New Sod is turning yellow

GdierkingJuly 18, 2011

Hi,

I am new to the forum and am hoping someone can provide me with some guidance. I had new sod laid in my back yard to replace a lawn that my 2 dogs (Rottweillers) killed with urine spots. I cannot recall the type of sod that was laid down but I was told that it is a type that does well in swampy areas and cannot be over watered. I live in NJ and have a very sandy type soil. For the first month that we had the grass we watered it once daily at all times of the day for about 30 mins to 1 hr. After a month, we started watering it every other day or 2-3x per week. About 3 weeks ago I noticed that some of the grass looks like it is covered with a white film or powder looking substance. In some areas it looks blueish. I also had 3 spots that were covered with what almost looked like hardened dog throw-up but I know my dogs did not throw up on the lawn because they are only let out in a certain area. When I tried raking it out of the grass a reddish brown powder/smoke filled the air. I was told by our neighbor that it was a fungus or mold. Since then, the grass has turned yellow in patches (about 40% of the lawn). The grass that borders my deck and patio has also all turned yellow but I think that may be because my sprinkler has a hard time reaching that area. I am wondering if the fungus is what killed the grass and if there is a way to safely treat it being that my sod is only about 2 months old. I also have a lot of tall weed grass (i believe it is called sedge grass which is also usually found in swamps) popping up. Is there a way to safely get rid if this. I already made the mistake of spraying round up on a paved walkway that goes through an area of the grass which killed the grass the borders the walkway. I was told that I am going to have to re-seed that area. Does this sound about right? Also, the sod has not been fertilized since it has been laid and we are holding off until the summer is over as we don't want to burn the grass. You also may find it helpful to know that we have absolutely no shade in our back yard. I know I have a lot of questions but I am a newer homeowner and know nothing about lawn care and would like to learn. Thanks in advance for your advice.

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nearandwest(7)

Start by posting a picture or two or three if possible. As the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words".

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 8:43PM
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Jesse

Yes, pictures would be very helpful. Those symptoms is what I would imagine to be as a result of Rust, but without pictures it would be hard to tell for sure.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:26AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

There are three primary elements to lawn care. If you do these right you probably won't have to worry about the issues many people are having.

  1. Water deeply and infrequently. Deeply means at least an hour in every zone, all at once. Infrequently means monthly during the cool months and no more than weekly during the hottest part of summer. If your grass looks dry before the month/week is up, water longer next time. Deep watering grows deep, drought resistant roots. Infrequent watering allows the top layer of soil to dry completely which kills off many shallow rooted weeds.

  1. Mulch mow at the highest setting on your mower. Most grasses are the most dense when mowed tall. Bermuda, centipede, and bent grasses are the most dense when mowed at the lowest setting on your mower. Dense grass shades out weeds and uses less water when tall. Dense grass feeds the deep roots you're developing in 1 above.
  1. Fertilize regularly. I fertilize 4 times per year using organic fertilizer. Which fertilizer you use is much less important than numbers 1 and 2 above.

In addition to that, you can use organic fertilizer any day of the year and not worry about hurting the grass. It is the chemical fertilizers that can burn in the heat.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:59AM
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Gdierking

I am trying to post pictures. Hope this works!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 11:27AM
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Gdierking

Here is pic # 2

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 11:36AM
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Jesse

This makes it easy to see. Thanks for the pictures.

As for the weeds, that is nutsedge, and Sedgehammer should take care of it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 11:50AM
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nearandwest(7)

That discolored/yellow grass looks more like a warm-season grass to me, but I could easily be wrong. That is a dense looking turf, more like zoysia than cool-season grass. Maybe I need glasses. The taller weed growth is either nutsedge or green kyllinga. Look to see if it is a triangular-shaped stem.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 11:54AM
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Gdierking

What should I do to get my grass green again?? Btw, thanks to the above posters for your advice. Even with giving it a good watering 2x per week the soil is still very dry and the grass feels so dried out like hay. The weather has been very hot and dry here.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 12:52PM
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nearandwest(7)

First of all, have you contacted the person/people/company that laid/provided the sod to see if they can answer your questions? Do you have any type of warranty for the sod? I'm pressed for time right now, so I'll have to get back to this forum later.

