What's happended to my lawn?

I moved into a new flat at the beginning of last year. The garden was in a right mess so I spent most of the summer getting it into a respectible state. I removed an old patio and dug the whole area over. I constructed raised beds along one side using railway sleepers and put up a shed. It was then ready to have a new lawn.

The garden has a fence on one side and is shaded by that and the house for most of the time, so I choose turf that was advertised as shade tolerant.

The turf has the following grass mixture

15% - fine leafed perennial ryegrass
15% - fine leafed perennial ryegrass
30% - slender creeping red fescue
25% - slender creeping red fescue
15% - smooth stalked meadow grass

The turf was put down as the beginning of September.

The new lawn grew well before winter, but seems to have developed problems since.

It's become very thin and the grass seems to be growing as stalks rather than leaves. I wondering if the long bad winter has caused these problems.

I've been cutting it regular, hoping it would encourage it to 'thicken' up, but I just seem to have a lawn of grass stalks rather than the lush lawn that I had hoped.

I was thinking of overseeding but wonder if we are now too close to summer for the new grass to establish before the hot weather kicks in.

Any advice would be greatly welcomed.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,720

    It might just be the time of the year - now is the time that meadow grass flowers, (prior to being cut for hay, if you had a meadow), and the flowering stalks do shoot up pretty quickly. 

    How often are you cutting it?


    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • I'm cutting it once a week. I only have a hover mower and have that on the highest setting (ie without any spacers). I started cutting once the bad weather ended so from about the beginning of May. When I say stalks I mean the grass seems to be growing not as leaves but as stems. I've compared to my neighbours lawn and he seems to have grass leaves originating from close to the ground. He does have the odd tall stalk but what seems to be growing in my lawn doesn't appear to be the same thing.

    It's as if my lawn has decided to produce only stems and has forgotten to produce any actual leaves.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,720

    Hmm, have you got a camera that could give us a close up?

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • I'll take a picture tomorrow.

  • Time to lower the cutting height bit by bit to encourage layering/tillering? i.e sideways growth thickening up the sward.

  • Here's some pictures.

    This is my lawn straight after laying



    And this is what the grass looks like now


     Hope fully you can tell from the last picture that the lawn is bascially a see of stems.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,720

    I think you should follow Verdun's advice to feed, and also Woodgreen Wonderboy's advice to lower the cut a little - after feeding it might need cutting twice a week  while it has a surge and the weather is damp and warm. 

    Let's see what the others think. image

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • I can start adding spacers to my hover mower over the next few cuts.

    I was worried if I cut too low there would be nothing left of the grass that would be capable of photosynthesis and the grass would die.

    I'll see what the other suggests now they can actually see my problem.

  • Sorry it was difficult to get a picture down at that level that would show what I was talking about.

    The green that you can see in the picture are thick fiborous stems. There is the odd leaf but the majority of the grass is as I say just stems.

  • Mow lower and more often , and make sure you use the feed appropriate for the time of year. Summer feeds are high in nitrogen which is good now, but not for use later in year when the lush growth could be prone to all sorts of problems in Autumn onwards. If you feed again in Autumn look for an Autumn feed which will encourage root development, but not top  growth. 

    As this is a new lawn which is struggling to establish I would forgo scarifying this year as you might do more damage than good. However from next year on this will be important too. I would be interested to see if others agree.

  • XX Posts: 707

    I'd give a liquid feed once a fortnight (or even weekly) with Miracle Gro lawn food.  Would stick with liquid feed TBH.

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