Newer Grass Problems

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by snmhanson, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. snmhanson

    snmhanson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    I had a new lawn (20,000 sf of a rye-fescue-bluegrass mix) hydroseeded around the middle of this summer. Initially everything went great. The grass filled in quickly and nice and thick and was a nice green color. Then after a couple of months I got my first disease. I think it was pithium blight (grease spot) but I can't say for sure. Anyway I pretty much stopped watering and started cutting a little higher at 2 1/2" and it seemed to start clearing up. About a month later I noticed alot of my grass loosing that dark green color and getting kind of yellow in sections. Now I mostly have pretty large sections of slightly green but mostly yellowish grass that doesn't seem to grow at all and a few areas of pretty green grass that is growing. The grass is also farily thin and matted down in the yellowish areas and doesn't seem to be getting any thicker, although it doesn't appear to be getting significantly worse right now either. The yellow sections of grass don't appear to be dead just predominatly yellow in color. Recently I have also noticed a couple of areas that have small spots of mold. The mold doesn't seem to be spreading but it is there nonetheless. I haven't watered in at least two months and it hasn't been an overly wet fall so I don't think excessive moisture is to blame, however the soil has been moist during that entire time. I think it is probably too late in the season to worry about the grass for this season but I want to make sure everything will come back next spring. I put down some more rye seed and some fall fertilizer about a month ago and am going to fertilize again in the next week or so and I will probably give it one more cut mainly for the areas that are still growing. Any suggestions of what I should do right now to help ensure a healthy lawn next spring? Should I just wait it out until spring and deal with it then or is there action I should take now? Is there a chance the grass just started going dormant early and will recover on it's own next spring? I would appreciate any help anyone can offer as I am a little concerned that the enormous amount of work I put into it this summer will all be a waste. Thanks for any input here.

    Matt
     
  2. zgman

    zgman LawnSite Member
    from va
    Posts: 55

    have you checked for grubs?
    I'm not sure if they're a problem in your area, they certainly are in VA.
     
  3. snmhanson

    snmhanson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Thanks for the reply. I haven't checked recently for gubs or any other insect, however, during out first bout with disease in late August I did bring a six inch deep sample to our extension office and they said they didn't see any insects and that the soil looked healthy. I will check again this weekend though to see if by chance anything has developed. Thanks again for the input.
     
  4. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 456

    I'm not sure about the climate in your area, but if you had those symptoms around here, I would say that your problem is rust. The literature suggests that you can fertilize to "grow the grass through the rust". At this time of year, our grass is growing very little and applying fertilizer would be pointless. Mancozeb 4 Flowable is a chemical treatment for rust, if needed. If your problem is rust, your lawn may look good for most of next season, then start to look bad again about late August. Again, keep in mind that I'm basing this information on my experience in Erie, PA.
     
  5. John B Laidlaw

    John B Laidlaw LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    Your area is influenced by the pacific climate... moist, cool, and generally cloudy I believe.
    New seed lawns take at least one year to BEGIN to establish itself. Considering you are in a climatic zone that does not have severe winters, your turf will continue to grow all year round albeit slower in the deep winter and heat of the summer. Not to say you won't have a nice green lawn. The root zone has not been established within the year thus the reason your lawn is more suseptible disease.
    Try a regular feeding program every four to six weeks with a low N fertilizer ( somewhere around 9%-18% N) and a bit higher in the P and K. This will help strengthen the root system. Also on a regular basis, try a more all-purpose fungicide at preventative rates. Something like Daconil. For awhile, mow and collect clippings until there is no sign of fungus. Mow at 3" all year around. Mow often, maybe 2-3 times a week in the spring to once a week during slow growth times. Always use a sharp blade and clean(hose down) your mower deck after each mowing.
    Good Luck!
     
  6. snmhanson

    snmhanson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Those are pretty tall orders John but I'll do my best. Actually the only area where I might have a problem is bagging the clippings. I mow with a pretty large Kubota tractor (B7800) and a bagger costs over $2000 so I am not going to be getting one anytime soon. I could rake the clippings but over 20,000 sf is quite a chore to do every time I mow. I am using new mulching blades on the tractor and making sure no visible clippings remain after mowing but i don't know if that is good or bad or indifferent when it comes to diseases. The grass has really slowed down growing and if I mow at 3" I would only need to mow it once a month or so. I will try to follow your suggestions the best I can and hopefully will get some good results next spring. BTY, Underwood (where I live) is pretty much right on the edge of the cascade range which is the dividing line between the coastal influenced west and the desert east so I get varied conditions. Summers are usually very dry, sunny and pretty warm but winters are generally cool, overcast and wet. We do get a few cold spells a year where it can stay below freezing for up to a week at a time and nights quite often get below freezing. Basically we have our own microclimate which is different than the Portland or Seattle area which people generally think of when someone says the northwest.

