Fertilizer scorch, also unexplained mushy patches.

We relaid our lawn in April. It's hopelessly overshadowed by tall conifers (we're going to get them cut back this autumn but didn't manage it last autumn), but at least it had as good a soil as possible - large amount of composted manure dug in, and a full dose of organic fertilizer pellets (balanced). I'd have said that that ought to last it for months before it needed feeding again. It was somebody else's idea to deg it with chemical lawn fertilizer last week (some stuff called Aftercut, I forget the details but pretty strong). Well, it wasn't done evenly enough, and killed off several patches of the lawn. What's the best way to proceed?
How often do you really need to feed lawns, anyway? Before it was relaid we hardly ever used to get round to feeding ours, and the sunnier part thrived for several years until it got very compacted.
Before the fertilizer incident, the new lawn was growing fine. But it did keep getting these squishy, flattened brown patches about six inches across, for all the world as if somebody had ground it in with their foot. Never come across those before. Can anyone explain?
Many thanks.
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A. B.
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A B said:

What kind of turfgrass?

What kind of conifers? You do know that they don't grow like deciduous trees, right? You can't prune them the same way. Other than cutting out the deadwood, they don't really need pruning. If you "top" them, they'll look like a shrub forever. Where you remove limbs, they won't grow back.

Please explain what a "full dose" is, as well as the specific "organic fertilizer pellets".

It's not strong at all. It's 3-1-3 + 2% iron It's basically a waste of money. You get an immediate greenup from the iron, but the 3-1-3 is crap.

I doubt that's what killed off the several patches of lawn. You can put that crap out by hand. You'd have to have one helluva pile sit in one spot for quite a while for it to do any damage.

Totally depends on what kind of grass, as well as your location.

LOL So, instead of dealing with the compaction by aerifying and top-dressing, you replaced the lawn? When your car gets dirty, do you just go buy a new one?

Not without more information, and perhaps some photos posted online and linked here.
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Agree with all of the above. Especially the part about the Aftercut product most likely not being responsible. From the web, it's only 3-1-3, which you'd have to put down at one hell of a rate to get enough nitrogen to burn the lawn. Are you sure that's what was used and the only thing used?
It's also amazing how folks continue to ask for advice without stating what kind of grass or where they are located.
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Didn't say. Very cheap but growing well at the time. I did wonder whether it would last - the soil it was growing on was appalling, half clay half pebbles.

I know all that, yeah. We're getting it done professionally. (They seemed to think it was possible.)

Lakeland General-Purpose Organic Plant Food, 8-8-8. (Didn't have the box handy last time I posted.) I used 75g/sqm which is the maximum dose as specified on the box. The point is that it was supposed to last it longer than that.

Well, the grass died off the day after the fertilizer went on, in exactly the places where there was most fertilizer. Might have been a coincidence, but it's a pretty good one. Maybe it was the iron. Didn't use anything else at all.

OK, OK, we should have spiked it more often. (Not that it ever seemed to make much difference). But we didn't, and one side of it was slowly dying off anyway from too much shade. This year it had got to the point where there was hardly anything left, so it seemed easier to cut our losses and start again.

Can't help you there, I'm afraid. The above describes them exactly, and I can't take any pictures now because they were covered up by the other thing. They appeared any time, any weather, as far as I could tell. As regards location: Lancashire. Wet, basically.
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A B said:

"Professionally" can simply mean "they get paid for it". Are they certified arborists? And, of course they think it's possible. They want your money. ;)

Lakeland also makes a lawn food (which would have more appropriate NPK ratio for sod). Is there a reason you went with a balanced fertilizer? And, at those rates, I don't suspect it to be the culpret in the spots you have.
Apparently, the product is in time-release pellets, which are supposed to last 2 months.

2% iron wouldn't burn the grass, either. OTOH, if the manure wasn't composted properly/completely, it sure would.

"Spiking" is *NOT* aerifying. Unless those "spikes" were hollow, and pulled up a plug of sod/soil each time they plunged in. =)

Was the side that was "slowly dying off" close to the (as yet, not identified) conifers?

Have you had your soil tested? Before putting anything else down (organic or otherwize), that would be the first thing you should do.
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Another factor. Don;t know how things work over there, but here in the northeast USA, all the sod I've been involved with has been grown for sunny locations or at least locations that get a reasonable amount of sun each day. It's typically blue grass/tall fescue. That will not do well in shade. For shade, I've always used a true shade blend that has varieties like creeping fescue and gone with seed.
Agree with the spiking is not aerifying too. A real core aerator takes out plugs that are about 1/2" in diameter. That really opens the soil up, as opposed to spikes that just compress it more in the location next to the spike.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote: ...

that and unless you're getting decent sod it's thin and most people do not really prepare the underlayer enough, so after a short period of time it is depleted and starts getting patchy and weedy.
if you're going to sod, make sure to put the money into what the sod is going on top of too to a suitable depth...

on top of that if there is nothing but clay and pebbles and they are not putting any organic matter down in those holes afterwards it's not accomplishing much other than perhaps drying the hard/compacted soil out further.
after spiking they'd need to get some slow rotting organics raked in. or at least that is what i would make sure to do if i cared about growing grass.
but then again, i wouldn't... i find grass to be the worst kind of weed. :)
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