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Cut Lawn Now Half of it Looks Dead - What Happened?

I'm new to this board so thanks in advance for any help. I had newly laid sod put down last fall (in September). This spring it was coming in very nicely. The yard looked lush and green and it was growing great.

Then, when it reached about 5" I cut it for the first time. That's when it went from great to horrible and now half of it looks dead and it's not really growing anymore in many places.

I'm not really sure what the heck happened. I live in Washington DC and it's not been hot and we've had rain so I don't think it's underwatered. I overseeded this week and have been watering but it looks awful and I can't figure out how cutting in once made it look like this since it looked great up until then. What can I do, if anything? Is it dead? Bad sod? Pics attached.
I am going to de thatch and try to lay more seed but not sure if that's the right move. Thanks in advance.

Newly Registered
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Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:18 pm

Re: Help please

This site sucks. Not a single reply

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Help please

this is why I encourage people to check the unanswered posts page regularly.

This is the second person recently who has been very disgruntled at zero responses. I think everyone deserves a response, even if it is to say I read your post, but I really don't know what would have caused that. Especially if you can suggest somewhere else they can try (master gardeners' association? whatever)
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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Green Thumb
Posts: 485
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:38 pm
Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast - zone 8b

Re: Cut Lawn Now Half of it Looks Dead - What Happened?

My guess would be nematodes.

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Cut Lawn Now Half of it Looks Dead - What Happened?

If the grass was 5 inches and he cut it to 1inch or less, the lawn was scalped. The grass looks bad because no more than one third of the blade should be cut at one time. If more needs to be cut then wait a week and cut another third, until the grass is the height it should be. The height of the grass depends on the time of year and the type of grass. The grass may need to be cut every 7-14 days depending on how fast it grows. The mower blades should be sharp and serviced annually. The soil looks dry. Grass is a water hog and needs 1 inch of rain or water a week. If the grass is fed and watered it should come back.

Only zoysia and bermuda grass can be scalped and even that is done in stages.

If people are going to spend a lot of money putting a lawn in, they should either hire a yardman to take care of it and at least water it properly or learn about proper lawn care. Almost every state with a master gardener program have publications on how to install and maintain the most common grasses for their zones.


This poster does not have a lot of patience. The post is only 4 days old. There may not be a lot of people interested in lawn care at this point in time. Most of the posters in this forum seem to be people needing advice with little experience with lawns and not very many people posting their love of lawns. I would not have any grass if the HOA did not require 50% lawn in the front yard and no "vegetative" plants. Apparently the HOA does not know that grass is technically edible.

Few of the posters in this forum stayed once they got an answer.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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