How To Fix/Repair Rock Salt Burned Yellow Lawn!?

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Hello All,
This question I am asking is not a problem that I have, but a problem that I am trying to help someone with. I have an eldery 85 year old neighbor, that I am trying to help out.
Here is the problem. Last year he says he spent $4,000 to have all brand new "Kentucky Bluegrass" sod installed on his front yard.
In the winter, the neighbors next to him dumped piles of rock salt/ice melter all over their driveway everytime there was a snowstorm, and when they shoveled their driveway, and threw the snow up onto the edge of his yard, all the rock salt landed on his grass, and now he has BIG Yellow patches of grass, all on the side of his yard.
I feel really bad for the eldery gentleman, who lives alone, and never has anyone to come over to help him out, and I want to try to help him fix it. HE doesn't think that it can be fixed, because the rock salt/ice melt is now mixed in with the soil.
What about adding some topsoil as a "topdressing", and then new seed? I have a bag of "Organic Topsoil", I could give him? Would that "Scotts Patchmaster" stuff work? Or that new "Scotts EZ Seed" I keep seeing commercials for?
I also have a bag of "Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss". Should I try spreading some "Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss" on it for him??
What would be the best way to neutralize the soil of all the rock salt, and revive the lawn, to turn the Yellow spots Green again?
ANY info. will greatly be appreciated!
Thanks!
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Water a lot to help flush the salt out. Top dressing with compost afterward won't hurt.
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I think he should just bring in some good sized gravel and create a shoulder. If you add "top dressing" once any plant starts to get established the roots will go down into the salt.
I ASSuming the property line is at the paved edge of the driveway. If it isn't, it's the neighbor's problem. Insofar it extends into his property he can install the gravel strip. The gravel will prevent serious erosion, doesn't look all that bad, etc. Some edging will separate the "good" parts of his lawn from the gravel strip.
In the fullness of time, rain on the gravel will wash the salt down.
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MICHELLE H. wrote:

Snow piled up deeply on the grass might do as much damage as the salt. I would water it well....probably has rained enough to get rid of most of the salt. The folks who did the sodding should be able to recommend same type of seed to repair dead areas...mebbe they'd even do it for him. Call them and ask about treating the soil ... I would be very leery of any "special product" they might try to sell. If seed is raked in among the dead grass and watered well, the dead grass will help retain moisture and keep the seed in place. Gotta water lightly every day or two.
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On Tue, 01 Jun 2010 13:59:45 -0400, " snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net"
Not from my experience in Saranac Lake, NY. Snow melted the 3rd week of June. Summer was on the 4th of July.
Fishing in August, you might need a flannel shirt...
The pilots landing planes had "clickers" that turned on the runway lights.
Snow nervier hurt my lawn.
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My grand parents used to live in Saranac Lake. Somehow, they had grass in the summer. If you could see the grass, for the black flies.
--
Christopher A. Young
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On Wed, 2 Jun 2010 08:18:40 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

BTDT. Bloody and stinging ears to prove it :/
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Oren wrote:

Sooo....if your house has never been hit by lightening, it that fact proof that it doesn't happen to another?
Grass can be damaged by long-term or heavy snow cover. Here's a little bit about it:
http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/landscap/pp950w.htm
Some suggestions have really been in the "overkill" range. Salt is water soluble. If the soil drains well enough to grow Kentucky Blue Grass, it very likely drains well enough to wash away salt with normal rainfall and/or a little more watering. Overdoing the watering might keep it too wet and damage it further. Depending on how long the yellowing has been going on, the grass may still be surviving. I would at least talk to the guy who did the sodding and also to the next neighbors in hopes of keeping the gentleman from having his lawn damaged more. Nice that the man has somebody looking out for him.
We have had our southern lawn under salt water for several days, with no damage at all. Storm surge, hurricane in G. of Mexico. It gets watered all the time with reclaimed water that has a little salt in it.
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote: ...

_Major_ difference between grass types and the concentration of salt in sea water is the primary difference there.
As you say (and I said earlier) if it's only yellow it hasn't been killed so in all likelihood it will eventually come back w/ time and dilution. It would be hard to hurt KY blue w/ excess watering unless flooded it entirely and let it stand during warm weather.
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Nothing there about "long term or heavy snow cover". A bit about snow mold-- and how it occurs mostly when it snows before the ground is frozen. Ever been to Saranac Lake? I'd be willing to bet there is no winter on record there in which the ground wasn't well frozen. [More likely that it was still frozen in July in places.]

