Soil testing

I think my yard has some type of fungus or dieses. I have a very large tree that has something on the leaves. Some type of fungus/discoloration. I have tried to lay sod 2 times, but each time it dies. First was centipede and the second was St Augustine. The backyard is mostly covered by the tree and the grass dies within a few weeks. The front is not covered, but it dies after a season. In the back I even tried spreading that seed mix that has everything including rye grass and that didn't even take. I had some real thin blade grass sprout then die.
I want to try a soil testing company, but it looks like they only test for PH and Nitrogen. Is there any that test for dieses as well ?
Thanks Jason
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Your problem could be related to pH. Extremes of high and low pH , too acid or alkaline, could cause plants to die.
I would not assume diseases at this point, but would start at the beginning with a pH test and tests for Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Sulfur, and Calcium. Most companies are able to do those basic tests. They will also interpret them and make some recommendations. You say "looks like they only do pH and N," have you talked with the company and asked? Most companies will do the whatever test you are willing to pay for. You will likely need to ask for the interpretation and possible solutions and be prepared to may more for advice.
Soil texture could also be a problem. Is the soil very sandy or clay? Perhaps you need to water more if its sandy. or less if clay. Maybe amendments such as organic matter would help. If you do water, is the water able to penetrate to the roots? Are there other plants in the area that are growing well?
Good luck Emilie NorCal
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Where are you at and do you know what kind of tree you have?
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On Sun, 18 Jan 2004 16:01:44 +0000, Jason Walter wrote:

Contact your county extension specialist for advice to see what is available in your area. Quite often it is possible to take samples to the hort department of a good university.
We're lucky here, we have the U of Wisconsin. The school has a turfgrass research facility.
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Esper K. Chandler is president of this company. He has won many awards for his work. He has studied with Elaine Ingham, http://www.soilfoodweb.com . You might check them out and give them an e-mail or fax and see what they can do. They've always diagnosed my clients right. http://www.txplant-soillab.com /
J
Jason Walter wrote:

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Most good soil labs will test for a huge range of diseases. But it is on a individual basis, expensive and not diagnostic in nature - you must ask them to test for specific disease. So you have to pretty much know what's wrong before you test for it - the test is more or less just a confirmation one way or the other.
The first thing I would do is contact the local extension office and have them recommend a soil pathologist - they could possibly have one on staff. You need someone who specializes in problem soils and diseases examine your yard and look closely at the soil. They will then be able to narrow down the problem considerably, resulting in perhaps only one or two tests to request.
I'm not convinced you have a soil disease. There are few, if any, diseases I am aware of that would cause both trees and turf to fail. It may be some other soil issue - poor drainage, lack of nutrients, chemical contamination, etc. A well trained soil specialist should be able to tell you.
Lack of light or insufficient watering may be all that's wrong with your lawn.
pam - gardengal
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OK. Thanks for the help. It seems the consensus here is that I most likely do not have a disease. I'' give a soil test a shot and see what happens. Thanks. jason

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This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------020506090608050100040508 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Jason: What kind of tree do you have? If it's a black walnut, it's likely to be the cause of your problem. The roots secrete a substance called juglone which is toxic to many plants. The leaves may be toxic too (not sure of that). There are some plants that can tolerate living with walnuts, but maybe grass isn't one of them. The other point about your tree, if it casts a really dense shade, whether or not it's a walnut, it could be just shading out the grass. Grass is meant to grow in the sun, not shade, and it is a waste of effort to try and have a lawn in dense shade. How about just mulching the whole area with wood chips, pine needles or something like that.? Think of the time and effort you'd save! As I used to tell the customers at the garden center who wanted to grow grass in shade, "'Mother Nature always has the last word"! Good luck.
Jason Walter wrote:

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