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New lawn going brown

Discussion in 'Lawns' started by dsburny, Dec 7, 2016.

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  1. dsburny

    dsburny Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi

    Just joined the forum, and am a relative newbie at gardening, so this is my first post.

    I moved into my new build house last year, and sowed the garden at the end of September. Its been growing for over a year now, but the main lawn is not looking good. I know it is full of buttercups, but the grass itself has gone brown and looks pretty dead.
    Images show the garden and some close ups of the buttercups, dead(?) grass, and some dark brown looking grass type which is starting to appear as well.

    Any tips/suggestions as to what I should be doing for the new year and spring would be greatly appreciated?

    Thanks
    Dale
     

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  2. CanadianLori

    CanadianLori Total Gardener

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    Welcome to the forum!

    You'll get lots of great advice if you tell us where you are or better yet add the info to your profile.

    I've had my struggles over the years with lawns and still haven't managed a great lawn so am looking forward to the great input you will get here :)
     
  3. Liz the pot

    Liz the pot Gardener

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    Welcome to the forum.
    Can I ask what type of grass mixture you used?
    Have you used any type of fertiliser?
    What is the makeup of the soil in your area and what did you use as topsoil content?
    How often do you cut your lawn?
     
  4. shiney

    shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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    Welcome to GC :dbgrtmb: @dsburny

    Liz is one of our lawn experts so you should get good advice when you have answered her questions.

    I'm a bit puzzled (not uncommon for me :heehee:) when you say you sowed it in September as that doesn't look like a newly sown lawn to me :dunno: :scratch: so do you mean September 2015?
     
  5. dsburny

    dsburny Apprentice Gardener

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    Thanks for the reply. I am from Northern Ireland. Hopefully I will get some good tips, as I would like to know how to maintain my garden properly.
     
  6. dsburny

    dsburny Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi Liz

    Thanks for the reply.
    The grass I used was Green Velvet All Rounder.

    (sorry, cant post links yet)
    The only fertilizer I have used is a bit of Yara Mila NPK 8-24-24 + 5% SO3. This was put on last autumn.

    I am not sure of the soil makeup to be honest, but I do know the field we built in was always full of buttercups. When we were clearing the site, I was told it was'good soil', as it had good drainage for the septic tank. Our top soil is the original soil we stripped off the field to build the house.

    In the summer, I would usually have cut the lawn once a week. At the beginning, I would have cut it on the top (5th) setting, but moved it down to the 4th after about 3 months of cutting.

    I really appreciate any help/tips which would improve my garden. If you have any other queries, I will try my best to answer.

    Thanks
    Dale
     
  7. dsburny

    dsburny Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi Shiney

    Thanks, yeah I meant September last year, so it has had a full years growth.

    Have to say, its nice to see a good active forum, I am impressed with the response times of members so far!

    Regards
    Dale
     
  8. shiney

    shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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    Hi Dale,
    There are just a few, like me, that are not working and have access to our computers regularly during the day - or night. This gives time for the real workers to get on here and answer your questions :heehee:

    It appears as though you didn't weedkill the buttercups before sowing so they are going to give you some problems. Unless Liz or the others can come up with a solution for that then you are going to have to spot kill them. :phew:

    How big is the lawn?
     
  9. Liz the pot

    Liz the pot Gardener

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    Thanks for the info.
    When I looked at the photo it reminded me straight away of a lawn I looked at 2 years ago which was coloured just like that and others I have seen.
    I needed to find out the grass type and the one you used uses perennial ryegrass and fescue.
    Both these are prone to what is called Red Thread which is a lawn decease that produces colouring just like yours and is wide spread in a lawn area.
    I'm not there to look at the lawn first hand so it's more a case of trying to do my best over the web.
    Let's see if what I explain is what you may have seen develop over time.
    The damage from Red Thread starts as small patches that grow together and form a overall blighting of the turf area.
    It's mostly down to a low nitrogen deficiency where the turf is stressed and the main types of grass effected are perennial ryegrass and fine fescues which is what the seed makeup is for the product you used.
    It's a common problem and can be spotted easily if you look at the very tips of the grass and can see either a little section of red or pink sections.
    Did you spot a slow change to the turf over the season?

    The other problem is its normal to not just have one lawn disease but another one or two also pop up at the same time and can be often missed.

    A heavy infestation of weed will not help and I don't know the size of the garden but Ive had very limited success with granular type weed and feeds on that type weed and sadly I only use commercial liquid which is not suitable for home owners. I would say it may be best to try to obtain some quotes from various lawn services in your area that can treat the weed all be it when the grass is not in such a week state and when the weed is active once the winter is over.

    I'm only giving you info based on the pics and want I think is going on as I'm not there to see first hand and lawn diseases are hard at the best of times to pick up on.
     
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    • dsburny

      dsburny Apprentice Gardener

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      The main part of the big lawn is 20m * 20m, with some extra areas as well, so spot killing them is not really an option I think.
       
