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New Fescue lawn has several yellow patches. Help

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by ShawnDH, Jun 4, 2005.

  1. ShawnDH

    ShawnDH LawnSite Member
    Posts: 33

    I just had some Tall Fescue (Millennium) sod laid last Saturday. It looked great when it was first laid. We had cool weather and it rained all week long and today was the first day that it didn't rain and the sun actually came out (85 deg). Well, now it has several yellow patches and I'm afraid I'm going to loose the lawn. I live in Atlanta GA area and we have a lot of clay. I had the yard tilled, the PH levels were btwn 6 & 7. I'm concerned that the installers choose not to put down starter fertilizer though. I'm really new at this, and I'm just trying to look for some direction on what to do. I don't know if it got too much rain or too little. Some small patches are actually dead but most of the lawn is still green the way it was when it was laid, but it hasn't seemed to grow.

    I know it's difficult to diagnose a lawn without seeing it but, does anyone have any suggestions on what I could do or look for?
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I cut about 700 yards/year total, this year I have 50 grass accounts so it will likely be closer to 1000. Now to me, cutting frequency AND height-of-cut is crucial.

    I would imagine it is pretty hot down there when it doesn't rain... I'm in Richmond VA, it gets toasty around July.

    The only time I know *I* get yellow patch is when I'm cutting a yard too frequently / too often, or too short. You see, when you cut your grass, you're inflicting a wound on each and every blade and this takes 2-3 days to heal. In that time, the lawn loses about 50-75% or so of its moisture (which is why you can smell it). If the grass is too short, it is incapable of providing enough shade for itself, and the heat of the sun has its way with the lawn.

    Personally, I like my grass to be about ankle-height before I cut it, but then I have a commercial mower which has a TON of power and could care less how tall the grass is. Still, if I cut it TOO often or it's too short between cuts - yellow patch.

    I would say let it grow many inches (and more if your mower can deal) between cuts AND set your mower blade-height to 3 inches as well (especially if it's at 2.5, you really need to cut higher).

    If this is NOT your problem then I am sorry to have wasted your time, but if it is, I would recommend the following cutting intervals:
    - With ACTIVE sprinkler system: every 10-12 days.
    - With Inactive (or without) sprinkler system: every 14 days.

    If these ARE your current intervals, see about delaying it another 2-4 days.
    The longer between cuts, the better.

    Take a break, let it grow - that's what I always say.

    Good Luck!
  3. ShawnDH

    ShawnDH LawnSite Member
    Posts: 33

    But I was thinking the same thing about letting it grow. I wasn't going to cut it for a month.
  4. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    pH is a little high for fescue.I'd guess that the sod in those areas doesn't have good soil contact.In those cases,the sod will dry out alot faster and need more watering.Did they roll the sod into the soil?If not,then I'd definately check to see if those yellow spots are sitting above the soil instead of in contact with the soil,like it should be.
    Step on it and see if pushes down easily.It shouldn't.It should feel firm.Also,even though it's rained,your new sod needs water daily.It should remain damp(soil) as much as possible.Break out the sprinkler and water,water,water.
  5. TScapes

    TScapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 453

    I agree with Nick! Fescue is tempermental, but you do need to water it regularly. Even though you have had rain there.... has it been atleast 1/2-1" per day? I would wager to say that you soil contact is not where it needs to be and that you have air pockets under the sod. Do like Nick said and walk across the sod.... does it feel loose? It really should be rolled once it is laid, so ask your landscape contractor if he is coming back to do so. Also, tell him your concern, as I am sure that he wants to protect his investment as well. Hopefully his work came with a warranty of some sorts.

    Anyways, I would allow your new lawn to grow for at least 3-4 weeks before mowing. Once you start to mow, you need to cut it at about 4" or as high as your mower will go. Especially in Atlanta, where water conservation is a mandatory summer restriction, mowing high will help shade the grass and allow you to water less and mow less over the growing season.

    Good Luck!
  6. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Soil contact is important, if the sod wasnt rolled then you will probably have to have the contractor replace the dead sod. The rain we have had, ( I live about a 100 miles northof Atlanta) hasnt been enough to properly water the lawn. You cant let the sod dry out so drag out the sprinklers.
    Another concern could also be the starter fertilizer the contractor applied. If he used a high nitrogen fertilizer with all this heat and humitity you might be looking at the first stages of BrownPatch. Best to call the installer and let him know your concerns quick while he can still do something about it. Brownpatch will start as small yellow patches and quickly grow spreading thru your entire new lawn.
  7. Tharrell

    Tharrell LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,964

    Rolling is what I was going to ask also. Brown patch is pretty common with new fescue lawns also. It can be repaired.

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