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What's wrong with this lawn?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by dcwalker, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. dcwalker

    dcwalker LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    This is my neighbors lawn. He planted fescue last fall and it came in nicely. It was very green and beautiful until it started turning yellow a couple of weeks ago. He waters regularly and we have been getting some rain around here as well. Could he be watering too much or does he need to water more? Oh yea, and it's been pretty hot here lately. I the 90's almost every day.
    (first time posting pics- Hope they look alright.)

    Thanks- DC

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  2. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 340

    What about sun and shade - is this all in some pretty good shade or is there a lot of sun on it? Mid-afternon sun?

    And what do we mean by regular watering? Normal proper watering is one inch per week applied in one deep watering. Many people water every day.
    In sandy soil, fescue may need more than one watering per week. And the heat of OK may require a little extra. Most of our recent rain has been pretty light. Actually still in drought conditions. (looks like a bunch of rain coming now, though - good deal!) Do they have a sprinkler system? Was fertilizer applied at some point?

    I have some nice fescue lawns, still looking pretty good. Some I will expect to stay nice through the summer. Some are already dieing out from lack of water. Some have some browning areas from lots of sun. A new spring fescue sod installation is failing from severe over-watering. Getting customers to water properly is always a huge problem.

    I can't tell much from the pictures, but I wonder about the yellowing. A couple of years ago I had a newly seeded "fescue" lawn that got really yellow about this time and also grew 14" in one week. The yellow color was a clue that this was actually annual ryegrass. I talked to the landsacper who did it and he told me he had seeded fescue three times over the fall/winter and it would not take (probably was using old seed) so he just seeded annual ryegrass and did not tell the customer. The customer insisted that I seed fescue even though it was starting to get hot. I told her it would not work. She insisted so we did it. The ryegrass died out and the fescue came in great. Still one of my nicest looking lawns. She has an irrigation system and the yard is pretty shady. I wonder if he maybe used a mix which had some ryegrass in it? Some of the stuff people buy at Lowe's or Home Depot will be mixtures that might contain annual ryegrass. If annual ryegrass is present it should be dieing out soon. Not familiar with perennial ryegrass but that could be a possibility also - perhaps it tends to have a yellow color sometimes.

    Also I wonder if herbicides have been applied. Sometimes some of those chemicals, especially if applied by non-professionals, will cause some yellowing. If so, should be temporary.

    Just a few thoughts - I'm no expert - there may be other possibilities. Sometimes people at sod farms have some pretty good knowledge.
  3. vipermanz

    vipermanz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,773

    lack of iron and looks like over watered to me
  4. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 340

    vipermanz might have it there. Ironite (available at Home Depot and most greenhouses) might be good to try. Iron helps with greening and lack of iron can be indicated by yellow color.

    Also fescue is happier at 3" than when mowed lower....
  5. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 963

    Could be fugus due to all the watering too!
  6. zgman

    zgman LawnSite Member
    from va
    Posts: 55

    I wonder if the lawn has red thread or a different disease? Parts of my neighbor's yard looks similar to your pics, though it's a bit hard to tell without a closeup. A month ago I could see the pink cotton threads, which in parts of the yard are now dead and white.
  7. dcwalker

    dcwalker LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    yea Viper, I did tell him to put some ironite down.(Good stuff!) And yardmonky, you might have something with the rye grass. He has been over seeding with it. The area is pretty well shaded as he has 2 big trees that pretty well cover most of the front lawn but part of it does get some sun. That seems to be where most of the yellowing is. So, what do you guys think? More or less water? He says he waters everyday, (doesn't always happen though as he relieze on his teenage kids to do it.) Being fescue, We thought that's what you had to do during the hot oklahoma summers. Some of the really nice fescue lawns I see around here seem to get watered daily. Maybe he just needs to water the part that gets sun more often. He's getting p.o.ed because my lawn looks great.LOL :D

    I'll keep you guys posted. Thanks for the feedback.
  8. dcwalker

    dcwalker LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    Hey Monkey, I'm in Norman too. You could just drive by and check it out. LOL :D
  9. WoodBrothersLC

    WoodBrothersLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 418

    I might be wrong, but I think it's Powdery Mildew.

  10. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    If the temps are in the 90's then the Fescue needs around 1" of water a week to stay healthy. If through a sprinkler sys then that watering needs to come no later then 3PM in the afternoon, any later and you will get fungus and that is partly what this looks like and it also partly looks like heat stress from not enough water, but with the tiny pictures you posted it is also really hard to see. Within REASON if he waters no later than mid day then he really couldn't get to much water in it in 90 degree, again though that is with a REASONable amount of water. I little N on it wouldn't hurt either in the greening process.

    Also he could be cutting it too short. Hopefully he is cutting at at least 3" and even better yet 3.5"-4".

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