Thursday, December 15, 2016

What happens to ungerminated seed from fall 2016?

Since we basically had no rainfall from August through Thanksgiving, there was alot of seed that did not germinate. Irrigated lawns germinated very well, where coverage was good, if they followed our watering instructions. Unirrigated lawns that weren't manually watered daily, did not germinate. This is the 1st time I have seen this issue in 20 years of service. Research shows that if the seed wasn't watered and did not initiate germination, up to 90% of it will germinate in spring, once soil temps warm up (usually mid March). Some seed may wash away if on a slope, but I believe we will be pleasently suprised  by the amount of germination that will hopefully occur. I say hopefully, because I am basing this on information obtained from agronomists that have researched this situation. All agronomists I spoke to said there are many factors that effect how seed performs the following spring. We have put together a list of lawns that definitely need reseeding or at least need touch ups. Customers on that list will be fertilized only during 1st app 2016, to promote new seedling growth. Preemergent will not be applied during 1st app on lawns or spots that need reseeding. We guarantee our fall aeration and overseeding on irrigated lawns. On unirrigated lawns, we can reseed them as needed in spring. I believe the fairest way to handle this situation is to charge customers on unirrigated lawns, only the cost of seed applied. No labor charge will be added. If we need to reaerate, there will be no charge for that. If we aerated and reseeded your lawn in fall of 2016, please contact us by phone or email if you want to insure that you are on the list for spot touch up or reseeding. Thank you for your business. Look for our news letter with prepay option in early January, 2017.

Sincerely, Robert Stroud
The Turf Doctor

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Still getting "need to reseed" calls

Folks, we are still getting calls to reseed areas that aren't germinating. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE AREAS IS DRY. PERIOD. I have looked at them and ALL those spots are too dry for seed germination. If you have irrigation, it is likely that some areas don't get perfect coverage. That is very normal, as irrigation is a supplement to rainfall. Yards that have excellent coverage have EXCELLENT germination rates. If you have areas that are still dry, you need to get a hose and sprinkler at this point. Soil temps will allow germination for only about 10-14 more days, even with cold snap coming. Therefore, keeping soil surface damp during DAYLIGHT HOURS EVERY DAY is critical. If it gets too cold in mid December, the seed will lay there until about March, then most of it will germinate. We will delay preemergent in those cases where spots may need more seed in February. If you have paid your invoice for aeration and seeding, we will reseed areas that need it in the spring. If your seeding invoice has not been paid, by December 1st, you will not receive further services from The Turf Doctor. I have been in business for 20 years because we care and we make it right! However, we can't make it rain!!! If it never rains again, we won't have to worry about grass anyway. If you have not followed our aftercare watering instructions, please do so. It is my recommendation that if you have irrigation, you continue to water until we receive one soaking rain, HOPEFULLY THIS WEEKEND. Then winterize to protect your system. If we get nights below 30 before you winterize, there are 2 things you can do.
1. Wrap backflow with blankets
2. Set irrigation to run about 3-6 am. Moving water is hard to freeze!

Thank you for your business and please refrain from asking if we "have bad seed" That answer is NO, I promise.

