Question: Lawn looking like straw after cut

By | 15/08/2017
New grass turning straw-like

I received this question from a reader from surrey in August 2017 who is worried his newly turfed lawn looks like straw.

Hi.

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.

New grass turning straw-like - zoomed inI have been cutting it twice a week for the last month but on the last cut it showed all these brown straw patches. Mainly in the middle of the garden.

A worm found on a lawnAlso, tonight I was picking up leaves and I came across this creature. I would like to know what this is. (Picture attached).

Again, thanks for being willing to answer my questions.

Kind regards

Lee Edwards

 

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.

The creature you found on your lawn is a humble earthworm. These are nothing to worry about and are friends to your grass, breaking down organic matter and aerating the soil.

I hope this is helpful. Thanks for the question.

Kris Lord

2 thoughts on “Question: Lawn looking like straw after cut

    1. Kris Lord Post author

      Hi Lorraine
      The very best products for red thread treatment are professional fungicides. Contact your local lawn care company as these are only available with a pesticide application license.
      Kris

      Reply

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