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Old 05-02-2019, 10:42 AM
 
Location: KY
579 posts, read 193,297 times
Reputation: 1391

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When we moved in to our present home in the Winter of 2015, when Spring finally came I saw that our lawns were a mess with weeds, ground covers and "Creeping Charlie".

So in the Fall of 2015 I did a major tilling up, fertilizing, and seeding of our front, back and side yards with fine lawn Fescue. In May of 2016, I had some new lawns that I was very proud of, as the front lawn pic indicates. In August of 2016 during a dry spell, I could see our lawns could use some watering.

While recalling the high water bills of getting my new grass started back in 2015, I was dreading using city water on our grass. Because the sewer fees for using the water in my town is a LOT higher, than the price of water.

So while reluctantly unrolling the garden hose, I just happened to look over at the storm water drainage ditch, that runs between our home and our neighbors. (in the pic)

Wow, it had decent looking water running through it that was running daily to the local river. So why not use FREE water I thought to myself ? So I get out my Wayne transfer pump and make a suction pipe for it and I pump water from the storm water drain ditch and water all our lawns well with it.

I was just so pleased with myself, while watering our lawns with FREE water. And the rest of the story...is history...


Within a week, all of my fine fescue lawns were dying. And for the passed two Falls now since 2016, I have tilled, and re-seeded the worst areas and the grass seedlings will come up in the late Fall. But then after Winter passes and by the end of May, the new grass will all die and the weeds will then take over again.

So I know now probably the day that I was pumping the FREE water from the storm water drainage ditch, that I was pumping someone's serious weed/brush killer, motor oil, antifreeze, mosquito poison, SOMETHING... that literally wiped out our lawns.

So now with some background posted here, can anyone tell me if my lawns soil will EVER be able to grow healthy grass again ? All we have now on our lawns is weeds, wild ground covers, some Bermuda grass, and of course, Creeping Charlie again. Thanks,

Last edited by greglovesoldtrucks; 05-02-2019 at 01:50 PM..
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:51 AM
 
2,705 posts, read 931,793 times
Reputation: 3795
As the saying goes, that to will pass!

You should probably call you local cooperative extension to find out where you can obtain a mailer to send out soil samples to have them tested. The results can be read by individuals at a garden center, or you cooperative extension office who will tell you what’s necessary to add to the soil to grow grass.

Don’t think you should have to explain what happened regarding the watering, the soil analysis should speak for itself.
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Old 05-02-2019, 01:48 PM
 
Location: KY
579 posts, read 193,297 times
Reputation: 1391
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickcin View Post
As the saying goes, that to will pass!

You should probably call you local cooperative extension to find out where you can obtain a mailer to send out soil samples to have them tested. The results can be read by individuals at a garden center, or you cooperative extension office who will tell you what’s necessary to add to the soil to grow grass.

Don’t think you should have to explain what happened regarding the watering, the soil analysis should speak for itself.

Good info Rick. My wife told me that if I buy any more $2.00 a pound grass seed just to waste it this Fall, I had better save some of it and put it on my next sammich.

The next time I plan on driving by our local large landscape/nursery center, I'll stop in and ask them if they will do the soil test for me.

But I'll take your advice and not tell them about my "Free" water suspicions. I'll just wait and see if they can find something that should really not have been.... in my home's soil sample.


Thanks, Greg
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Old 05-02-2019, 03:05 PM
 
2,705 posts, read 931,793 times
Reputation: 3795
Quote:
Originally Posted by greglovesoldtrucks View Post
Good info Rick. My wife told me that if I buy any more $2.00 a pound grass seed just to waste it this Fall, I had better save some of it and put it on my next sammich.

The next time I plan on driving by our local large landscape/nursery center, I'll stop in and ask them if they will do the soil test for me.

But I'll take your advice and not tell them about my "Free" water suspicions. I'll just wait and see if they can find something that should really not have been.... in my home's soil sample.


Thanks, Greg
No problem!

When I wanted to get my soil tested prior to fertilizing here in SW Virginia, a local hardware store & nursery had the paperwork and soil sample bags and they get mailed out to Virginia Tech to be analyzed.

Not sure where you live, however, your probably aware that the best time to sow grass seed is in the fall.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:00 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
3,557 posts, read 1,380,459 times
Reputation: 7961
It's hard to believe you went from that lush, new carpet to that scraggly weed patch because you watered with run-off water. (Glad I checked those pictures yesterday. What happened to them? My pictures always get liquidated here too.)


