Author Topic: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.  (Read 6727 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Techie

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Hello !
I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« on: June 04, 2012, 07:10:27 PM »

I moved into a brand new property 5 years ago and have worked hard and spent good money trying to achieve a reasonable lawn in my back garden - all to no avail.

During the initial snagging I reported that the turf that was originally placed had died. Therefore, I organized for the whole of the back garden to be stripped and re-laid again with turf including a sand base and new top soil.
It started off well and grew quite thick, but then all of a sudden the lawn was going into self-preservation mode, in fact it looks like it’s hibernating.

Subsequently I have tried reseeding and patched it up in places with turf and of course fed it, and aerated some of the worst areas to see if that helps. However, despite regular attention the grass is dying off again and moss had formed leaving me to spend more money on moss killer and even though I have scattered more grass (golf) seed it has still not germinated.

However, I am desperate and hoping for a solution before the entire lawn is lost, because I estimate that before the end of the growing season there will be nothing left to grow. There is definitely something killing my lawn off and its not a shortage of water or sunlight.

I believe that the substrate in this vicinity is of a very poor quality and on top of which the houses have been built and gardens laid; I do think it needs serious testing of the area on which these houses were built, therefore, examination to discover precisely what we are living on top of….!

All my neighbours have the same problem - in fact my next door neighbour has lost all their lawn to weeds…

 



Offline Mart

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5249
  • Where's my cow?
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2012, 10:13:28 PM »
I've just used Miraclegro grass seed on a very shady patch. It says it grows anywhere, and bugger me, it does.

It's slightly more expensive that petrol ounce for ounce but you sound committed, or will be.

Other than that take the top two foot off and start again I guess.

My lawn is full of all sorts but as long as it's green and predominately grass I don't mind.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Techie

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Hello !
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012, 10:53:03 PM »
Hi there Mart

The top two foot was taken out the second time round and replaced with top soil and sand.

Offline Richard Beale

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 494
  • Hello !
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 11:38:20 PM »
Sounds odd..

Is the garden in shade a lot? if there was soil trouble the weeds wouldn't be growing so well either....

How deep can you dig? I'm thinking soil depth perhaps.

5 years is enough for a shaded lawn to be overun by moss

Offline Techie

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Hello !
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012, 12:02:10 AM »
I have tried to load a photo of my garden on here, however, it tells me its to large..

It is not just the shaded side, its the sunny side too that is disappearing..

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Twitter: @Geoff_Reid
  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 10109
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2012, 08:33:01 AM »
I have tried to load a photo of my garden on here, however, it tells me its to large..

It is not just the shaded side, its the sunny side too that is disappearing..

Hi Techie :)

Picture is too large to be attached, (200kb limit per pic).

Email your (full sized) picture to admin@talkswindon.org and Dougal will resize & host it in the most appropriate size for the purposes of this thread.

Can't help with the lawn I'm afraid - went down the concrete, wooden and gravel route years ago. Cheaper on mowers and much easier to maintain :)

Good luck!

Offline Muggins

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8535
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2012, 08:53:08 AM »
My neighbours lawn is not looking so good (I don't have one any more) dogs and cat owning can kill a lawn especially if it's a small garden. 

The neighbour insists on trying to get that bowling green look and mows it on too low a cut and ends up with patches all over the place. 

At the front, our gardens are North facing and apart from earlyish morning in the shade, this means that when it's frosty and the sun comes up the dew/frost hots up too quickly so acts like hot water being poured on it.  Moss came in hard and regular, gave up with lawns there years ago and put down Cornish granite chippings there. However the weeds still grow and indeed still do.

I would think that if your houses were built on anything that poisonous it would be permeating up through the walls by now, so best to get the house checked too.

What are those grub things that lie just under the ground - leatherjackets -and there is a caterpillar that does the same thing.  Large Yellow Underwing.  The grubs feed at night on low growing plants. And they must be about this time of year, and if they are as good at that as the Vapourer moth caterpillar is at stripping my Berberis, I can imagine they'd gnaw through a lawn in no time at all.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline I Could Do That

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1960
  • Swindon Born & Bred & Gone
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2012, 10:15:22 AM »
Crane fly larvae?

What area is it?
Proud to be gone

Offline Techie

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Hello !
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2012, 10:52:24 AM »
I live in the Oakhurst area.

Offline Mart

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5249
  • Where's my cow?
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2012, 11:16:43 AM »
Can't help with the lawn I'm afraid - went down the concrete, wooden and gravel route years ago. Cheaper on mowers and much easier to maintain

I just had a mental picture of someone mowing gravel. Made oi larf.

