I received this question from a reader from surrey in August 2017 who is worried his newly turfed lawn looks like straw.
Unfortunately I live in surrey but came across your site. Thank you for offering to reply to my email. I installed a lawn 3 months ago. I put down 20 tonnes of topsoil. It was growing great and luscious and green. Then it went a bit brown so I fed it. It went a nice green colour again.
Again, thanks for being willing to answer my questions.
Hi Lee, Thanks for your question.
You don’t specify, but I assume that your new lawn is turf rather than seed. If so, it does seem to have settled well in the three months it has been down. As a professional, I am not concerned with how it is looking right now. The grass it still growing, does not appear to be lumpy and looks like it has taken across the whole lawn. This is great to see, and much less common than you might think.
Difficulties with turf grass looking like straw
Moving turf from the ideal growing conditions of a field all the way to your garden is stressful for grass. It needs to adjust to new light levels, soil conditions and water availability. It also and needs to establish a new root system. These challenges leave it vulnerable to attack from fungal diseases. And your case is a classic example of red thread lawn disease.
Turf often contains a large percentage of fescue grasses. Fescue grasses are very prone to attack from fungal diseases, especially red thread. This is one of the reasons why I favour seeding a new lawn rather than turfing it. Red thread will now be in your lawn so it is likely to return whenever conditions favour the disease. This causes it to look like straw in patches.
The most effective way to combat a fungal infection is to apply a fungicide. You will need to call in a lawn care professional to do this as the most effective fungicides are for professional use only.
After a fungicide has been applied you will see a dramatic green up of the lawn in just a couple of weeks. You may need to re-apply this a couple of times a year to keep the red thread disease at bay.
After this, if you keep it fed and mown, your lawn will look great and do well.
I hope this is helpful. Thanks for the question.