    Also, Rtom45, I don't think it is rust as there does not appear to be a powdery growth on the grass (as my Scott's Lawn books shows rust as) but rather entire blades are yellow. I'm not 100% sure on that and I intend to spend a significant of time this weekend investigating and working on the lawn.

    Thanks again for all of the help.
     
  7. John B Laidlaw

    John B Laidlaw LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    To better identify possible disease, check for lesions on the blade, usually dark and rounded. Match to pictures in the Scotts book or any other good turf manual. lesions indicate a pathogen present.
    The reason for the suggestion for collecting grass clippings, reduce the chance of spreading the disease.
    Raking the clippings will be best because you are fluffing the grass and exposing it to air, which is good.
    Freezing temps are not a problem. Blue grass will go dormant but ryes will continue to grow. Soil temps are more important then air temps. As long as soil temps stay relatively warm, turf will continue to grow.
    John
     
  8. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    Identification of lawn maladies can be very tough to peg. Problems can arise from the initial installation or from environmental factors later on. Your initial problem may have been a bacterial disease or fungus, but then the loss of green color later on may have been the simple natural loss of the nitrogen in the soil. However, you want to be careful in the application of nitrogen. Too much nitrogen will lead to thatch buildup, and too much thatch is something that is favorable for problems, such as molds.

    Needless to say, John is correct in saying that it is best to remove the clippings. It is very easy for spores to transport from one area to another. But, in your case if that’s not likely to happen then I’d sure think about putting down a broad-ranged systemic fungicide… such as Daconil. Don’t apply quick release nitrogen, but again like what John said, look for higher percentages of phosphorus and potassium. This time of the year the potassium will improve the cold hardiness of the root system. And not to be outdone, as Zgman mentioned, I have run into cranefly larvae problems on the Oregon coast. To totally eliminate this possibility, again, you may want to slice up a couple of one foot square patches of turf… just to be sure.
     
  9. Neal Wolbert

    Neal Wolbert LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 407

    Matt, I'm in Olympia and your symptoms sound like Fusarium Patch fungus and low nutrient levels. Do you remember how much and what kind of fertilizer you applied? What was your watering schedule in the early fall, if any? Can you post a picture of the lawn? That would help alot, especially if you can get a good close up of the diseased areas. If need be and for a small charge, WSU will ID the disease for you at the Puyallup Research Center Plant Clinic. I wouldn't recommend you treat with anything until you get a good ID. Banner/Medallion combination controls fusarium spread. Costs about $10 1000/sq. ft. or more depending on where you buy. Lasts 21-28 days or longer. Homeowner product choices are limited and Daconil has no turf label in Washington State. Neal
     
  10. snmhanson

    snmhanson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Neal, thanks for the reply. Sorry I didn't get back here ealier to thank you - what can I say, it's the holiday season. Anyway, I don't remember what type of fertilizer I put on other than it was a fall or winter fertilizer low in nitrogen. I also fertilized again with a general winter fertilizer just before you posted your response. I don't think I've watered the lawn since around the beginning or middle of September as the soil seemed to stay relatively moist throughout late summer and early fall. It was probably pretty saturated from over-watering earlier in the summer. In any case I don't think the grass really needed it as there were plenty of green sections of lawn to contrast with my yellow sections. The lawn still looks about the same as it did at the beginning of fall, no worse, MAYBE a bit better but MAYBE I'm being optimisitic. I'm not sure I have a disease as I've looked through all my grass books and it doesn't look like anything shown in there. There is no distinct pattern to the yellowing, the grass is just yellowish in some areas and not in other areas. Maybe it's a nutrient deficiency as you suggested. It has pretty much stopped growing for the winter now anyway. It probably doesn't look as bad as I'm making it out to be, it's just not the nice lush green grass that I expected and have been striving for. I'll try to post a picture of it in the next day or two. Otherwise, since it's not getting worse anymore I may just ride it out until spring and see if it fills in then. Unless, of course, you or someone else can identify the problem and tell me what to do.

    Thanks again for the help.

    Matt
     

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