbon supply down there. (It might help to avoid anaerobic conditions or an oversupply of ammonia - This one is a wild guess though, have him leach for sure)

    Good luck.

    Hazy has a point too. Does red fescue grow out there? We have had good succes with it in mostly shade areas. It blends well with KBG, although it greens up a little faster in the spring. Have him try a shade tolerant grass mix if he hasn't already.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008

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