Weeds grow but grass doesn't , weird. Could try loitering around some of the gardening websites, they might throw something up.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Dougal

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 527
    • Talkswindon.org
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2012, 05:34:43 PM »
Administrator Comment Pictures of Techie's Lawn - As requested :)

Dougal

   
www.talkswindon.org is a venue, not a person or political entity. As such, it hopes to encourage input and discussion on any topic, from all walks of Swindon life.   

Offline Muggins

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8535
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2012, 06:44:33 PM »
Oh-er?   Do you wash that patio down with anything? 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Techie

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Hello !
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2012, 09:49:59 PM »
Good evening Muggins

I have never washed the patio slabs down with anything.

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Twitter: @Geoff_Reid
  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 10109
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2012, 12:52:39 AM »

I'm no lawn expert but I do like a good puzzle.  Looking at the pictures it occurred to me that you may have several separate problems affecting different areas of your garden.

There seems to be some sort of black liquid oozing through the wall at the rear of your property, is that what is evident on the ground alongside your shed or has the black felt roofing, (if fitted to your shed), at some point melted out or felt adhesive dripped down?  The ground looks almost oily there.

Am I right in thinking, (as you look at the first picture taken from the patio), that you have a neighbour on the left hand side and the ground drops very slightly toward your garden from theirs, but then rises up again as it nears the wall on the right of your patio?

If so, have you every suffered from, or observed, a triangular-shaped puddle forming along the front of your patio with the 'pointy' (thinner end) being on the right hand side and the bulk of the puddle being closer to the fence on the left ?

Offline Muggins

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8535
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2012, 07:48:30 AM »
Thinking about it, perhaps you should involve environmental health? 

And/or send some soil samples to the Royal Horticultural Society?

I think Geoff might also have it - a puddle or maybe that's even more below ground - water not running away properly. It happened in Muggins junior 3's garden, the developers went down to clay worked on it whilst they built the houses, therefore impacting it, and then scooped top soil ocer the top, we had to sink a sort of drain,  round brick thing filled with gravel to get it away and it took a few years for it to drain naturally.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Techie

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Hello !
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2012, 11:39:14 AM »
Good morning to you all.

I would like to thank you for your advice and help in trying to find a solution.

However, I am now in contact with the Contaminated Land Officer and they are going to get in touch with the NHBC and look into the archives and see what might be indicated, and they said they will confirm their findings and decide what can be done next.

I will keep in touch and let you know the outcome.

Many thanks again.

Midge

Offline Mart

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5249
  • Where's my cow?
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2012, 08:40:16 PM »
I was thinking soil samples.

Might not be good news and it's 30 quid a pop, but at least you'd know.

http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Help-advice/RHS-Advisory-Service/RHS-Soil-Analysis-Service
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Richard Beale

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 494
  • Hello !
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2012, 09:44:25 PM »
Good morning to you all.

I would like to thank you for your advice and help in trying to find a solution.

However, I am now in contact with the Contaminated Land Officer and they are going to get in touch with the NHBC and look into the archives and see what might be indicated, and they said they will confirm their findings and decide what can be done next.

I will keep in touch and let you know the outcome.

Many thanks again.

Midge

I think you might be right, something is definately wrong here. It doesn't look like gurb or moss problem. It looks like the developers have burried something nasty and its coming to the surface.

The contaminated land officer is a good man, and he knows his stuff. It was a surprise to me to find out how contaminated some parts of Swindon are

Offline Techie

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Hello !
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2012, 08:37:39 PM »
Hello everyone

Last month I contacted the Contamination Officer (David Rudland) and was told I needed to get in touch with the NHBC as my house is still under warranty.  However, the phone number I was given was at a premium rate at 43p per minute, therefore, I e-mailed them instead and gave them my number to telephone me, but of course I am still waiting to hear from them..

However, whilst I am most grateful for your correspondence, I have some news, because since I put my letter in this forum I have re-seeded the garden - even though it had taken quite a few weeks to germinate, it is now looking quite good.  I maybe a bit pessimistic when I say I cannot see it lasting, because this happened last year too, before it went into self-preservation mode again.

I spoke to David today and we have agreed that if it does go into hibernation again, I will contact him and the NHBC to make an arrangement for them to come and do some soil testing.

Kindest regards to you all

?
Midge

Offline Muggins

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8535
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2012, 08:59:18 AM »
With any luck and with all this rain, it ccould be that whatever is/was there has been washed away.

Every rain cloud has a silver lining, let's hope in your case it is a lush lawn.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Techie

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Hello !
Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2014, 11:40:47 AM »
Hello everyone

Following on from my letter I put in this forum two years ago.  However, back in 2008, I was informed by a reliable source that the developers had told the contractors that as long as they can do the job cheaply and lay the turf to the back gardens to last a year, it was good enough for them.  I think that is outrageous and the developers should be shown up and also I am appalled they could do such shoddy work.

