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.

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 in

I 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.

Also, tonight I was picking up leaves and I came across this creature. I would like to know what this is…

A worm found on a lawn

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 patchy and 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.

Creature found on lawn

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
The Lawn Man

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

  1. Carole

    Hi, our grass has been lovely and green we mow it once a fortnight ,but just the last mow it has straw like patches ,very dry looking but we water it most nights ,any idea what it could be , from Sandown IOW ??

    1. Kris Lord Post author

      Probably letting the grass get too long between cuts. If it gets too long you end up cutting into the stalks leaving brown patches.
      Mow more frequently (weekly) and the lawn will stay greener.
      Mowing scar on your lawn

    2. Val

      Hi please help fist cut brown straw looking patches all over lawn why .?

      1. Kris Lord Post author

        If the grass was very long before you cut it then you will have cut all of the leaves off leaving just stalks. This is why you should cut it regularly, even in the winter if it is growing.
        The grass will recover, it just might take some time to grow new leaves from the base.
        Question: Restoring a very long lawn

  2. serena Ardigo

    I have grass that has spread on for years. It looks okay in the spring but then turns like straw it is not diseased since it keeps growing in a larger circle. You can pull it up like straw, has no tight roots and looks like about 5 inches long in length. No one knows what kind of grass this is. In the morning dew it looks bluish in color in a circle which is now almost 6 ft by 6 ft. The roots do not hold onto the lawn at all and I could probably pick up the entire lawn in about 1 hour. I am having the lawn pulled up and put down sod because I have had enough of this stupid grass. I was told to put down at least 1/2 inch of soil and peat moss mixture before putting down the sod. I’m so done with this and I’m a senior woman who is a gardner but neither of my neighbors don’t do a thing to their lawns and there’s is fine. It’s just not fiar.

    1. Kris Lord Post author

      If your grass is not growing as well as your neighbours, I would guess you have a soil problem. Possible heavy compaction or buried hardcore and stones may be preventing the grass from growing well in your garden.

  3. Louis crugnales

    After cutting lawn noticed blotches all over lawn with grass looking like straw

  4. Lorraine whyte

    What is the best product to buy for red thread disease please.

    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.


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