Lawn going dormant already?

Cool season grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue & Rye
Topic Author
Jeff_MI84
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:36 pm
Location: Livonia, MI
Grass Type: Fescue/ KBG
Lawn Size: 190yd front 270yback
Mower: Toro 22” Recycler

Lawn going dormant already?

Post by Jeff_MI84 »

I’ve noticed over the past week or so that some area of my front lawn is paler in comparison to other parts of the grass. Slight browning in other spots. The grass does not easily pull out either. I had winter slow release fertilizer put down anout a week ago. Do I have anything to worry about or is this normal?
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Green
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Location: CT (Zone 6B)
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Re: Lawn going dormant already?

Post by Green »

Mine has been doing the same for at least a month. We figured out on here that I likely did not fertilize properly this past year (specifically with Potassium, which was low on the soil test level), and so the cold tolerance isn't as good as it could be now as a result. And the lawn was weakened from Rust disease, too...something that might not have been as severe with the proper fertilizer this past year. It's too late now, but I know what to do next Spring...apply Potassium fertilizer early and often.

Maybe take a look at your soil test and see if anything is lacking, like Potassium or Calcium.
Front: Northern mix - mostly TTTF, KBG, TTPR. Back: Firecracker and Bullseye TTTF with America, Rugby 2, Bewitched KBG. Upper Side: Mostly TTPR, KBG. Lower Side: similar to front. Low-input: TF/FF, KBG, PR. Always seeding somewhere or fighting Triv.

Chris LI
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Re: Lawn going dormant already?

Post by Chris LI »

Jeff,

There's not much you can do at this time; just ride it out. You definitely have some fungal activity going on there. I'm not sure on the ID, though. Hopefully, the winterizer will help with recovery before it goes dormant. I've gotten whacked by Rust the last two years in early Fall, in a couple of areas. Specifically, one or more of my Bewitched mini-renos, seem to be the most susceptible. I don't use fungicides, so I fertilize for recovery and ride it out, too.

Green
Posts: 5607
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:27 am
Location: CT (Zone 6B)
Grass Type: KBG, TTTF, TTPR, FF-diff mixes
Lawn Size: 15K
Mower: Toro 22", MTD 21", Fiskars 18"

Re: Lawn going dormant already?

Post by Green »

By the way, the slow release formula winterizer is likely late if it was a week ago (assuming it's not Isobutylene diurea--IBDU). I hesitate to say too late as it'll probably have some effect. But still late. I did mine in late October (my first year trying a slow release winterizer as an experiment, so the application date is subject to change slightly if it doesn't work as well as expected).

Slow release winterizer applications (which are really a single application spoon feeding simulation) are really a very new thing though, so we have to learn and experiment and see what happens. The science is just now starting to talk about such ideas. Lawncare companies love them because of fertilizer laws dictating slow release Nitrogen, and have been doing them long before there was much scientific evidence for spoon-feeding home lawns in the Fall. It also gives them more wiggle room than fast-release applications to get everyone done in time. But certain formulas may be wasteful if applied too late in the season. If a compromise formula (that is affordable but requires certain temperatures or moisture) is applied too late, it may mostly just sit there until Spring. And then if the lawn is fertilized again in early to mid Spring, it could get a double dose and be overloaded.
Front: Northern mix - mostly TTTF, KBG, TTPR. Back: Firecracker and Bullseye TTTF with America, Rugby 2, Bewitched KBG. Upper Side: Mostly TTPR, KBG. Lower Side: similar to front. Low-input: TF/FF, KBG, PR. Always seeding somewhere or fighting Triv.

Topic Author
Jeff_MI84
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:36 pm
Location: Livonia, MI
Grass Type: Fescue/ KBG
Lawn Size: 190yd front 270yback
Mower: Toro 22” Recycler

Re: Lawn going dormant already?

Post by Jeff_MI84 »

32-0-3 20% Polyplus MOP 1Fe and T-Zone SE
Triclopyr, Sulfentrazone, 2, 4-D, and Dicamba are what was used during the last application. Looking at my service history, last year the fertilizer company did the winter application on 11/24 last year.

Last week the weather was still a bit mild. In Michigan the weather had been above freezing, no precipitation for a while then it has been cold and wet. I trust the company I use, as they are the highest rated in the area and they went to a well known program at Michigan State. That and I’ve never had streaks or fertilizer burn.

Topic Author
Jeff_MI84
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:36 pm
Location: Livonia, MI
Grass Type: Fescue/ KBG
Lawn Size: 190yd front 270yback
Mower: Toro 22” Recycler

Re: Lawn going dormant already?

Post by Jeff_MI84 »

Chris LI wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:53 pm
Jeff,

There's not much you can do at this time; just ride it out. You definitely have some fungal activity going on there. I'm not sure on the ID, though. Hopefully, the winterizer will help with recovery before it goes dormant. I've gotten whacked by Rust the last two years in early Fall, in a couple of areas. Specifically, one or more of my Bewitched mini-renos, seem to be the most susceptible. I don't use fungicides, so I fertilize for recovery and ride it out, too.
Seeing as how it is too late in the year to put down fungicide, when should it be done next year? Should it be done weeks before over seeding? At the same time or after the pre-emergent? I plan on aerating and over seeding, presumably in early April when it warms up enough. I am going to call my fertilizing company today, to get them to come out and identify exactly what type of Z‘s or fungus it is, so I can discuss a plan to get it taken care of as soon as possible next year. Even going to ask to get a soil test done as well. Looking at my billing statements, they come on average every 5 to 6 weeks. How often do you put down fertilizer or urea? I’m going to talk about having Urea done next season.

