Lawn dying in spots

tdelkerJune 20, 2008

Put in a new lawn last fall. Looked great all spring. Now dying in some spots. A few facts.

Lawn is 'Enviroturf' from Turfmaster Sod farms in nearby Ft. Collins.

3" top soil put down

Sprinkler system. Watered 1.5" per week. Dead areas not in particularly dry or wet parts (i.e. where heads don't overlap as well as they maybe should or where they really do overlap extra well).

Description : Patches that started to go from a good green to a 'dark green' but dry. Then turned brown and essentially disappeared. (rub it with foot and brown grass disintergrates down to dirt. Patches are in a long line on one side. a few patches here and there.

Does not pull up easily (as I've read grub damage should). No noticable mold or other discoloration at soil or on grass. Soil at roots looks 'reasonably' but I just dug in with finger.

I do keep the grass long (as long as my mower can cut it).

There are some kind of bug flying up when I walk around. But they are everywhere. I imagine that is is just because the grass makes a nice home. I don't think they are doing the damage, but maybe?

Also it is a new built. Lot might have been treated with weed killer, but then pushed around. Plus 3" of topsoil. But maybe the grass just now found the weedkiller in the ground?

Thanks for any help!


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Note : This is in Colorado, but at 5.5k (so front range).

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 1:02PM
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We are having the same problem as you. At the beginning of Spring our yard was so beautiful and green and stayed that way until about two weeks ago we started noticing the patches. We do have lawn service and when the home was built about a year ago we had the sprinkler installed so it is watered about an inch a week. We had the lawn company come out and do an assessment and was told we had Chinch Bugs. They spray the yard with a fertilzer mixed with insecticide.

We cut our grass 4 inches high. I am in Virginia.

We are hoping the treatment will work.

Has anyone ever heard of Chinch Bugs?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 11:40PM
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bunkers(z5 CO)

I'm in castle rock at 6500' and have the exact same problem. My yard looked like a golf course and now its as your describe. I ran my thatcherator over it and gathered 12 bags of dead grass and still didn't nearly get it all.

I amended my yard with over 60 yards of aged manure and rototilled it to 5-6" ...

I've been wonder if it could be insects, just the dry, windy conditions with no rain or perhaps a soil ph imbalance.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 1:05AM
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Same problem in Highlands Ranch too. Anyone find any answers? I have tried watering less (no help), watering more (no help), mowing less (no help). The dead grass is great for my compost, but I hate seeing big patches of it in my lawn.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 12:08PM
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Wow, sounds like I'm not alone.

I talked with the company I bought my sod from. I'm going to email pics, but he feels very strongly that it is water related. I am starting to believe that since I dug around and couldn't find any critters to signs of critters as described on the CSU lawn site. I also noticed that I hadn't extented the time on the 2nd of the two zones I use for watering that section (an oversight). So I was water about 1" per week, rather than the 1.5" I though I was and that area is effected the most by this. Also, it appears the issue is under the areas where I dug the trench for the sprinkler piping, so maybe it is draining too much there.

So, I'm going to increase watering and see if it helps.

Someone mentioned a special fertizer for drought stressed lawns. Any idea what that would be?


    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 1:31PM
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Found this when I googled Cinch Bugs:

To reduce the insect populations on your turf at or above the soil surface you can use an old vacuum cleaner to vacuum up the insects.

The link to the page is below, which covers other insect problems in grass.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bruce Zimmerman

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 7:43AM
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bunkers(z5 CO)

I've heard some people swear that 'revive' works great on colorado lawns, since it loosens up the clay soil.

I'm about convinced its some kind of insect, so I'm probably going to apply something to my backyard and see if that helps. I'm getting desparate, as my lawn is almost more dead than alive at this point and looked like a golf course the last 2 years and even a couple months ago!

Something is killing my lawn off and its not a shortage of water ... I'm dumping over 22,000 gallons a month on it ... and it still looks dead.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 1:25AM
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Perhaps a local nursery can give you some guidance? Sounds like a widespread problem.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 3:44PM
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bunkers(z5 CO)

I've added revive to the backyard to see if that helps.

I've also manually plug aerated some of the worst areas to see if that helps.

Looking at some of the dead areas, its not just brown grass, its really dead looking, down to the roots. I've pulled up sections to look for insect damage ... and I don't see any bugs anywhere.

I did apply a pretty strong "super green" fertilizer this spring that had a pretty high nitrogren number on the label.

Could it be that this fertilizer did this somehow, even though it was apply early in the spring, during the fairly cool period.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 12:51AM
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Did you all consider that it could be the "top soil" or soil amendment you used. If it has to much organic matter (manure), fungus breaks that organic matter down.

You can get Necrotic Ring spot and fairy Ring.

Are there mushrooms growing (when wet) in circles?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 11:17PM
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Sounds just like my yard. 2" compost tilled in 6" deep soded last fall with sprinkler system looked great. Best looking yard on the block this spring. Fertilized cool spring day with high nitrogen fertilizer two weeks later grass started to turn brown and dying, also small flies like nats always buzzing around. Sterling CO. still dying and not a lack of water.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 4:25PM
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I live in Widefield/Colorado Springs and my gorgeous big lawn is having the same problems. The first year we moved in, the prev. owners had the sprinklers set to almost an hour per zone (6 zones), twice a day, 7 days a week. We cut it down to 30 mins per zone, 4 days a week am and pm. The majority of the grass was fine, but 4 ugly brown patches appeared, the largest being about 10'x4'. We thatched and reseeded some areas, with some success the following year. This year the problem is MUCH worse with about 12 big patches, a good 30% of the lawn affected. We've thatched, top dressed and aerated, and nothing is working. The grass just turns brittle and breaks when I walk on it. When I dig through it with my fingers, I see a thick thatch of grass roots, which I have to cut through and pull up to see soil. There are no bugs at all that I can see when I dig down. I'm going to use an insecticide just in case, but it is depressing looking at my huge, formerly lovely green, lawn!! HELP!!!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 4:50PM
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I am having the same problem. Laid sod last year and had the nicest yard on the block . I fertilized it early spring and it seemed to help it at first and now my yard is dying and looks like its never watered which is not the case I water the hell out of it. Dug up a couple of the dead places to look for grubs and none found. I am stumped at what to do and a little discouraged after all the money and effort spent to make it nice.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 11:12PM
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So has anyone figured out a solution? I'm having the exact same problem - new sod last year, looked beautiful and seemed healthy - this year, about a month ago, I started seeing dry rings which I figured was fungus. Applied an anti-fungal - then fertilizer again (that was a mistake I now realize) and then anti-fungal again. It keeps spreading and spreading. Water is not the problem. I don't see any signs of bugs in the grass. I am desparate and hoping for a solution before the entire yard is lost!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:49PM
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