    • dsburny

      dsburny Apprentice Gardener

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      Hi Liz,

      Thanks for the detailed reply. I think part of my problem was I didnt pay enough attention to the lawn before the buttercups and discoloration got bad. From what I can remember, the whole lawn seemed to gradually go that colour, apart from around the edges, which is a good bit greener than the centre. I did spray some Agritox on the lawn towards the end of the summer to try and deal with the buttercups, but I sprayed it in a very dilute form as I was worried about damaging the grass. I do prefer to try and fix things myself, rather than getting someone in to do it. I had a look at some pictures of Red Thread, and I am not sure if the main grass ever really had that red tinge to the end of the stalks. There is some type of plant growing which appears to be spreading too, which I have added a picture of. Not sure if the picture is a good enough close up to see what it looks like properly, but there is a reddy tinge off that. This stuff appears in small clumps in several parts of the garden. I have read that it is better to treat the weeds first then apply the fertiliser after the weedkiller has taken affect. In spring time, I will try and get some fertiliser which is higher in nitrogen content than what I have been using. I believe high nitrogen fertiliser is better to sew during spring/summer?

      Any ideas what the plant is in this picture?
       

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    • shiney

      shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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      We need much better lighting on the plant to get a good picture. :noidea:
       
    • dsburny

      dsburny Apprentice Gardener

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      This any good to you?
       

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    • shiney

      shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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      Thanks for the better photo. It doesn't really mean much to me but I'm sure that @Liz the pot will have a much better idea.
       
    • Liz the pot

      Liz the pot Gardener

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      Photo is hard to see what plant it was. Did it flower and what colour if so as i can see what look like seed head/dead heads.

      The secret to getting a Herbicide to work at its best is when a targeted plant is in full growth. To encourage a better rate of kill many commercial lads will fertilise first then treat with a spray afterward. The fertiliser encourages not just the grass growth but also the weed and this in turn gives a better kill rate, this is weather dependant.
      Spring time is good for an Autumn feed/Spring feed. The higher N feed is used once the warmer weather has set in but as with all chemicals you try to limit its use as much as possible as not to impact on the environment.
      Its worth noting that weak or stressed grass can be damaged through herbicide use and I can't comment on the Agritox that you used but with selective weed Herbicides or with any type of weed/plant you need to identify the plant first so that the correct Herbicide is used. Many of these are aimed at the professional market and as such require training which is why it may be best to get a company in to look at the grass and weed problem so that it can be dealt with. Applications used at the incorrect dosage can also be harmful and not all liquid herbicides can be applied through a knapsack or bottle spray system.
       
    • dsburny

      dsburny Apprentice Gardener

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      No flowering, just similar to grass, only a browny red color, with a bit of a head on top. Agritox is basically NCPA, which is supposedly good for killing buttercups, which is why I sprayed it. I know it wasnt the best time of the year to be treating. I might try the fertiliser in spring and then try and get rid of the weeds once they are growing strongly. I will try and get some way of identifying the type of plant that is in those pictures as well before i treat it.

      I'm sure you have to deal with amateurs like me all the time who dont know what they are doing, but I like to figure out and know what the problems are and how to solve them.
       
    • Sheal

      Sheal Total Gardener

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      I find Weedol works well on Creeping Buttercups @dsburny. These weeds put out runners so it will need to be applied wherever they pop up. With perseverance they can be eliminated.
       
    • Liz the pot

      Liz the pot Gardener

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      We all started off green, its part of the joys of gardening. What you may find best is the weed may be local to your area and you might be able to track it down that way which local lawn companies will know.
      The Herbicide you used should not be used on lawns under a year of age and this Herbicide is not to be used in via a hand sprayer as per info below.
      More info can be found here but its not really for domestic use.
      http://technical.nufarm.co.uk/documents/Herbicide/Label/Agritox_labelinfo.pdf

      Sheal has mentioned a domestic product that can be used and these really are the ones you should look at or again use a company that are trained in use of professional pesticides.
      You may have to pay once but a good company will give you plenty of tips like controlling buttercups by scarification if non chemical use is required. I do a fair bit of consultation in my year of work and its a good start for customers wanting to be more hands on.
      Some times chemicals cause more damage to turf than other aspects of turf related problems.
       
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      • shiney

        shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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        There are three different approaches that come to mind. Professional, do it yourself or don't do it.

        Professional is the easy way to go but can be expensive (can always get a quote) but less satisfying if you like doing things yourself.

        DIY is time consuming but can be done by using (carefully) domestic products or by taking a lot more time and working manually on sections at a time. I would be more inclined to work on removing the buttercups and leave the grass to be worked on when you have got rid of them.

        My preferred option (as I'm lazy, stingy and have about half an acre of lawn) is to welcome the growing and spreading wildlife plants to my garden and just ask them to be green. :snork: Works for me! :thumbsup: Mine is at least 40% moss, 30% daisies, clover and a variety of plantlife that has come from the birdseed, and 30% grass. It all looks green when I cut it. :noidea: Over the years I have gradually dug out all the buttercups.
         

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