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Author Topic: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post  (Read 5306 times)

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Offline Rachel

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The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« on: February 04, 2008, 10:02:47 AM »
Last year in November we decided we wanted to sort out our lawn. It has a few different types of grass, mostly wild indiginous types, but nothing which made a nice lawn. We went to Starke Ayers nursery in Rosebank and spoke to their horticulturalist and told them our needs. Our garden goes from full sun to full shade, has medium traffic (there are only two of us), and has a few types of grass growing. He told how to prepare the lawn with compost and lawn dressing, watering deeply for a few days before spreading the seed, then watering just before scattering etc etc. We followed his advice to the letter and spent around R1000 at the nursery on seed, dressing, compost etc. The seed was called Starke Ayers Evergreen and according to the box, consisted of four different types of grass seed that took medium traffic and grew in sun to shade. Amazing stuff, no? Too good to be true?

The grass seed came up after a few weeks, but it was really fine, like strands of hair, and for four different types of grass, it was strangely all exactly the same. We were a little dissappointed, but continued to water it every day, not letting the water puddle, according to instruction. After six weeks we began to walk on the grass, as it said we could after this time. This completely flattened the grass, which didn't stand back up. A week later, the grass began to shrivel and turn brown, first in the sunniest patches. During this time, I visited a friend in Hout Bay who had planted the exact same seed in a bare patch in her lawn. It too, was shrivelled. I asked her about it, and she told me that it had come up beautifully, like mine, but around six weeks after she'd planted it, it began to shrivel. This inspite of watering, love, food and care.

I decided to write to Starke Ayers and ask them about it. Unfortunately, I no longer had my receipts or boxes, who keeps them for 6 weeks? The horticulturalist (a different one) emailed me back to say she'd pass my letter on to their product manager. After a month of no reply, I wrote to them again, and asked why their customer service was so kak. This got me a reply that they would deal with it. Another month went by, I wrote again, to tell them that the all the Starke Ayers evergreen grass I had planted was now shrivelled and dead, in the sun, in the shade, where it gets stood on, where it never gets stood on. Please note, at both my friend's house in HB and mine, the only grass that died, was the Starke Ayers grass.

This was their reply, after 2 months.

Sorry for the delay.  I finally had feedback from Prof Schoeman, a
specialist on our lawn seed, and together with a few tests, is conclusion is
a viral infection that causes the lawn to die of in patched areas. He cannot
confirm how the lawn was infestated, but the seed were tested and there was
no problem.


I of course have written back and asked what sort of virus attacks only Starke Ayers grass and none of the other grass that makes up both my and my friends lawn. If any of you have ever heard of such a virus, please let me know. I'd also like to know how I get rid of this Starke Ayers grass attacking virus, if it indeed exists, as they have also suggested I get further advice from their horticulturalist and buy more of their grass seed.

Heinie

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2008, 11:34:59 AM »
Rachel,

what a sad grass story. They diagnose the problem without seeing it. I found them a very incompetent lot as well in the past and they are more expensive than most other nurseries. So nurseries also make money because their is no play park for kids. 

Offline Etienne

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2008, 16:48:18 PM »
Rachel,if you want my advice... Cut your losses and start over.I don't deal with that company anymore for some time now because of some of the same reasons.
I know next to nothing about grass management but here is some of my thoughts.As far as i know viruses don't spread via seed.So if in both cases the cause was viral it must have been an external vector.If that is still true then all Stark's evergreen in the city must be dead now? ???
I'd love to see a pic of this calamity.Also send me a pic of the area you want under grass in the future.

Just a question:Why not buffaloe grass?Ok,its a bit harder than others but not only will it not grow in your beds,it can stand shade too.

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2008, 16:48:18 PM »
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Offline Rachel

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2008, 17:17:28 PM »
Ettiene, there is no reason why we didn't go the route of buffalo plugs or any other plugs like seaspray, or whatever it's called. We were planning to go that route, but stupidly decided to have a talk to the horticuturalist at starke ayers and he advised us to go the route of their Nevergreen grass seed. If only we hadn't asked for advice, we would probably have a nice lawn now instead of a horrible matt of dead not green grass. :'(

Offline Piet Strydom

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2008, 17:40:19 PM »
Hi Rachel, I can't give any advice on your problem , I only know Kikuyu grass , that is what works for most of us here up in the highveld. I hope you get a cheap solution for your Problem. WE ALL TAKE NOTE OF THE SERVICE YOU GOT FROM STARKE AYERS.

Here is some Info I got from gardeningeden website  about different type of grass suitable for Most areas

http://www.gardeningeden.co.za/plants-lawns.


Popular choices for most areas?

Buffalo
Tolerates coastal conditions.
This vigorous growing species will be dormant in regions with cold winters. It is softly textured.

Cape Royal
Tolerates drought, heat and traffic.
This species grows reasonably slow, and has a medium texture

Dichondra Wonderlawn
Requires regular watering
A creeping, vigorous growing plant with kidney-shaped foliage, that is ideal for areas difficult to mow.

Florida
Tolerates drought, heat and traffic.
Dormant in cold, frosty winters, this grass species is finely textured.

Kikuyu
Tolerates heat, drought and traffic
Requires regular watering and well-draining soil
This very popular choice is mid-green and roughly textured.

Magennis
Tolerates reasonable drought.
Also used for sport fields, this fine grass should be kept short.

Outeniqua
Tolerates medium heat, drought and traffic.
This grass species will also grow in semi-shade and is dormant in the colder winter regions.

Speedy Royal
Tolerates drought, heat and traffic.
Popular for using on sport fields, this grass is lovely green with a medium texture.

Swazi grass
Requires full sun.
This grass is dormant in cold winter regions.


Offline Etienne

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2008, 19:17:07 PM »
Rachel,you have at least 4 months of active growing season left.So if you decide to go for buffaloe i would advise you to go that route now.
1 x 200plugtray = R100 will cover about 8 square metres
Roll-on per square metre is around R50. These prices differ from place to place.
Personally i wouldn't go for seaspray paspalum.
I regularly use plugs when i landscape so budget wise that should do.

Offline Rachel

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2008, 10:08:42 AM »
Thanks for all your help. Why oh why didn't I come straight to you guys instead of the "horticulturalist". Now I just need to find a new nursery to buy my buffalo grass plugs.

Offline Rachel

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2008, 10:09:48 AM »
Sorry Ettiene, I meant Garden Centre. ;)

Heinie

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2008, 10:11:20 AM »
Rachel,
I have just been to Stodels Garden Centre in Brackenfell and they have buffalo plugs there. They have a new pony there as well as new birds.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2008, 10:13:41 AM by Heinie »

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2008, 10:11:20 AM »
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Offline Etienne

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2008, 13:44:35 PM »
Mmmm! ;D  :D :D

Offline Rachel

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2008, 18:59:09 PM »
Haha, Heinie, a petting zoo and  garden centre.

The saga continues however. This morning I got a call from Starke Ayers. Now, after I told them I would post on the gardenerforum to get another opinion regarding the mystery virus, they want to come and look at my grass. I told them it was too late, the grass was past saving and they should have come 2 months ago when I first contacted them.  :D
They said they didn't want to resusitate the old grass, they wanted to assess my garden so they could give me the right grass. It's amazing, you can be nice for two months and get nothing, or you can get nasty for one morning and get a personal visit. Why does nasty work better?

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2008, 18:59:09 PM »
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Heinie

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Re: The mystery starke ayers lawn virus - long post
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2008, 19:43:55 PM »
Tell them that you may just be happy to accept their offer to plant all new grass for you and call it quits. Keep up the pressure and kick them while they are down.