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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have some small patches of my backyard that I have noticed that are turning grey, same color as grey hair.

I thought it would be some type of worm, but I tried pulling up some grass and the turf seems strong. My watering practice haven't changed, it maybe I over watered.

I'm stumped.
 

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Could be a fungus, water deficit or insect. BAF mentioned today that he discovered army worms in his bermuda. Army worms eat the green leaves and don't harm the roots, so the grass wouldn't pull up. Try to get some overview and close-up pics tomorrow to see if someone can help you identity the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Spammage said:
Could be a fungus, water deficit or insect. BAF mentioned today that he discovered army worms in his bermuda. Army worms eat the green leaves and don't harm the roots, so the grass wouldn't pull up. Try to get some overview and close-up pics tomorrow to see if someone can help you identity the problem.
Will do first thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry the pictures aren't in a brighter detail. I did a heavy watering yesterday morning and last night is when i noticed the grey spots in the backyard.

When I took this picture I noticed they are greening up a bit. Now, it could be that there is still dew on the grass which is causing the spots to be a darker color, or that its early a.m. regardless, I'll check when I get home from work early and if there are still the same shade of grey as yesterday evening, I'll post a other picture. But from what I see now, it could be due to a lack of water. Which is strange, but I'll measure the amount of water I'm putting out and adjust my times.

I'll update later.





 

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It almost looks like drought stress. It's hard for me to see in the pictures, but are those blades rolled up? If so, you would be seeing the blueish-gray color on the bottom of the grass blades. Bermuda will do that as a defense mechanism. If so, it could be some localized dry spot, or something underground in that spot. Just a guess though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ware said:
It almost looks like drought stress. It's hard for me to see in the pictures, but are those blades rolled up? If so, you would be seeing the blueish-gray color on the bottom of the grass blades. Bermuda will do that as a defense mechanism. If so, it could be some localized dry spot, or something underground in that spot. Just a guess though.
I believe your right. It looks like a bluish grey while I am crouching down looking at it from an angle. Here is a better picture in sunlight that my wife sent me a few minutes ago to maybe add mpre confirmation:





Would tbis call for shampooing the lawn to curve the localized dry spot? Or simply hand water that area early a.m? I know there are better options than shampooing. But i have plenty of baby shampoo on hand.
 

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You could definitely do both. And I would probe around with a screwdriver in that area to see if there is a large rock or something underneath causing the spot to dry out faster.

It's still hard for me to tell, but you could have her break a few blades off and look at the ends - they would be curled up in a "u" or straw shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I had her do the screwdriver test and we have rocks under the grey areas scattered throughout the yard about 1-2 inches below the grass.

I'll perform the test throughout the yard when I am home, but from what my wife has told me, we will be doing some digging as he has already tested 11 different areas that look suspicious. Which is disappointing as we had the entire backyard replaced 2 months after we moved in because the sod farm kept our grass in 95+ degree temps for nearly 3 weeks on our driveway during the end stages of construction. We watered and cared for it properly after per their instructions, however, the grass came up like pancakes while we were doing landscaping months later..

Could it be that they did not remove the rocks or neglected any other aspect of installation? I don't mind doing the work to fix it, but if they failed to clear any construction debris, or rocks that are that close to the surface. it just seems as if they would be able to see the rock before laying the sod down.
 

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I had the same thing when I bought my house. Moved in during October and all was great until the following July when spots started to show up. Screwdriver revealed concrete chunks (heaviest was about 170lbs) within inches of the surface. They probably weren't visible to the guys that laid the sod, but kept the grass from rooting properly and probably kept the root zone hotter than it should have been.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Spammage said:
I had the same thing when I bought my house. Moved in during October and all was great until the following July when spots started to show up. Screwdriver revealed concrete chunks (heaviest was about 170lbs) within inches of the surface. They probably weren't visible to the guys that laid the sod, but kept the grass from rooting properly and probably kept the root zone hotter than it should have been.
170lbs? Jeez that's making me nervous.

I'm not at home to check, but could thin spots in the lawn be areas of concern to this matter? She said that some of the grey areas are by thin spots in the lawn.
 

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I wasn't trying to make you nervous, just pointing out that a builder crew will bury just about anything to keep them from having to haul it off. The sod installers get blamed for a lot, but ask yourself - if you were paid to drop sod, would you check under the surface? If you found something and pointed it out, you probably wouldn't have the topsoil to fill the hole and then you would have to haul whatever you dug up away at no charge. They probably have learned "best to let sleeping dogs lie".

The thin areas could be from buried debris, compaction, or a multitude of other reasons. Keep in mind that you are still speculating that debris is the issue -- and it might be the easiest problem to solve. A soil borne fungus eating at the roots of the grass or compaction can initially cause the same symptoms you are seeing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Spammage said:
I wasn't trying to make you nervous, just pointing out that a builder crew will bury just about anything to keep them from having to haul it off. The sod installers get blamed for a lot, but ask yourself - if you were paid to drop sod, would you check under the surface? If you found something and pointed it out, you probably wouldn't have the topsoil to fill the hole and then you would have to haul whatever you dug up away at no charge. They probably have learned "best to let sleeping dogs lie".

The thin areas could be from buried debris, compaction, or a multitude of other reasons. Keep in mind that you are still speculating that debris is the issue -- and it might be the easiest problem to solve. A soil borne fungus eating at the roots of the grass or compaction can initially cause the same symptoms you are seeing.
I was just joshing about the poundage. If it's something like that, then I'll deal with it as it comes.

You're right, my mind is on the debris causing these issues, but I won't really know until I get my hands dirty. Thanks for putting that into perspective.

What is the best method of extracting the rock to minimize healing? I'm assuming the best time to dig would be now while it's hot so the grass has a chance to heal? Also, the goal would cut it so I could put the grass back in the same way it came out. What would be post-care protocol is need to do (extra watering, etc) if any?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bringing up an old post of mine to get your thoughts.

I've been looking up alternative ways to address this issue rather than digging up the rocks below and damaging the grass. Would hand aerating the areas with a spading fork and then top-dressing the area? Would this be in anyway beneficial in solving the issue of grass burn out from the rocks below?
 
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