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Help with grass coloring

Hey guys, I'm still looking around the forum to see if I can see what my issue is, but I was hoping someone can set my mind at ease in the meantime.

I' new to doing this lawn care stuff so bare with me... I tilled up my whole front yard (last year had the plumbers replace my sewer drain from the house to the road, and didnt want to cover it with different grass, and had to till down the high spot anyways, figured I'd start new). Hit it with some milorgranite fertilizer, planted kentucky blue sun and shade mix seed, covered with some straw. The grass grew very well! Its sitting under a big spread out tree that will blanket the front yard in the late afternoon around 4pm when the sun west of the tree. I let it grow initially to 4.5 inches and cut it back to 3.5 inches on the first cut... A few days later I noticed some brown tips, and looked into it and the suggestion was a dull blade on the mower... So I got it sharpened and a week from the first cut I cut it again, this time down to 3 inches. But the tips stayed brown/white and I can now see some strands that are completely brown and dying.

I don't own any pets, I first watered the yard twice a day, a good soak in the morning before sun cam up, and later in the afternoon gave it a light covering when the shade came. I havent seen any issues at all until the first mowing, not using any fertilizer since the first milorgranite covering on the first planting. I cut back to watering once a day, and not doing as much as I was initially, since I was afraid I was overwatering.

Any suggestions to help my get on the right track is greatly appreciated!

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Hi and welcome to the Forum! I'm not much of a lawn person, but since you didn't get a response, I'll make a stab, just to bump your post so more people will see it.

To start with, you need to tell us where you are located and what your weather has been like, while you have been trying to get this grass growing. There are hardly any garden questions that can be discussed without regard to location/ climate.

When did you plant your seed? Grass seed is usually planted in spring or fall. In the heat of summer, it is very difficult to get grass seed established.

If you are having weather like I am (97 degrees!!), then I think your grass tips are just getting burned. The grass generally looks pretty healthy, so I'd just continue to take good basic care of it it - don't let it dry out too much, don't cut it too short when you mow...

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Thank you for the repsonse! They grass is getting worse, and seems like it isnt growing much anymore. I live in Illinois and the weather has been a constant 90-95* last 2 weeks. I've still been hand watering every day. The front yard was planted about 2 to 3 months ago, and sprung up just fine, but with the weather getting this hot I wonder if it has had an effect? The back yard was planted about a month ago and I havent done anything different between the 2 of them except cutting, the back yard hasnt been cut at all yet, but it is growing pretty well.
The front yard is starting to look like that powdery mildew by having some of those brown spots on them but the grass isnt powdery itself. And it seems Isolated to just a few different areas.

few more pictures with the brown spots showing more, and it looks like the root structure isnt there as well as I thought it would be?

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Since I don't grow Kentucky blue grass, I cannot say anything about what it should look like.

If you are using a rotary mower it tears the blade like a weed whacker. A power reel mower is more expensive but is better for the grass blades because it cuts more like a knife. You still need a sharp mower.

It sounds like you mowed it correctly. Never cut off more than 1/3 of the blade at a time.

Insects can cause brown tips but since this occurred after mowing it may be from that. As a test hand clip a small section of the grass with sharp shears mainly to cut off the brown tips. If the brown tips do not come back it is probably from the mower.

Your type of grass is prone to fungal diseases. Test your watering. You should be putting down about an inch a week of water by sprinkler or in rain. Set out tuna cans at 2 ft intervals turn on the sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill the cans. That would be how long you have to water to put down and inch of water. I divide the time in two and water on Tuesdays and Fridays. I also have a rain guage to tell me how much it rained. It is a handy thing to have. Many times it seems like it rained but it barely got the rain guage wet.

Check your soil drainage. You can do a drainage test but since the grass is already in, you just need to dig down and see how deeply watered the soil is after you water. Wait a few days and dig another hole to see how moist it is. the top dries out faster than the deeper soil, so you want to know how moist it is about 4 inches down. The purpose of long deep watering is to encourage the roots to go deep where the moisture is. If you only water for 10 minutes a day the roots will stay shallow and the soil will dry out quickly and the grass will be less drought tolerant and dry out faster. Grass needs to get the right amount of water or you will see drying and dying especially if the lawn is not established yet.

On the other hand if your soil drains poorly, you will need to adjust watering to give the soil time to dry out otherwise you will have more issues with fungus. Fungal problems can occur as brown spots usually in the low spots in the lawn or as an expanding brown ring (fairy rings). If after a heavy rain you see the mushroom appearing on the lawn then you know what that is from. Fungus in the lawn is not necessarily a bad thing. Usually they are there to consume the decaying matter. If there is a lot of it then it is usually because the grass roots are dying for some reason.

The other things that commonly can cause grass tips to brown and brown spots are lawn grubs. Fast growing grasses with soft blades are more susceptible than a tougher grass like zoysia in warm climates. If you have Japanese beetles, milky spore should be applied in the fall when the grubs are active. It needs to be applied in patches and should help control Japanese beetle grubs in the future. There are other products available to control other kinds of grubs, but you want to make sure that is the problem first. Check out the Michigan link. ... 27553.html ... _your_lawn ... e-beetles/

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A lot of good info! Thank you. I havent set out any tuna cans to measure my watering, since it was new grass I just watered it twice a day to keep it moist, and then backed off to once a day after that first cut, figured it was time to go to a normal cycle (that 1 inch a week you talked about)... It seems the grass has stunted growth for now, maybe cutting it to that 3 inches the last time with the heavy heat and sun wasnt a good Idea. I Also bagged the first cut before reading you should just mulch it to keep the ground covered to retain moisture.

I'll go out and check how moist the soil is and set up cans to measure my watering cycle.

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