Sincerely, Robert Stroud The Turf Doctor

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Seed Germination

Wow you the fun continues! After the "summer from hell" due to late July, early August thunderstorms, now we are in drought mode. Unless you are watering a minimum of 2x daily, your seed  is NOT staying damp and isn't germinating. The seed is tested by the state to insure it is viable = will germinate when kept moist.  ITS NOT "BAD SEED"!  In fact, to my knowledge it is the highest rated, most expensive blend sold in Nashville! Please set to irrigation to water once before lunch and once in the afternoon. You will find out how good your irrigation coverage is based on where seed does not germinate. Here is the good news. Soil temps right now are what they normally are about in mid September.  The only requirement for fescue germination is water and warm soil temps. Therefore, we will be able to germinate fescue thru Thanksgiving! I am often asked, "what if we get a frost in October". It takes SEVERAL consecutive days of forst and near freezing temps to cool soil below germination temps. I welcome a freaking frost! We still have nutsedge and other summer weeds like spurge germinating daily due to high soil temps! Even the weeds are confused. Once we have finished all aeration /seeding, AND we have had at least 2 soaking rains, we will return to reseed as needed. In 20 years, we have had to reseed some yards in spring only 1 time. ZERO customers have ever been dissatisfied with our final seeding product. We ALWAYS make it right. Do we miss spots?Sometimes. Do we fix them? Always. The reason you see seed germination in shady spots 1st,is that the sun doesn't bake the seed dry in the afternoon. The sunny areas need rain to happen, or perfect irrigation timing and coverage. We guarantee all aeration /seed jobs every year. If it never rains again, thats  the only way we will fail to reestablish your lawn! IF YOU HAVE IRRIGATION AND HAVE WATERED AS INSTRUCTED AND IT HAS BEEN 30 DAYS SINCE WE SEEDED, THEN YOU CAN CALL FOR IMMEDIATE TOUCH UP. Otherwise, wait on rain or buy a sprinkler and please be patient. Thank you for your business!

Robert Stroud The Turf Doctor

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Seeded this lawn 18 days ago. We treated with bifenthrin(granular) at time of seeding. Customer noticed grass not doing well in some spots. I picked up a handful of dead seedlings and grabbed 6 live baby armyworms! Bifenthrin effective as contact control, but the residual is not effective more than 2 weeks when watering daily for seed germination. I have NEVER seen multiple generations in same year. If we have seeded your lawn in 37205 or 37215 and you notice new grass areas quickly deteriorating, please contact us ASAP! This is major problem. Need a under 50 degree night to stop more generations. In 2017,we will have to change our program to stop this situation. A hot wet late summer year = armyworm invasion. If lawn on dry side, they won't hit you, but seed won't germinate. Very random, side by side yards we treat, 1 hit 1 not. Only difference is how wet they were when moths arrived in late August.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Armyworm theory, why me?

After looking at many yards and speaking with other turf managers in the area, we found 2 common denominators.
1.Moisture - having seen zero lawns that are dry an unirrigated that have been attacked. That tells me that when the moths fly here from "down yonder" , they lay their eggs near areas where they see succulent, soft turf tissue in wet warm soil to feed on. Would you rather eat a piece of cardboard or a juicy steak?

2.  Disease control - ALL yards that I have seen damaged so far, have been yards that had the healthiest turfgrass through late July. AKA, They had all been treated with disease control this summer and therefore had the healthiest foliage to feed on.

Conclusions - having a crappy unirrigated lawn full of weeds almost completely eliminates the risk armyworms will do damage to your lawn.

We have seen 1 case of armyworm damage in 37027. The other 11 were in 37215 or 37205. All lawns with damage have irrigation and at least 1 "overly wet" area in the lawns. My guess is these "overly wet areas" are irrigation leaks or poor drainage areas. My other guess is when the rains started coming in late July, most customers continued to irrigate on top of the rainfall.

Its just a theory......

Friday, September 2, 2016

Seed blend for 2016

If you would like more information on this year's seed blend, click link.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Army worms have arrived!

Great, armyworms have arrived. As if the weeds and nutsedge aren't enough hassle! They prefer to eat Bermuda, however, they will also eat fescue seedlings, once fall seeding completed. They will eat the whole lawn seedlings in 24 hours. What about the turf insect control you applied in June? Why doesn't that kill them? We use imacloprid and bifenthrin at that time. Imacloprid will give about a years control for grubs, because it is systemic. bifenthrin gives a no quick knockdown of surface feeding turf insects that are present at time of treatment, and will also knock out fleas, ticks, chiggers, etc. However, it doesn't kill insects NOT present. Fall armyworms fly up from the gulf coast areas as moths. They don't lay their eggs in the turf. They lay eggs on fences, poles, tree limbs, etc. They have to be controlled after they arrive. They don't show up every year. Please call if you notice areas (especially bermuda) that turn brown in about 1 day, so we can stop the armyworms from doing more damage. Please watch video on other post about armyworm damage. Thanks!

Robert Stroud The Turf Doctor

Armyworm. Damage

Robert Stroud The Turf Doctor

 click this one!  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Like, its not fescue time in TN!

