lawn viability

Asked July 16, 2016, 1:54 PM EDT

do you have a program or person to talk to about our lawn or recommend someone. We have a sprinkler system and our lawn was stripped clean last fall then overseed with a tall fescue blend. spring the lawn came back great but now browning out. moisture tests show moisture at 4" depth at 5 or greater on a scale of 1-10. we are wondering what to to do to maintain the lawn (keep it green).

New Castle County Delaware lawns and turf lawn care lawn management lawn maintenance lawn

1 Response

If you suspect that the lawn is diseased you can take a turf sample to the Plant Diagnostic Clinic at the University of Delaware. The clinic accepts plant samples showing signs or symptoms of disease. The Clinic is housed in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware in Newark, and operates as a function of Delaware Cooperative Extension. See below for complete contact information.

Turf samples should contain a margin between healthy and diseased, and should be a section of turf with a bit of soil underneath (4 x 4 inches is good). Plastic containers such as butter tubs or for left-overs work well as containers.

The clinic will most likely recommend that you take soil samples for analysis in addition to the turf sample. Problems such as improper pH and lack of nutrients can cause the grass to brown out. Over feeding can also result in browning but it is usually in areas where the spreader dumped fertilizer or where multiple passes were made in the same area such as turns at the end of a row rather than the entire lawn. The analysis will report the results and provide instructions for remedying the situation. Soil samples are different than turf samples and so are taken differently. The instructions for taking a soil sample are at this link. Kits are available at the same address for the sod samples. There is a charge for this service. Here is the contact information.



· University of Delaware Soil Testing Program

· 531 S. College Avenue

· 152 Townsend Hall

· Newark, DE 19716-2170


· Phone: 302-831-1392

· Fax: 302-831-0605

· Email:


· M-F 8:00 AM- 4:30 PM

One other thought. Some Delaware blends of grass contain a significant amount of annual rye grass. This grass germinates quickly but mostly dies the following year.The idea is to have a fast germination to hold the soil together while the slower growing fescue takes hold. If you have selective browning out this may be the problem. The turf sample results may cover this.

Finally while I am not able to specify one a reputable lawn service may be able to analyze the problem and provide the solution.

I didn't solve your problem but hopefully gave you some avenues to pursue.