A soli test will only tell you about mineral content. Nothing about herbicides, fungus or grubs, etc that could be ruining the grass. Grass is often the first to go in drought conditions, leaving the weeds more tolerant of drought to take over.


I once read that Diesel fuel spilled on the ground will prevent anything from ever growing on that spot again. The Creeping Charlie apparently never read that article. I once did spill some fuel on the lawn. Nothing grew there for a year--Then Charlie found the spot and flourished. NOTHING gets rid of Creeping Charlie....But at least the stuff is good for Bumble Bees.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:22 AM
 
Location: NC
7,200 posts, read 8,885,817 times
Reputation: 15199
Perhaps if you live in a snow and ice climate it was the road salt that was in the ditches. The solution to that pollution is dilution. Eventually the rains will wash it away or push it deeper into the soil beneath the grass roots.

Today all approved herbicides need to have a reasonably short soil life so they wii have broken down by now. I would go ahead and use a broadleaf specific herbicide to get rid of the non grasses. Then be sure your grass seed is right for your sunlight then water and fertilize and lime as needed.
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Old 05-04-2019, 08:24 AM
 
Location: KY
579 posts, read 193,297 times
Reputation: 1391
Good points added on here I see,......

I am not a pro gardener or landscaper, but I have a lot of experience that I have acquired over the passed 26 years while making nice lawns on every home that we have owned thus far. (4). The one we live in now is our last home that we will have, therefore my frustration. And it is the first home that we have owned, that I have gotten the lawns built up to my expectation's ...to just have them wiped out.

So while using my learned experiences on my previous homes lawns and also from while maintaining commercial properties for a living for many years, this incident has really fried my old brain. Because as it has been posted here now, any herbicides or even the standard toxic products used in homes, should eventually have been completely dissipated in to my lawns soil, after 2 years now.

My thinking has been that, even if the city had put something like "Brush Kill" upstream from me while spraying the storm water ditch (SWD) banks of vegetation (they maintain 3-4 ft. of it on either side of it, if the property owner will not)

OR, maybe even if a home owner upstream from us has ran their garage floor drain pipe to the SWD illegally ? And just by my bad timing, I was pumping from the SWD just as their toxic fluids or Brush Killer was in the water as I was pumping from it.

IF either of one of these above happened, there are 2 facts known to me, that confuse me as to how it could have happened. Because....

1. The water in the SWD was at the time of my pumping from it, flowing "fairly" well downstream passed our home. I recall this plainly, because I was careful to be sure that my 1/2 HP transfer pump, would not pump itself dry from lack of water. It is rated at 1270 GPH flow @ 15 Ft. of lift. I am not a mechanical engineer, so I will just "guesstimate" my pumps discharge rate with its 2ft. of lift from the SWD, so my pump probably had an approximate discharge rate of around 12- 15 gallons per minute.

So I put my transfer pump in the SWD water, at the deepest place I could find beside our home. ( pump location is shown of the SWD in the attached pic 1374KB) And this spot where I put my pump, was about 12 -18 inches deep and I watched as the water flowed well over my pump. All the time that I was irrigating (one hour), I never lost water flow from my pump, indicating a dry pump.

So IMO, the SWD's with its constant water flow was running "new" water in to my pump to discharge, as I was irrigating our lawns. Which to me, indicates there had to be a fresh water"dilution factor" that should have weakened anything toxic that had been either accidently or intentionally, put in to the SWD water.

2. IF the SWD water is being made toxic full time from some unknown source, then how does the "water crest" plants survive in it so well, that grow in the SWD upstream about 20 ft. ..from where I was pumping ? ( in the attached pic 1432 KB)

So I am fried mentally just thinking about HOW our fine lawns got killed from the SWD water (or now in summation here, maybe even another source ?)

So with the suggestions I have here now, I believe I will just order a soil test kit from Amazon. The one where one ships their soil sample in to the test company. Then, they test it and email the report back to the soils owner in "graphs" .

After I get my tests reports back, I am going to take a section of around 6 ft. square from the worst part of my back yard and till it down to 3 inches deep. Then, I will add whatever supplements to the tilled soil that my test reports show that it needs.

