problem with our soil?

Asked April 1, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT

We've had a problem the past few years in our back yard. Our grass has been slowly dying from one edge, heading across the yard in a line. Could we have bugs or a fungus in the soil? Do you test soil samples?

El Paso County Colorado horticulture soil and fertility issues

2 Responses

If this has been happening over the years, it's unlikely that it is insects or disease. In my 25+ years of experience diagnosing lawn problems, the symptoms/scenario you describe sounds like an irrigation coverage problem to me (irrigation deficiency over a couple of year's time). You can't really (in most cases) determine poor irrigation coverage simply by watching the system while it is running. It looks like water is "going everywhere". The problem is that it isn't going "everywhere" in a uniform fashion.

Conduct an informal irrigation audit of your system as follows:
1. Place identical containers (plastic drinking cups, empty yogurt containers, cat food cans, tupperware, etc.) in your lawn - 4 or 5 in the trouble area and 4-5 in turf that still looks good.
2. Let your irrigation system run through a normal watering cycle.
3. Measure the depth of water in the containers, to get an averaged depth for "good turf" and "poor turf".
4. Even small differences - only 0.1 - indicate a potential irrigation coverage problem. (That small difference is magnified when you consider how many times the irrigation system runs over a 2-3 year period).

You could also check with your water provider, many of which in Colorado provide free irrigation audit services to home gardeners.

Finally, if you would like, please send/attach a photo (wide-angle - preferably from a deck or 2nd story window, if possible) of the affected lawn. The wider angle, the better. Send the photo in this system. Or, you can send to my email address:
tony.koski@colostate.edu

Thanks,
Tony

Tony,

Thanks so much for answering my question - you were completely correct! Our sprinkler coverage is terrible. Now that the grass has already died, we decided to re landscape this part of our yard and not replace the grass.

Again, thank you!