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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any of y'all use it? I'm not quite ready to spring for the cost of renting a core aerator. Truthfully, I haven't even priced it. But what about the whole baby shampoo thing? Anyone use it with good results?

I have an area of concern in my lawn, as the bermuda doesn't seem to want to grow there at all, and think that may be an issue. Still need to try a screwdriver test though.
 

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Shampoos and soil conditioners work. The level of how bad your soil is will determine what you do. To show you "proof" I helped a friend out and he used regular dish soap:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2D218IGQ_k&list=PLXlWmhRBoMXgoSntrGP_a_bQqQXf4wxLh

Now if you have it really bad you can use pro grade stuff but I like to mix up the best lawn soil conditioner. The ingredients are basically the same as the soaps, but at a higher level. I personally go this route and I started with being able to put a screwdriver in an inch and now can go the whole foot. It actually is impressive so I'm gonna keep doing it. Plus it's fun to have bubbles flying out of the hose end sprayer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0SmPEeH27Q
 

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I've tried baby shampoo a few times, but couldn't tell you if it made a diffrence because of my own inconsistency in application.

Some would argue there is no chemical that can duplicate the effects of a proper mechanical aeration of the soil.
 

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I have used the shampoo method. It's hard to say what effect it might have had. I feel that the soil was softer after the application and there might have been less runoff, but it's not like I conducted a formal experiment. I understand the logic behind using a surfactant, and going the shampoo route is cheap. So I don't think there is any harm in giving it a try to see if it improves your situation.

I agree with Red that a chemical is not going to aerate your soil the same way as a hollow tine aerator. Either way, soil compaction might not be your issue.

What do you think is causing the bare patch? Do you feel your soil is compacted in that area, or could their be something under the soil? How big of an area are you talking about?
 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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gijoe4500 said:
Its a pretty big patch. I'm not 100% sure what the issue is. The bermuda will grow there, but its SUPER spotty. Little bits here and there, but it won't ever full up. It looks gross because clover grew there over the winter, and i killed it.

You mentioned rocks in another thread...

gijoe4500 said:
Not in my yard, unfortunately. It is crazy rocky. Sometimes 1" below the soil, sometimes I get 2 or 3 inches before hitting a rock. But there is always a rock....
Could that be the issue here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
dfw_pilot said:
Try the screwdriver test - it's fast and cheap.
Just finished this up. None of the yard was "easy" to push the screwdriver into, but in the more lush, greener parts, I could get the screwdriver in full depth (about 6"). In the dead looking part, it felt and sounded like I was pushing through gravel. Hit full depth once, but was usually stopped around 3-4". I'm going to grab the shovel and dig dead center and see what I can come up with. Will post pictures so y'all can see how gross it is to dig through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Dug a hole, about 10" x 20" x 6" depth to see what I could find, smack in the middle of the dead patch.

Came across this little bug thing. Any clue what it is, and could it be causing the lack of bermuda growth?



This one shows the mix of rocky gravel stuff mixed into the dirt. Most of it starts about 3" below the surface.



Decent look at what I'm digging through. The whole yard is like this after you get through the top soil.



One of the bigger rocks in the bunch. Still not huge, but there were a few of them.



Grabbed a single big handle of the dirt and sifted out the soil, and this is what was left.

 

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The rocks could definitely be a factor. Typically a large rock is what stops growth, and if you keep digging up the area, you might find some. The smaller rocks shouldn't cause an issue if there is enough space between them, but if they are forming a layer it could certainly be your problem. One way to correct this would be to dig up the entire problem area and pull out as much of the rock as you are willing to deal with.

By digging it up, you should bust up the potential layer, and I'm thinking this should improve the situation. You will be aerating the soil at the same time, so you have to consider that a positive.

The worm that you found is commonly known as a grub worm. It's the larvae of a "June bug".



They will feed on grass roots, but typically aren't a problem unless you have a high population. I find them occasionally when taking soil samples or planting things in the flower beds. They have never caused me a problem, but I kill them for good measure any way. If you find that you have a lot of them living in the area, that could also be the issue. You can read more about this here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wes said:
The rocks could definitely be a factor. Typically a large rock is what stops growth, and if you keep digging up the area, you might find some. The smaller rocks shouldn't cause an issue if there is enough space between them, but if they are forming a layer it could certainly be your problem. One way to correct this would be to dig up the entire problem area and pull out as much of the rock as you are willing to deal with.

By digging it up, you should bust up the potential layer, and I'm thinking this should improve the situation. You will be aerating the soil at the same time, so you have to consider that a positive.
Looks like I may need to build a 1/4" screen box and dig up the entire 25sq/ft area. Would take way too long to pick them all out. Can just shovel onto the screen, wash the dirt through, then move over, and do it again. That'll have to wait a couple months though. Don't have the time or energy to do it right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Redtenchu said:
gijoe4500 said:
Don't have the time or energy to do it right now.
That sounds like a lot of work! You'll definitely need some soil to backfill the area after removing the rocks.
Definitely. But there really isn't any easy way to do it. Unless someone makes Celsius for rock?
 
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