Marathon - green\brown\yellow

boltsfanJanuary 29, 2007

Good morning...

I had a new Marathon lawn installed about a year ago and now it has turned a more greenish brown yellow color due to the recent frost in So Cal. I am in Zone 10 (I think) in North County San Diego.

The lawn was a beautiful green in the front and back about 3 months ago. I have not fertilized since June and am wondering how often I should fertilize. It has not been mowed for about 6 weeks either as i heard it was better to keep the grass longer to avoid the frost killing the roots. It is currently being watered once per day for 7 minutes at 8am in the morning.

Any help or advice to restore my lawn is appreciated.

Thank you!

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bermudakid(9, Southern Cal)


1. Watering too often. Water no more than three days a week. Mon, Wed, and Friday. The length of time should be about 7 minutes like you have it. Watering every day will cauase yellowing because of root rot, disease and washing away the nutrients.

2. Fertilize per the Scott's fertizing schedule. So if it has been since June then I would fertilize lightly now and then a normal application in March.

3. Skip a mowing if you think it will be frosty. But do not scalp the lawn on the next mowing after you let the lawn grow too long though. Mow twice in a week when you do that. Lower it down a notch on the second mowing in that week. Then return to once a week mowing

4. Your grass will be fine.

Good luck

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 9:50PM
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Thank you for the post and advice!

I also spoke to the local nursery and they suggested I do a "quick green" which the bag of fertilizer suggests as well. Fertilize once a week for two straight weeks.

They also recommended the same watering schedule. Deeper watering but not as often.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 11:27AM
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Well... issue has not really improved. Watering 3 days per week (8 minutes per zone). Grass is not growing like it did last Spring\Summer. Color is green with some yellowing. I have tried the Marathon fertilizer and followed Quick Green instructions but did not see any results.

Is there another product I can try? Maybe spread some compost or other organic compound to green it up?

It was a nice dark green when it was installed and up until 6 months ago it looked great. I still think the unusual cold weather we got last Winter did something to it. Neighbors lawns are about the same.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 2:42PM
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How much water goes down when you water for 8 minutes? You're aiming for an inch per week, from rain and watering combines. So if you water 3x per week, you should be putting down 1/3 inch each time you water.

To determine how much you're putting down, spread some tuna cans around the yard before you start watering. After watering, check the level of the water in the cans. You may find that you're not getting nearly enough water.

You should also do it more than once. My water pressure has really dropped off over the past few years. I did the tuna can test and discovered that I'm not even putting down half as much as I thought I was. No wonder my lawn was getting stressed.

You also want to try to cut down on the frequency and increase the amount of water applied each time. If possible, you want to apply an inch all in one day, rather than in three days. You may find that this doesn't work for you, and you need to apply 1/2 inch on two different days.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 3:14PM
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Marathon seems to be a tall fescue, and if so it can sure take a freeze (our fescues survive 15° weather in February with no snow cover).

Not that I'm saying this is quite the same stuff, mind you. :-) I don't know Marathon. I did see the "tolerant to 25°" notation down on the page there. If the frost didn't kill it, it should have long since recovered.

Is the root system healthy? If you dig a bit, the roots on that stuff should go on for days.

You could be short on one of the micronutrients, in which case adding iron may help (chlorosis leads to a yellow, weaker lawn). Alternately, an application of a good organic fertilizer would help add those back (but they tend to be weaker on the iron than it sounds like you may need).

If you could post a photo, that might help.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 3:17PM
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Billl(z7 nc)

Sounds like it is time for a soil test. If you are fertilizing, mowing and watering and the grass still doesn't green up, you have to start looking for "hidden" problems. Low iron is possible. The PH could be too low or too high.

Also, did you rake out the dead blades of grass after your frost? If not, they may just be sitting there giving the lawn a bit of a salt and pepper look. I would rake the area well and if time/money permits, spread a thin layer of compost over the area - 1/4" or so - basically just a dusting. Then, if the soil test finds something more specific, you can address that specifically.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 4:27PM
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