Chris LI
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Re: Lawn going dormant already?

Post by Chris LI »

First, (as you are planning to do) it's best to ID the pest (specific fungus, insect, weed, etc.) and when they tend to occur (timing/conditions), so you know your enemy. Then you can time your preventative applications. If this is confirmed as fungus damage and it was the first damage of the season, then you may only need to to a preventative app early next fall. There are some folks on TLF who are great at IDing fungus. If you get any responses in this thread, I would repost it as a fungus ID help request. I can't tell by the lesions what is affecting the turf, and I don't see a Rust color, but that is what typically appears in my area during early-mid fall. We tend to have a lot of moisture this time of year which promotes fungus. Did you have similar conditions?

For a fertilizer service, they usually use their own spray cocktail which typically has urea. If they are doing granular fertilizer apps, you might be able to get them to put down 46-0-0, but you will pay a lot for labor, if you want them to come weekly or bi-weekly (which is what you need to do with straight urea for light, frequent apps), because it's all fast release (100% water soluble) which needs to be watered in within a day or so. For granular fertilizers, they probably use a product with a lot of fast release N (urea or ammonium sulfate), but probably has some slow release mixed in. It might be easiest to have them squeeze in an extra app or two in the fall, by having them come every 3-4 weeks instead of 5-6 weeks. Remember, they're out there to run a business and make money. They make money on both the labor and markup on the products (a lot). If you have "special" or "boutique" requests that don't fit in their plan, they might accommodate you at a significantly higher price, or say they're not interested. Unless you are adverse to doing the apps yourself, that is probably the best way to go, if you want to do the aggressive fall N program. It costs me around $2 and 15-20 minutes to weigh, apply and clean up for each urea app for my roughly 5,000 sq feet. There is a lot of info to search for urea on TLF.

Topic Author
Jeff_MI84
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:36 pm
Location: Livonia, MI
Grass Type: Fescue/ KBG
Lawn Size: 190yd front 270yback
Mower: Toro 22” Recycler

Re: Lawn going dormant already?

Post by Jeff_MI84 »

Thank you for the long response.I have already identified powdery mildew in a small area, on the side of my house that is actually right close to the brick. That is one thing I’m already looking into.

Being the type of person who tends to notice things all of the time, I had not seen any type of fungal looking issues that resemble us anytime route the year. In fact, since I have had sod installed in the front yard last year, I had yet to encounter this problem. The second to last time I cut the grass was on November 7. It looked like this.

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The last time I cut the grass, was on November 12. The sun was starting to come down, so I couldn’t get a clear enough picture, but I did not really notice anything out of the ordinary then.

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The weather has been pretty crazy lately. I think we had snow one day, and then a few days later it warmed back up to the 60s, and then back down again. Followed by constant periods of cold rainy days. The area I am talking about, so much resembles lawns that are not really taken care of, I.e. seldom fertilized or watered, when they brown out. The new grass from the fall overseeding looks okay.

So pretty much if it is a fungus, since top growth has ceased, should I do nothing for the rest of the year? Will any disease go dormant then just reappear again? How does that work?

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g-man
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Re: Lawn going dormant already?

Post by g-man »

Green wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:11 pm
Slow release winterizer applications (which are really a single application spoon feeding simulation) are really a very new thing though, so we have to learn and experiment and see what happens. The science is just now starting to talk about such ideas.
What science is talking about this?

Green
Posts: 5607
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:27 am
Location: CT (Zone 6B)
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Re: Lawn going dormant already?

Post by Green »

g-man wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 3:33 pm
What science is talking about this?
You're not going to find tons of references, but the idea is out there being discussed and tested to some degree and there are occasional mentions by PhD turf people about utilizing controlled release products in lieu of spoonfeeding in early and mid Fall. For example, this one partway down this excerpt:

"'Physiologically, (fall) is one of those times that a plant is sort of in the sweet spot because the weather conditions are optimal for the plant to be most efficient with those nutrients', notes Cale Bigelow, Ph.D., professor of agronomy at Purdue University.

Frank prefers a strategy of spoon feeding throughout the fall months or fertilizing earlier on fairways and roughs instead of applying fertilizer at the end of the season. However, Bigelow notes the benefits of late fall (Oct. 15-Nov. 15) fertilization.

'That’s important because it affects your source of nutrients,' he says. 'In the fall fertilization, you might be using slow-release nitrogen, while in late fall, it’s quick-release or water soluble.'

Bigelow says he sees more superintendents playing around with water-soluble nitrogen and applying it as a liquid. According to Frank, one of the biggest changes he’s seen in the last 20 years or so is moving up the application of fertilizer to September or October or spoon feeding throughout the fall.
"


Source: https://www.golfdom.com/experts-insight ... on-frenzy/

Obviously, the later it gets, higher is the ratio of water soluble N they recommend in a blend. I wouldn't be surprised if the Polymer coated urea that gets applied by lawncare companies in November is just sitting until March. But the point of my mentioning this whole topic was to point out that slow release N, if done early enough to work, as Bigelow points out, can be used instead of spoon feeding, and also the idea of "moving up" the old late Fall application by a month or so, which Frank mentions above.
Front: Northern mix - mostly TTTF, KBG, TTPR. Back: Firecracker and Bullseye TTTF with America, Rugby 2, Bewitched KBG. Upper Side: Mostly TTPR, KBG. Lower Side: similar to front. Low-input: TF/FF, KBG, PR. Always seeding somewhere or fighting Triv.

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