Somebody jump in and help this dude. I'll be back on tonight.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 2:14PM
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tiemco

First step, call the sod guy and ask what type of grass he put down. I guess he could have used Zoysia, but that is highly unlikely. The white powdery coating could have been powdery mildew. Do you have a shady lawn? The dark reddish brown stuff, as bassplayer said, was probably rust. It's often said sod can be put down anytime, but all the watering it needs to establish roots makes summer a tough time due to all the fungal problems that go along with constantly wet grass. A lot of those brown/tan areas could be dead, but probably not from rust, maybe from powdery mildew, both tend to be fairly benign, but not always, especially on susceptible turf. You could be suffering from summer patch, another fungal disease. Most sod laid in your area has some KBG as a component. KBG is susceptible to powdery mildew (usually in shadier areas), rust, and summer patch.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 2:20PM
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Gdierking

I have tried calling the guy who laid the sod down numerous times but he does not return my calls. I have learned quickly that he is very unreliable. I found him on Craigslist where he advertised his landscaping company. Even though he told me verbally that he would maintain the lawn, we did not enter in to a contract. At this point I am thinking about calling a more reputable landscaping company to come take a look at it. Hopefully they can tell me what type of grass it is.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 3:04PM
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tiemco

That's too bad, unfortunately anyone can call themselves a landscaper. I am willing to bet it's either all KBG or a KBG/TTTF mix. If he is this unprofessional I bet he gets whatever sod is local, and that wouldn't be zoysia.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 6:18PM
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nearandwest(7)

tiemco: I definitely agree that in NJ, zoysia is an unlikely selection. The second picture looks oddly familiar to winter-time dormant zoysia. The picture is a little fuzzy to me, but anyway that is why I suggested that. But you are probably right about it being KBG. Well, the condition of the damaged turf is very unfortunate for being so new. I know the OP is highly disappointed.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 7:37PM
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Gdierking

We found out that the sod is fescue. Any advice??

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:55PM
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Jesse

First, it is possible that the turf is dead. We have to face that fact. Examine the "dead" grass carefully and see if you can see any signs of life such as green stem etc.

Second, in an effort to try to get it to "come back" water will be a key ingredient in the mix. It's not coming back without good, thorough soaking.

Then, in treating the affected area, you could try a fungicide. If the grass doesn't have any signs of life at all, then this may not be worth it to you as fungicides are outrageously expensive. Disarm is rated for use with powdery mildew and rust. You could try that. I would recommend calling an experienced pro with an application license and the right equipment for spraying it. It must be extremely precise. If you do try Disarm, WATER IT IN! Otherwise it will more or less go to waste.

Based off of what you said your problems is, I think there is a chance that fungicide will basically bring it back, but there is always that possibility that it won't, especially without positive ID of the disease.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 5:06PM
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troybt856(z7nj)

That is k bluegrass not tttf I'm 100% sure! The farms here in s-nj only grow blue or tttf not a mix.When it looks dark blueish it needs water bad.Water in the morning only.I think you have 2 problems disease and some sod did not take root its to dam HOT! I sodded my backyard last year 3000qft and my water bill was $400-500 for the summer!!! what town you live in? I'm in w berlin

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 2:47AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

If I understand correctly the grass looked fine for several weeks and suddenly got the various symptoms you described. Is that correct?

You severely over watered for the first month and that is what led to the symptoms. The installer should have told you to water 3x per day for 10 minutes each time for the first 3-4 weeks or until the sod roots knit into to the underlying soil. Then start backing off on watering until you are watering every 5-7 days for about an hour. Even your nutgrass problem could be caused by the overwatering. It is a swamp grass and thrives with too much water.

All the symptoms sound like fungal disease. The blob that looked like dog barf is commonly called dog barf fungus. It happens to be very ugly but it also happens to be harmless. You probably cannot really tell where that spot was several weeks later. The white stuff was likely powdery mildew. The blue areas were symptoms of not enough water but there are fungal diseases which cause the same symptom. The strong temptation is to add more water when that happens, but that is the wrong response. All the water goes to the fungus.

How high/low are you mowing it? The installer should have also told you to mow at 4 inches (mower's highest setting). But this time of year is when you should be skipping mowing and letting the grass get up to 5 or 6 inches to endure the summer heat. Scalping fescue this time of year could be the problem for the large area that is dying. If you are mowing at less than 3 inches, then you cannot blame the installer for much of any of this.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 10:46AM
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nearandwest(7)

"The blob that looked like dog barf is commonly called dog barf fungus."

hmmm...I'll have to look that one up in the Compendium of Turfgrass Diseases listing.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 11:05AM
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kausverm

It doesn't look like I can contact the OP directly, so I am reviving an old post. I wanted to know from Gdierking what solution he found for his yellow grass.

Regards,

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 12:21PM
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