Fescue Dying

Fescue Dying

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Hyrground – posted 01 November 2004 10:59

I had my fescue lawn overseeded in late Sept by a service. After ten days of watering as directed, we had several periods of rain over several days. The seedlings (2-3″ tall and very fine) in previously bare areas became matted to the ground and died. They could not be raked upright because still too tender. Worse yet, seedlings among the existing grass held the moisture and not only died but caused the existing grass to rot and die. I wonder if there is a disease at work. The lawn is now mostly dead, much worse than it was to begin with. The service calls this “an act of God” and says nothing can be done until next Spring. Is there anything that can be done now or could be done better or differently next time?

[This message has been edited by Hyrground (edited 02 November 2004).]

turfie – posted 13 November 2004 19:20

It sounds like you have a disease in your lawn. With the rains and extra watering, could be Pythium, which does cause quite a water-soaked, slimy appearance. Look to see if there is any cottony white substance on the leaves especially around the edge of dying areas, in the early morning. You might want to send a sample to a diagnostic lab to be sure. Your county extension agent could help you with that.

If it is fungal, I would suggest having a fungicide put down such as subdue maxx (mefenoxam), Banol (propamocarb), Captan, or Terrazole (etradiazole). People sometimes apply fungicides just prior to overseeding to prevent fungal problems. You might consider this for next year or for now if you want to try seeding again.

If only the new grass was dying and the old grass was unaffected, I might be inclined to think that this was mainly an erosion problem from the heavy rains. Seems the heavy rains may have exacerbated a fungal problem that was waiting for the perfect environment in which to flourish.

Good luck!Stephanie

GC Superintendent – posted 15 November 2004 23:22

I agree with Stephanie that there is good cause to believe that pythium may be the cause of fungal infection in this case. It is, however, impossible for me to be able to determine what the exact growing conditions might have been at the time of innoculation.(need more info!!!) Ample moisture has been established but were the temperatures high enough over a 24-48 hour period to cause pythium? Perhaps. At any rate I highly recommend that you do not use such products as Subdue Maxx, Banol or even Terrazole as it is not cost effective and you likely are not licensed to purchase or apply such products. Terrazole 35WP, for example, is listing at $471 for a 6×2 lb case right now. Banol is at $957.30 for a 2×1 gal case and Subdue Maxx is at $1,572.30 a 2×1 gal case right now. They are good products but none of them will help you right now. Fescue seed is cheap and you can start over next spring unless you are charging green fees for that dead fescue. Don’t hire a company to do a job like this. Do this job yourself on a weekend if you have the time. Seeding fescue is a simple thing to do and takes very little time. Chemicals are not neccessary and I have NEVER used any fungicides on any type of fescue. Just keep seeding and watering and lightly fertilizing until you achieve the level of turfgrass you desire. Take some time to do a few web searches on when the best times to seed, water(water everyday at least to begin with) and fertilize are for your area. Simply knowing these basic facts can take you a long way towards a nice fescue stand. Remember, fescues prefer partial shade. Just because a “lawn service” told you that they planted fescue doesn’t mean they did.(or should have) I’d wager they seeded with a “stock blend” that included Kentucky BG, annual BG and a red fescue. I’m not sure about a tall fescue getting Pythium.(or much of anything else) Perhaps it is possible as a seedling. More information is required.

Good luck.

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