Monday, April 11, 2011

Lawn Problems: Where do I start?

First, I would like to start out with the disclaimer: I AM NOT A TURF EXPERT, however, I have been asked to help with a few turf problems.  Many think they can just throw out some grass seed in their yard, and a lush, green, lawn will grow.   But sometimes, it's not that easy. 
Here is an example of one of the problems that I recently helped to solve.  This is a commercial site, where experts were called in to produce an estabishment of grass.  So, this is not your everyday lawn, however, the basical principles are the same here.  Finally, after 2 years of not getting the growth of grass that they wanted, they began to call as many experts as they could to try to get to the bottom of why they could not get a good establishment of grass. 

The very first question that I asked was if this site consisted of alot of clay, and their answer was, "Yes, there could be some clay there."  The next question that I asked was if they had a soil test.  Their answer was, "We just took soil samples."  I said that I did not want to go any further without seeing their soil test results.  It was too bad that they did not soil sample 2 years previously, when this grass was first planted, because I just found out that the soil tests revealed that they had soils with a pH of 8!  Turf grows best at a pH of 6 - 7.  They will now need to add sulfur to try to raise the pH. 

Here is a good website to help with site preparation in lawns-

Here is a list of soil testing labs in Illinois-

Here is a website that explains other problems in turf-

Here a factsheet on spring lawn care-

I really like this "oldie, but goodie" article by Sandy Mason-(fall is an ideal time to seed a lawn)

1 comment:

  1. Historians believe the word lawn comes from the Celtic “lan/llan/laun,” which means enclosure. It is thought that lawns began as grassed enclosures within early medieval settlements. Before lawn mowers were invented – or mowing machines, as they were first called – lawns were cut by scything and shearing, much as grazing pastures are sometimes cut today. This method was so labor intensive that only the very rich could afford to maintain lawns.


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