Then this Fall, I will lightly till the test area again, and put the same new grass seed in it, that made my first lawn restoration so nice (pic 448 KB) . Then, I'll straw it down and keep it damp. If this test area of new grass comes up this Fall well and then dies off by June of next year, then I will know my lawns are totally screwed forever.

And if this happens, I will just give up and let our lawns all go back to "nature" . As I do not have the physical capabilities at 67 y.o. any longer nor the funds with our fixed incomes now, to keep fighting this fine lawn "war".

And my wife and I will just be fascinated with whatever new "weed" or plant that pops up in our "let it go back to nature" lawns. I guess green is green after all, whether its plush grass or weed/ground covers. My wife and I just cannot stand having MUD though, anywhere in our lawns.

Thanks all for your input.... Greg

Last edited by greglovesoldtrucks; 05-05-2019 at 03:30 AM..
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Old 05-04-2019, 08:50 AM
 
1,688 posts, read 505,994 times
Reputation: 3962
Fescue has its strength,but weakness too.
It can do better in acidic soils, in wet soil, and in the shady lawns, but it is not tolerant of dry soils and not good for heavy traffic and blazing sun of the summer, requires frequent over seeding.

Your lawn was probably going into dormancy in the heat of August.( getting brown)
The worst thing you could do at that point is flood it with water- causes root rot as the roots are trying to “ sleep” - not enough of green leaf of grass to transpire all the water and cooks the roots in hot sun in the top inch of soil.
Your lawn look well drained and sunny- you may fair better with a combination of 30-40% Kentucky bluegrass,30-40% of perennial rye and and the rest of fine fescues combination .
Make sure the germination date on th label is within 6 month of overseeding- fresh seeds.
Do not buy anything with moisture control crystals or encapsulated seeds- scam to make you pay $10-13 per pound for a useless chemical vs the seeds you need.

Are you sure your seeds were not “contractors” mix with more than 50% of annual seeds?
The annual grass won’t come back the next year freaking people out and you end up with the lawn going from lush green( annual seeds sprout and vigorously growing within 4-5 days of seeding, where perennial seeds take more than 28days sometimes or even longer- up to 90days to break through dormancy and sprout all eventually) to brown like your lawn photos.
Get more fresh perennial turf seeds ad seed-your lawn again- you will be fine.

Oh, yeah- there no tests exists for testing chemical in lawn except highly specialized $300 per one chemical you are looking for in a research labs- the industry learned from tobacco lawsuits- if you don’t know it causes harm- then you are not liable. Don’t bother...

But get the $10 pH test done- you may need a lot of lime for KBG and rye to grow well.
You only can add 50-70lb of limestone per 1000 sqft of lawn at one time to raise it 0.5 point. More is not better.
You may need to lime spring and fall 2-3 years in a row- depending on results ( look at buffering capacity of soil test), but after that lime in the soil should last for 15-20 years...

Last edited by Nik4me; 05-04-2019 at 09:10 AM..
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Old 05-04-2019, 08:57 AM
 
12,039 posts, read 17,072,342 times
Reputation: 13640
You have several options;
1. storm drain water should be same water that falls from the sky, so it can't possibly kill your lawn.
2. I have seen fresh sodded lawns looking perfect turn into burnt out desert in a year or 2 after.
3. if it's not the storm (read - rai) water, then it's your lawn soil
4. if it's storm water, it is contaminated. Depending on from how far away that water runs, it WILL pick up any seed possible along the way and surely enough, all the noxious weeds love to vegitate on free water run banks. So here you have it - you hydroseeded weeds and they gladly took over.
5. storm water is contaminated with something else from up the stream, so it needs to be tested by EPA agent. EPA is rather powerful in this country, so give them a buzz.

Of course, your last pic sucks, can't tell what exactly is wrong with the lawn - is it simply overtaken by weeds or is it burnt out to bare ground. If it's case number 1, you hydroseeded junk weeds from that water, so maybe install filter onto your pump. If it's case 2, it is contaminated with some harsh chemicals, so unleash EPA onto it.
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Old 05-04-2019, 09:24 AM
 
1,688 posts, read 505,994 times
Reputation: 3962
Agree, you need less time to take care of lawn and more time to enjoy the nature. I love how they cut only a pathway in a lawns in Europe, preserving habitat for insects- I think it looks very nice

https://www.thespruce.com/thmb/JFPAz...c34c09f83c.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/33/6a...78c1a42fad.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/33/6a...78c1a42fad.jpg
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