Its hot, yo. Its wet too. Everything but fescue will grow well over next 30 days. With soil temps over 90 and afternoon showers, it sets up for ugly yards. We are spraying weeds as quickly as we can, but they will keep coming until soil temps drop in September. What you can do to help, is to make sure you are not irrigating on top of this rain. Don't even attempt to keep your fescue looking like it did even a month ago. I would rather see drought stress than pithium fungus. Brown Patch disease control won't touch pithium. Its a death nail. Hot wet soil = pithium = dead until reseed. Hot dry soil = some brown, but not dead grass that will recover quickly when soil temps cool in September. Just remember, we are not happy seeing lawns tank either. But, I bet you don't see fescue in the jungle! Bare with us, we will get weeds cleaned up and ready for fall seeding, which is less than a month away. Thank you for your patience and business. If the weeds are driving you crazy and you want ASAP spray, just call office or email. We will move you up on service call list. Thanks 6154728245

Turf Doctor

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Soil Temps increased more rapidly this May than in past several years,and we were extremely dry. During late June, early July the rains returned. Therefore, preemergent that normally dissipates in August, right before seeding season, has already dissipated. We apply the maximum legal rate of preemergent each year. We will be battling weeds now through end of August. It may take more than on visit to get them all. We are limited to what we can use because when air temps go over 90 degrees in a day, our nutsedge and weed control will also damage fescue. We will get them all cleaned up by the end of August. Please let us know if you feel you need immediate service call. What can you do to help us? If you have irrigation, make sure it runs deeply and infrequently. Make sure you don't run it more than 3 days a week. Shut it off for a couple dats if we have a heavy thunderstorm. If you have more than a few spots of nutsedge, it means the soil surface is remaining damp every day, and we won't be able to control the nutsedge as fast as it germinates. Bare with us, fall will be here soon.

Blog down!

The blog has been down due to technical difficulties. Everything should be good to go now

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tree seedling control

Getting alot of weed calls. 95% of them are for tree seedlings. Most of the seedlings are maple trees, but there are other tree seedlings that have germinated recently. Crabgrass preemergent does NOT prevent tree seedlings from germinating. Due to their woody stem nature, broadleaf weed control not very effective either. However, your lawn mower is the key! Once the seedlings reach a height where the mower will cut off the leaves, they will die after a few mowings. Thanks

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tree seedlings abundant right now!

We are getting alot of calls about tree seedlings. Our broadleaf weed control doesn't work well on them, because of their woody tap root. Therefore, the best control is mowing! Once they are tall enough that the mower blades continously cut off the leaves, they die. It usually takes about 3 mowings in May, then they will be toast. Thanks!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Zoysia patch

Though it looks non active with dry conditions, this is a form of "Brown Patch" fungus that occurs on zoysia or Bermuda, usually during spring green up. That's why we never heavily fertilize warm season grasses with nitrogen before May. Nitrogen makes fungus worse. If you have Bermuda or zoysia and see this, please call office. **please check for dry soil first!

Its not fungus, yo.

Having spent the last two days looking at spots that people thought were "Brown Patch". Here's the deal. Brown patch on cool season grasses requires thes items: Water, heat, warm nights, humidity. If one of the above is unavailable for the fungus, it can't develop. Currently, it's WAY TO DRY for cool season brown patch! How can you tell if its just drought stress? Can you easily push a Phillips head screwdriver into soil to the handle? Does your grass look skinny and round bladed? Fescue blades with adequate moisture ate generally flat. As drought stress arrives, the blades will roll into circle (to conserve moisture I believe).

Little Barley

This ugly winter annual is back! Its seeding now and then will die as temos climb. It generally germinates in non-overseeded Bermuda areas or curbs and bare spots.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Drought Stress - Irrigation - Nut Sedge!

