I currently live in North Carolina and this past fall I had tall fescue sod and an irrigation system put in my backyard. This spring I used Scotts fertilizer (in March). Since then I have been watering my lawn twice a week for 25 minutes each session (unless it was already raining).

I was cutting my lawn once every couple of weeks for the past couple of months. In the last two weeks I have started doing it once a week (I learned that you do not want to cut more than 1/3 of the blade with each mow). I use a bagged lawn mower and take the grass clippings away from my yard.

A couple of weeks back I noticed that my fescue was starting to wilt (see attached pictures). I have tried doing some research online but the only information I can find points to Brown Spot disease. Looking at my grass it does not appear to match the description of brown spot disease though.

Why is my fescue wilting and what can I do to make it green again (and stay green)? I am considering consulting with TruGreen but figured I would seek advice online first.

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    Try cutting often and leaving the clippings in the lawn. Grass clippings add nutrients back into the ground, and they can also help hold in moisture. Watering during the day can cause scorching (imagine millions of tiny magnifying glasses burning your grass), so make sure you are watering in the evening. – Tester101 May 25 '11 at 12:40
  • I second the comment about leaving the clipping in the lawn. I am very skeptical of the "scorching" claim (see also skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2853/…). – auujay May 25 '11 at 14:59
  • @auujay: maybe the reason I gave to not water during the day was the wrong one, but either way it is better to water in the evening. Grass needs lots of water, and if most of the water evaporates before getting into the ground the grass does not get as much water. – Tester101 May 25 '11 at 15:38
  • You mentioned you just put in the sod last fall, it might be possible that the roots of the grass have not spread deep enough yet. If this is the case you may have to water more often; as grass needs lots of water to be healthy, it's possible the sod is drying out too fast. – Tester101 May 25 '11 at 15:43
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about lawn care which now belongs on our sister site, Gardening & Landscaping. – Niall C. Nov 26 '14 at 15:35

Have you had the soil tested? I think you can find places on the web that you can send samples to.


I had this problem, not terrible grass, but not perfectly green either. I finally got fed up and had new dirt brought in. So I think this a problem with a chemical imbalance in the soil, not all fertilizers have everything your grass needs. I can look into his further, but I would start by asking the local home depot grass guru, they know the specifics on breeds of grass and the local weather.

  • This sounds like sound advice. I will speak with someone locally and report back my findings. – Eric LaForce May 26 '11 at 0:30

Your soil may be compacted which prevents water and nutrients from getting to the roots as effectively. You can test this by pushing a medium sized screwdriver into the ground; you should be able to push it in three inches at least with a medium amount of effort. If it takes a lot of effort to push it in that far...or you're not able to push it in that far at all, you probably need your soil aerated and you should add some organic material like humus and manure into your soil.

  • This was a handy litmus test. Thankfully my soil does not appear to be compacted. – Eric LaForce May 26 '11 at 0:31

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