Return to the Lawn Care Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Lawn turning brown

Posted by lizzynola So California ( on
Thu, Feb 6, 14 at 0:21

Thank you dchall_san_antonio for your response. I am sorry I posted in the wrong place,

I have attached photos of the front yard as you asked.
We had a little rain and we are praying for more. Maybe we will get some tonight or in the AM :)

I went to HD today and asked the sales people in the garden area about grass/mixing grass and they did not have a clue!

Any help will be appreciated.

I have more photos but do not know how to post them all?

Love the forum!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Lawn turning brown

Okay, now this looks more like a northern grass lawn, specifically Kentucky bluegrass. Would you characterize your lawn as highly mixed? If so it would help to have nice, focused, close-up pictures of all the grass.

The good news is this looks normal for a cool winter with restricted water. I don't see obvious disease.

Have you had much rain in the past month?

I used to live in Hawthorne west of the 405 and drove up La Cienega to Baldwin Hills about monthly, so I'm fairly familiar with your area and climate. Is the See's Candy factory still up there?

RE: Lawn turning brown

Yes, See's candy is still on La Cienega, next to KABC :)

We have not had much rain, perhaps twice in the last month. We pray for more.

I thought maybe I should get more seed and apply all over the lawn to start up again.

Ok I will take photos of various other parts of the lawn because it may very well be mixed. Will post photos later.

Thanks again for your time!

RE: Lawn turning brown

A patch of nice growing grass.

RE: Lawn turning brown

Overall lawn facing South.
You can see where the brown is comng in. I hope all of the lawn does not turn brown.
I do not know about the tuna can method. How do I do it please!

RE: Lawn turning brown

The brown grass looks like dormant bermuda which is also getting too much shade to really thrive. That is also too much shade for Kentucky bluegrass to thrive.

The green grass looks like St Augustine that is being mowed too low. It's kind of hard to tell, still a little too much altitude away from the grass. Another lawn photography tip: try to take the pictures on a cloudy day or in the shade so you don't have so much contrast in the shades of green. Here are two examples. Both pictures were taken about 12 inches apart on the same day. Clouds were rolling through. Location is under a tree.

You can see how much easier it is to see the grass in the shady light. If you could get this close or closer it would really help to ID the grass.

Do you want to keep the green grass? If you do it right, you can probably have a lawn full of that by this time next year without doing anything heroic. No grass seed needed. Before I give you the whole St Aug plan, can you please post a better close up of that green stuff. St Aug has a very distinctive blade tip.

How have you been fertilizing?
Is your mower set toward the lowest setting or the highest?

Tuna can test goes like this. Put out several around the yard, check the time, and turn on the sprinklers. When the cans are all full, stop the clock. That's how long it takes to get a full inch of water. Remember that time. If you get runoff before the cans are full, then you have a different problem to deal with.

RE: Lawn turning brown


I love the can trick. Will try it is a few days. We are still being asked to conserve water.

That grass sure looks healthy and green?

So, what would happen if I simply scattered grass seed on the brown parts? Would it cause a big problem? Also, I have to speak to the gardner and ask him if he is cutting the grass too short! I would think the gardner would know what he is doing!
I have not put any fertilizer on the lawn at all! Perhaps that is the problem. What kind should I get?
Attaching close up of grass in two different areas of the yard.
Thanks again.

RE: Lawn turning brown

Another location.

RE: Lawn turning brown

Yes that is St Aug which is lacking in fertilizer. These pictures look like your flash went off. Taking good landscape pictures is harder than growing the grass.

The second picture I posted was to show what chlorosis looks like in St Augustine. We had just gotten a lot of rain which washes all the acidity out of our soil. Without going way off topic, the yellow blades in the center of the picture are what chlorosis looks like. Disease will turn grass yellow, too, but this grass is healthy.

Your gardener knows exactly what he's doing. He's mowing fast to get on to the next job. He's probably also bagging the grass to leave a giant example of how well he's doing the job. He will be very reluctant to change his mowing height, because he mows all the yards at the same height.

I'm a huge proponent of using organic fertilizer. Rather than paying extra for commercially bagged organic fertilizer, I buy the raw materials that go into it and spread those. In particular, this year I am advocating using alfalfa pellets (rabbit chow). Here is a picture showing the effectiveness of alfalfa pellets.

The picture was posted here a couple years ago by mrmumbles. He fertilized that one spot with alfalfa in mid May. He took the picture in mid June. You can see the improved color, density, and growth.

You can buy rabbit food at a feed store. Here are some stores in your area to call and see who has it in 50-pound bags - oh and ask the price. I'm guessing it will be $12.50 per bag. If none of them carry it, ask them who might. You might have to go east as far as Covina or south to San Pedro to find it. Those places have horses and better feed stores.

Fernando's Feed & Supply
752 e. Manchester Ave., Los Angeles, CA β€Ž
(323) 203-0874 β€Ž

Adams Feed & Supply Inc
8707 Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA β€Ž
(323) 587-0670 β€Ž

Paramount Pet Entertainment (Pet Store)
8055 Rosecrans Ave #107, Paramount Ca, CA β€Ž
(562) 392-2358 β€Ž Β·

California By-Products
2833 Leonis Blvd, Vernon, CA β€Ž
(323) 583-1645 β€Ž

Animal Feed
8611 California Ave, South Gate, CA β€Ž
(323) 567-5138

The application rate is 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. It takes a full 3 weeks to see the improvement with organics. When I first started with it I used corn meal at 10 pounds per 1,000. I was starving my yard. Alfalfa is a better food and doubling the rate makes a world of difference.

St Aug should always be mowed at the mower's highest setting. Water deeply (1 inch) and infrequently to allow the soil surface to dry completely before watering again. With the fertilizer it will spread and become more dense. I'd like to see the 'after' pictures in a year.

RE: Lawn turning brown

Forgot about seeding. There should be no need to seed anything into St Augustine. There is no St Augustine seed, so just baby it and it will fill in. St Aug grows about 5 feet out in all directions every spring and fall. So you get about 10 feet of extensions every year. But it only does this when the weather is right, watered, and fertilized.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Lawn Care Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here