I'm with you here, though. I use abundant amounts of salt on my sloping driveway. Never noticed any grass dying near it. Some grasses prefer salty soil.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

I'm over The Pond and weather conditions may differ. I'm with all those who suggest extensive irrigation. Sodium chloride is the same the world over. I've experienced salt burn of grass due to draining boats on lawns. Regular application of water allowed the grass to grow back over the season.
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Clot wrote:

Why do we keep talking about Saranac Lake? I wouldn't go anywhere that gets that much snow :o) Sodium chloride isn't necessarily the only problem. Fertilizer or dog urine can burn grass, but usually only if it is already stressed....we get thirsty if we take in too much salt without enough water. Plants do the same....give enough water and aok. The poor old man spent $4000 on his grass...it's a shame to add to the problem or make a lot of unneeded work with bad advice. As I said, the salt will most likely wash away if the soil has decent drainage. Digging up the damaged area may be a whole lot more work than is needed. I consider the people who laid the sod to be probably the best resource for info.
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

Where the heck is that? :)
Sodium chloride isn't necessarily the

Noted, we also used to have dogs that were too generous to the lawn that again irrigating would help to mitigate; that I think is as much to do with sodium as an excess of N.
The poor old man spent $4000 on his grass...it's a

Agreed.
As I said, the salt will most likely wash away if the soil

He might be concerned that the contractors would see $$s and the kindly neighbour might also be concerned about that.
Generous but not excessive applications of water should resolve.
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Saranac Lake is in the Adirondacks NYS. For being in the mountains the annual snow isn't that much.
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On Jun 1, 12:04pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

Mike's advice is good. In addition, it might be prudent for the gentleman to install a nice crap blocking fence along his affected property line with the thoughtless neighbors. Cost would be a few hundred $$ and cheap insurance against a ruined lawn. It would help to make the barrier as high as legal for code compliance, thus making it a real effort to throw slush over the top. FWIW, in a few years the clueless neighbor's driveway will be a mess of spalling concrete with continuous salt treatment. His house entryways won't stand up to the abuse very well either.
Joe
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Thanks for all of the great advice so far. I will tell the guy to give his lawn ( especially the Yellow spots ) plenty of water.
To try to answer some of your questions, the Yellow sports are located about 2-3 feet inward from his neighbors driveway who piled the snow and rock salt on his yard, so yes, the Yellow spots are about 2 feet across his property line.
As far as him SUEING his neighbors? The problem with that is, the homeowners that threw the rock salt on the guys lawn, are long gone, because their house was foreclosed on a few months back, and put up for public auction, so right now the house is currently vacant, and who knows where the other neighbors moved to??
Plus, I don't think the guy would want to sue them. He is 85 years old, and keeps to himself. He never has anyone come over to visit him or help him, so I usually ask him if he wants help mowing his grass or raking his leaves or shoveling his snow, but he always refuses and wants to do it himself.
But when I talked to him yesterday, when I was wishing him a "Nice Memorial Day", he says that he doesn't know what to do or how to fix the "rock salt burnt grass".
I think that "Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss" may help neaturalize the soil, but I am not 100% positive about that??
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MICHELLE H. wrote: ...

No, won't do a thing for salt.
All that is possible to do other than removing the contaminated soil and replacing it w/ other is to water those areas _heavily_ to dilute it. If it hasn't actually killed the grass entirely, it's not too bad so a couple of years and it'll probably be pretty much gone.
Whatever you tell him, _don't_ suggest adding N-rich fertilizer that will only demand more water to keep from burning it up during hot weather...
Once it's there, it's there, and there's not a chemical treatment I'm aware of that will be beneficial other than, as noted, dilution.
I've seen claims that the products for dog spots will help; I'm not convinced but guess it probably wouldn't hurt anything, basically they're diluents anyway. The yellowing in those spots is basically from high N concentration rather than salt, but then again, on thinking as writing this, those are ureic salts so, just maybe...
Another I've heard that I don't have (and couldn't find any factual info to back it up) is a sugar solution. Certainly sugar has been shown to be beneficial in poor soils as a fertilization aid; again I don't see any reason that it would help other than dilution and a ready food source that isn't N-based for excess salinity. Have to ask the County Agent if he knows anything about that one next time I see him.
All in all, water and more water and time...
Oh, and there's no point in trying to reseed until the salt concentration is reduced -- if adult grass is being affected, certainly seed germination will be impaired and seedling survival will be poor at best. The bluegrasses and particularly KY blue are especially susceptible to salt, btw...
Not much help on cure, but some useful reading...
<http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/scene753b.html
Oh, there are anerobic bacteria that are halophiles that attach to salt and have been studied for use in areas that have high salinity or irrigate w/ water w/ high salt content. That's a big-time solution to a small problem for just treating some lawn spots...
--
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Correct. Salt will leach faster from sandy soils than clay soils.
If it were me, I would attach a portable sprinkler on a garden hose and water profusely at low speed.
OP! Nice of you to help your neighbor. I would not spend money for peat moss -- water the spots for now and then think about it ;)
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Re:
"dpb" wrote:
"The bluegrasses and particularly KY blue are especially susceptible to salt, btw...".
END -------------
Well, I guess that answers why he has big spots of bright Yellow grass all on the side of his yard now. Because when I asked the eldery guy what type of grass it was, he said that it was KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS!!!!!
He said that "when the snow melted, there was PILES of rock salt piled up on his lawn", thats how much rock salt his previous neighbors threw down in their driveway.
The must have knew that their house was in foreclosure, and they were getting kicked out, so they probably said "who gives a damn!", and just dumped out entire bags of salt everywhere!?
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MICHELLE H. wrote: ...

If it had been that much it wouldn't just be yellow it'd be dead and brown. Sounds like they just pile the snow itself containing the salt in large pile so it concentrated it.
It'll heal in time w/ enough water; depending on locale and water rates it may be cheaper to have it resodded, removing a few inches of topsoil in the affected area. If it's such a problem as to make it worth it, that's the only immediate fix as somebody else noted also.
--


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