New lawn turning yellow?

TBone7281October 25, 2013

Location - Southwest PA (Pittsburgh area)

We built a house, which didn't come with a lawn so after we moved in we had the lot rock hounded, leveled, and hydro-seeded. This occurred during the last week of August. I believe the seed was "Penn State blend"... a mixture of rye and blue grass.

The guy who did the work said to keep it watered as long as possible so I watered basically every day (as long as it didn't rain) until the end of September or so, which seemed to be when the grass started to go dormant.

He also said that after a month, I should hit it with a round of fertilizer, just set to a little less than it would normally call for and NOT to use weed and feed. Then a month after that, do it again.

I used a rotary spreader and Scotts Turfbuilder "Starter" fertilizer. The instructions said to set it at 3 1/4 so I set the spreader to 2 3/4 and fertilized the yard around 9/25 or so.

Since then, I've noticed that a LOT of the yard has turned yellow. It is now the time where the landscaping/lawn guy told me I should be doing the second round of fertilizer... but I'm hesitant in case it might be the fertilizer causing the yellowing. I certainly don't want to need a lawn all over again come Spring.

Here are a couple pictures I took real quick. The last one shows our yard (closest to camera) compared to our neighbors yard, which was planted about a year before ours and is well established.

Thanks in advance for any help. If I left any info out, let me know.


This post was edited by TBone7281 on Fri, Oct 25, 13 at 15:52

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Good for you for posting closeup photos. It sure looks like nitrogen deficiency, which wouldn't be surprising in a new lawn that had been planted on virgin soil. If this were my lawn in a northern climate, I would punch it with nitrogen now and maybe again around thanksgiving, weather permitting.

Check out this link, which looks just like your photos.

Here is a link that might be useful: Turf Nutrients: Nitrogen

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 10:24AM
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Thank you Mulchmama for your reply. I too had this problem over winter and was not able to determine the problem, It now makes perfect sense. I am in australia theirfore we are coming into summer now can I still hit with nitrogen ?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 4:00AM
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Emma, I'm not familiar with the schedules for Australia, but I would imagine springtime is a good time to fertilize, as long as you have cool season grasses like KY bluegrass, ryegrass or fescue. Warm season grasses like zoysia are on a different schedule.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 9:25AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

See the dark brown spots up and down the blades on some of the blades? See how the yellow spots come and go between the green spots on some of the blades. Those spots and variations indicate a fungal disease at work.

What was your watering schedule? You said daily for a month. How many times per day and how long each time?

Rye and Kentucky bluegrass is a very weird blend. Did you notice the ryegrass sprouting after the first week and another round of sprouting 3 weeks later? Many people will stop watering right before the KBG sprouts and end up with a ryegrass lawn instead of the intended KBG lawn. But if you know to continue keeping the seed moist for another 3 weeks, then you risk getting a disease in the rye. That could be what you're seeing.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Fungus was also one of my big fears. The landscaper basically told me to make sure I watered past the first month because he said it could take that long for the Kentucky bluegrass to sprout. I watered it once a day, in the evenings for about 15 min in each spot. (3 sprinklers that i moved around.) The rye did pop up very quickly, but as near as I can tell, the bluegrass didn't come in everywhere it was supposed to. In the pictures I posted you can see some spots that are very green compared to the rest... this is where the bluegrass came in completely like I think it was supposed to.

Towards the end of the daily waterings, maybe the last week or two, I backed off how long I was watered to 10 minutes. In places that seemed thin I could see that there was black stuff (a mold or fungus of some sort, I assume) that was forming on the surface of the dirt. It seemed to clear up once I stopped watering daily though.

I used a combination of the Scotts Turfbuilder "Starter" and some Winterguard that I had left over from our old house and spread that last weekend. Maybe I'm just being hopeful, but it seems like the yard IS getting better. I'm a little skeptical, but the neighbors I've talked to have said that our yard looks "really good" and "way better than ours did." Which might explain why they all use lawn services now...

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 7:53PM
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