I had spent good money trying to retain the grass and patch up what has gone and I am forever digging out the moss.  As the soil is heavy clay and builders rubble, this is not giving enough drainage, therefore, this is why it gets water logged. Know wonder the NHBC said that the garden was not fit for cultivation.

However, two years ago I was advised to contact the Contamination Officer in which he arranged to have the soil tested twice on the front and back garden and the results were two sub-samples of each sample of sub-soil were tested for both arsenic and benzo(a)pyrene and the results are discussed below.

Arsenic


Nine of the ten samples recorded elevated concentrations of arsenic above the generic assessment criteria, the soil guideline value, of 32 mg/kg. These were between 33 mg/kg and 93 mg/kg, however the sub-samples from P5 recorded values of 700 mg/kg and 1000 mg/kg. It is considered that the significantly elevated arsenic concentrations recorded in P5 should be dealt with separately to the other elevated results as it is clear that these are from a different statistical population i.e. are statistical outliers. It would therefore appear that the significantly elevated arsenic concentrations are present in a localised area, and based on the five sample positions it could probably be assumed that the significantly elevated results affect up to 30% of the area. The pairs of results from each location are generally similar.

Soil guideline values are based on a comparison of predicted human exposure against a health criteria value. The health criteria value for arsenic is based on epidemiological studies of people exposed via drinking water. Sequestration as a result of adsorption, partitioning, and/or chemical bonding as well as its potential presence in discrete mineral phases is likely to mean that the arsenic will be more tightly bound within the soil in comparison to the medium of the exposure study.

The soil guideline value for arsenic also assumes that all of the contaminant is bioavailable, referring to the fraction of the arsenic that can be absorbed by the human body through the gastrointestinal system, the pulmonary system and the skin. In reality, this is generally not the case and bioaccessibility testing is often able to demonstrate that the concentrations recorded would be unlikely to present significant risks.

It is therefore considered that the elevated concentrations of arsenic recorded should not pose significant risks to human health.


Benzo(a)pyrene

Concentrations of 0.5 mg/kg to 12 mg/kg of benzo(a)pyrene were recorded. The modified mean for all of the results is 6 mg/kg, compared to the generic assessment criteria of 1 mg/kg. For the reasons given above for arsenic, such as the garden size and existing 230 mm of effective capping it is considered that the elevated benzo(a)pyrene concentrations should not pose significant risks.

It was then decided to find out if the soil had been imported for the Close where I live.   Letters were repeatedly sent to Taylor Wimpey but they never had the courtesy to reply.

Received a letter from Eastwood & Partners on the 31.03.14
We are pleased to write with our proposals for moving this issue forward.
The soil which contains the elevated arsenic concentrations in the landscaped area to the front of the house, is already capped by around 230 mm of clean soil and therefore we recommend that a further 370 mm of clean soil is either added on top to provide a minimum of 600 mm of capping, or the existing soil is removed to 600 mm depth and 600 mm of clean soil is installed. 

I wrote back that the front garden has never been my concern.  Clearly whatever is contaminating the front garden is also obviously affecting the rear garden as well - all part of the same building plot surrounding the Close.  It is the rear garden with which I have had all the problems and which needs attention.  I suggest that both front and rear gardens are stripped to 600mm and replaced with clean soil and then turfed.  There are implications of course for the gardens of other properties in this vicinity!

Based upon the comments about the soil testing results being so variable across the front garden which is a very small area, it must equally be the case that soil contamination potential in the back garden would be equally variable.

Therefore, I cannot accept only half a job being done by Eastwood & Partners on the basis of such flimsy evidence and can only suggest that a more detailed inspection of the rear garden subsoil is carried out bearing in mind that I have already replaced the rear garden soil to a depth of some 6 inches to try to overcome this problem.

A letter came back from the Contamination Officer stating they were afraid that the offer doesn’t extend to the rear garden. Concentrating on the front only, there view was that there have been no chemicals detected in the soil that would have caused the slow grass growth you have seen, front or back garden. I feel that the offer to replace your front garden soil goes beyond what Taylor Wimpey are obliged to do at your property. I have asked TW to look at the neighbours’ property as a matter of precaution.
I suspect this will be their final offer, so if you do not wish to accept this offer then unfortunately I can do no more for you on this matter.

 
On the 01.04.14 I wrote back,  I will take no further action regarding the rear garden until the results of a neighbour's survey are published.   Meanwhile please instruct Eastwood and Partners to proceed with their proposed action regarding the front garden.  I have spoken to my next door neighbour and he says that Taylor Wimpey are welcome to inspect the front and back garden of his property providing they will let them know when they are likely to turn up.  They lost all their back lawn to weeds in the first year of moving in and he also tells me that he has a black substance oozing up in the back garden too. Meanwhile please instruct Eastwood and Partners to proceed with their proposed action regarding the front garden.  Yours sincerely. 

Would you believe I have never heard anything back since then……