What is wrong with our lawn?

Discussion in 'Lawn Care' started by Paige, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. Paige

    Paige New Seed

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    This was our back yard in May.
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    And this is our back yard today..
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    It has happened this way every year. We built in 2012 so we started with a dirt back yard. We've seeded every year, aerated the last two years, we have a lawn service come and apply fertilizer and/or pre-emergent at scheduled intervals. In the spring, it looks lush and green and thick (except for a few spots where the dogs go), then in the summer it looks horribly patchy or just downright brown.

    I know it's typical for lawns to go dormant in the summer heat, and we could certainly do better about watering, but our yard is by far the worst looking one on our block and I know our neighbors aren't all watering regularly, and some are clearly not tending to their lawns at all, yet they look way better than our patchy brown mess. I'm at a loss!

    We are also seeing a bunch of mushrooms back there now, even when it hasn't rained recently. Also not seeing that in other yards. I'm worried we have some kind of fungal issue back there.. But I had no idea something fungal could survive 90+ degree weather with very little rain and zero shade (no mature trees).

    Help!!!!
     
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  3. kate

    kate In Flower

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    I bet it's thatch.
    It's hard slog if it is but worth it.
    Tools: any thatch rake will remove it be prepared for the lawn to look a mess till grass grows.
    It could of course be some insect/slugs/worms.
    K
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  4. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Do you have June bugs in the spring? http://www.bugfacts.net/june-bug.php
    They lay their eggs in the soil, then the grub burrows under ground eating grass roots causing the grass to die, usually in spots like you have, before pupating into June bugs in late Winter/early Spring and coming out of the ground for the mating and laying of eggs again.. The bugs lay eggs in full sun yards with moisture, since you neighbors might not be watering and you are then they are more attracted to your lawn.
    Heterorhabditis bacteriophora nematodes are the organic way to control grubs. They can be ordered on-line, you water the yard really well, apply the nematodes then immediately water really well again. They are tiny worms and will need the soil to be moist in order to dig their way down to the slugs. You can also call a reputable lawn care service to have them spray with chemicals.
     
  5. kate

    kate In Flower

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    Sounds good Toni.
    I am having a company called Greenthumb to remove the thatch I have this Autumn.
    K
     



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  6. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    What are you seeding with ? Many of the lawn seeds you buy are not right for all areas. Some can not tolerate the heat.
     
  7. Paige

    Paige New Seed

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    Thanks for the replies. I have seen a few June bugs around here and some grubs when gardening, but nothing major. We've had Trugreen doing our seeding, I believe they used tall fescue. They've also done our aeration the past two years, which I thought would have helped control thatch?

    Whatever the cause, what stumps me is how it goes back to green and thick in the spring and fall, which tells me the grass isn't actually getting killed. It just seems to really, REALLY suffer during the heat. It's mowed every 10 days and not too low.

    On a separate note, how do we get rid of all these dang mushrooms? Other than knocking them over with my foot every few days!
     
  8. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    Fescue is a cool season grass which is why you are having problems. For an all season lawn,, see if anyone you know has bermuda grass. If so ask if they will let you get some runners and place the runners in the worst areas . Water well and soon they will spread, Bermuda takes heat well with a minimum of water and that will give you cover till the fescue comes back in fall.
    Mushrooms do not hurt anything so I just leave mine alone. I like to watch them grow.
     
  9. Paige

    Paige New Seed

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    Will the fescue and Bermuda live together without one taking over? A couple of our neighbors have all Bermuda lawns, which are nice in the summer but then totally brown in winter, so it's the same kind of problem just in a different season.
     
  10. Ronni

    Ronni Young Pine

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    Here are the mushrooms my daughter mentioned...those suckers are BIG!! I should have put something beside the close ups so you have a scale. Think salad plate size though of the biggest..that'll give you an idea.

    Also a closer view of the grass.

    And as I've been reading, I've been wondering. At first I figured it just needed to be watered more. Y'know, because this is Tennessee and it gets blazing hot and humid here!! High 90's weeks on end, so humid you can't breathe, hot hot hot! But I'm looking out my 2nd floor window right now and I can see a half dozen back yards. They are all, one for one, much greener than Paige's yard, and I NEVER see sprinklers out there...not in the back yards anyway.

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    [​IMG]

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  11. Paige

    Paige New Seed

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    It doesn't surprise me so much that the back yards are greener than ours, because most of them are weed lawns as the homeowners never put down seed or sod. But the front yards all began as sod from the builder, and while some are weedy now, most of them are still thick green grass even in summer while ours is ugly, patchy, and brown.
     
  12. kate

    kate In Flower

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    Wow what big Mushrooms!
    We get fungi if it's too damp but very small one which I remove.
    K
     
  13. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Paige, bermuda will take over--fescue can't fight it off. Why not have a dormant lawn in the winter? Most plants need a rest, which is called "dormant". Frankly, here in central Texas we look forward to the time when we don't have to mow weekly!

    The mushrooms may be an indication that there are old tree roots rotting underground. Each time we have a tree taken out, mushrooms show up about a year to 18 months later when the roots rot. Mushrooms won't harm you, the children, nor the pets as long as they don't eat them, and probably do no harm even if they DO eat them (but don't experiment!).

    What kind of fertilizer is the company applying? There are fertilizers that are nitrogen heavy and give a quick boost to green plants, and then there are the types that improve the soil.

    Perhaps if you start applying twice a year applications of 2" to 4" of compost to the yard, cut back on the weed killer, and let your lawn grass go dormant in the appropriate season, you'll be happier with your yard.
     
  14. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Believe it or not there are some weeds that thrive on and put out their best growth after having been treated with weed killers.....the more you put on the ground the better they grow. So definitely cut back on the weed killer until you have a positive identification.
    The recommendation Jane gave of more mulch, less weed killer and letting nature take it's course about dormancy the better off you and your lawn will be.
    People fight the natural course of things too much. The only perfect year round green lawn comes in a spray can from either Rust-oleum or Krylon.
     
  15. Sherry8

    Sherry8 I Love Birds!

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    We use corn gluten on our lawn (natural) and we just had 2 neighbors ask what we use because our grass is so green. We also use milorganite in between applications. They use a company that comes and spray their lawns and they look pretty brown and sick. We do have weeds but I would rather look at green clover than brown areas. I hope you can get some help on the type of lawn you want. It can happen if you can find the right applications for your area.
     

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