Please make sure, if you have irrigation, that your irrigation has been activated. We are already seeing drought stress due to warmer temperatures and no significant rainfall within the past 10 days. It is my opinion that it will take at least an inch of water to re-wet those dry spots. Once a spot becomes that dry, it tends to repel water until the spot is soaked. After you have "soaked" that spot, please take a screwdriver and make sure you can push the screwdriver into the handle to make sure the soil is wet.
Remember, nut sedge germination is right around the corner, so make sure you are watering deeply and INFREQUENTLY. Watering two days a week is preferred, three days a week is maximum. Try to apply 1 inch of water, twice a week, to keep the root zone wet but the surface dry. That will reduce nut sedge issue up to 75%.
Damp soil surface = nut sedge!
Below are images of drought stress. Pictures were taken yesterday, April 20, 2016. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

White Grass blades = Powdery Mildew

Lots of calls this week about white grass blades.  This fungus occurs on Kentucky Bluegrass in our area during cool weather, especially in shaded areas.  Tall fescue is resistant. It won't kill the bluegrass, but will damage the blades. It will disappear when weather warms and grow out of it. Fungicide is not necessary or recommended to treat powdery mildew, especially on home lawns.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

It is called TALL FESCUE for a reason!

I realize how impressive the lawns look cut at 1.5 to 2 inches right now. However, we are trying to manage TALL fescue. Right now, fescue is still producing root growth and top growth with current soil temps. Once we hit late May, the root growth slows dramatically due to rising soil temps. Two bad things happen with low mowing height. First, Root depth/mass is proportional to height of cut. If you mow higher now, you will have more root production to get you through the shake and bake of summer. 
Lastly, lower height allows more sunlight to reach soil, breaking down pre-emergents quicker and promoting summer weed invasions.
FYI - Just because your mower says 3 inches on its adjustment, doesn't make it so. Please take a ruler out right after mowing and make sure you have 3 inches of grass height remaining.
Last thing: I know you invest lots of $ into your lawn, so I understand if you want it to look mind blowing through April by mowing low. Please make sure to raise your height no later than May 1st to 3 inches. It will make us all happier in heat of summer. Thanks!

GopherX FAIL

After several trials, up to 30 minutes per tunnel, I am reporting that GopherX is a total fail on eastern moles. It may kill gophers in 3 minutes, but moles laugh at it! Trapping remains the best method to control the moles, PERIOD. Please call Keith Burgess 6154967004 for mole trapping. He is the best in Nashville.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Got Moles?

We are testing a new machine used for gopher mole and vole control. It is called  GopherX. It uses carbon monixide combined with Castor oil to asphixiate the critters in their tunnels, and leave a castor oil coating in the tunnels, which moles do not like. Moles live on the least amount of oxygen compared to gophers and voles.  It only takes about 3 minutes to kill gophers, but may take 15-30 minutes to kill the moles. Moles are territorial, so it requires two treatments about 2 weeks apart to get total control. The first visit will kill all the moles on the property. Over the following two weeks it is likely that moles in bordering properties will investigate and move into the now vacant tunnels on your property. After 2nd treatment, we guarantee you will have no new mole activity for at least 30 days. If you have any new activity within 30 days of 2nd treatment, we will return to do one more treatment for no charge. Once the second treatment is complete and you haven't had activity for 30 days, there will be a charge for future treatments if needed. If you have excellent soil and irrigation, your lawn is a prime location for mole activity. Healthy soils are loaded with earthworms. Moles feed on grubs and/or earthworms. Our hope is this machine will be a more economical and faster method to control your mole issues than trapping or using poison worm baits.   Moles are like weeds in the sense that just because all the weeds or moles you currently have we can kill, doesn't mean new weeds won't germinate or that more moles won't come to your property in the future. Weed control and mole control are ongoing issues. However, by killing all the moles you currently have, you will break the cycle of mature moles having babies on your property. We are licensed to kill moles, and the gopherx will not harm your pets. Watch video at

  Since this is a new service and new machine we are testing, we are offering 2 treatments, 2 weeks apart, at no charge to the first three 2016 PREPAID customers that contact us by email. These 3 PREPAID properties must be under 1 acre to qualify as a  free "beta test" customer. This will help you get rid of any moles you currently have and help us figure out a pricing structure for this service based on the time it takes us to perform the service and how much castor oil is needed to complete the service. Please email if you are interested in being one of the 3 prepay customers to get this free service. Send email to

Sincerely, Robert Stroud The Turf Doctor