Lawn dead spots

das007May 26, 2012

Two years ago i removed quite a bit of pachysandra and tried to grow some lawn. We thinned out the trees quite a bit and i think the areas gets a decent amount of sun.

I aerate (manually) and seed late in the fall and things go well. Early spring i usually throw down a little more seed and general purpose fertilizer and i have a good looking thick and lush lawn in April - it grows like crazy. Come mid-late May things start to deteriorate. After i mow (high) a couple of times i start to see bare spots (see pic / link). Certain patches look like it lies completely flat and is brown. Maybe it's the dead clippings from the mowing? Anyway, i really have no idea what is going on and would love some advice from this forum. Either for a rescue this year (last year it was pretty much the same story) or a more long-term educated approach.


Here is a link that might be useful:

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It's probably fungal disease, especially with this super wet spring the northeast is having. What kind of grass are you growing and how high are you mowing? I tend to bag my clippings if I know many consecutive days are rain are due, or the weather is going to be very humid and warm. Also, you shouldn't have fertilized in early spring, in PA the end of May is the recommended time to fertilize, although some people skip it all together.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Ok, thanks. I use Scotts Sun and Shade seed. I mow on the second highest setting on my mower (3 inches?)as it grows so aggressively during April - as you noted, perhaps i shouldn't have fertilized so early. Any advice for dealing with the fungal disease at this point?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 6:09PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

The grass is going to grow like crazy in the early spring regardless of whether you fertilize. Professional grass farmers use their spring application of fertilizer to carry the grass from the time after that initial flush of growth into the summer. In other words they apply after the grass growth slows down. Hence the Memorial Day suggestion by tiemco.

Seeding in the spring is not helping matters. You are probably going to water much more frequently to get that seed to sprout. If you would get all your 'densifying' done in the fall, you would be in better shape in the spring.

Is your lawn all fescue with no Kentucky bluegrass? KBG would not work much in the shade.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Using Scott's turf builder seed sun and shade mix. A mixed bag (literally) dominated by fescue and ryegrass but some KBG varieties.

This is all helpful for doing better next year - thanks. Any advice for salvaging what I have this year? Overall we are talking about a small area of grass with maybe 15-20% trouble spots so whatever the remedy it would not be that much time/money.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 12:42PM
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Most spring fungal diseases are fairly benign, and will fix themselves with drier weather. For now I would mow with the bag on the mower, and not let the grass get too high in between mows. If you cut it to 3 inches, mow it 4-4.25 inches. There are fungicides you can use if the areas are spreading or if you want to spot treat the afflicted grass.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 1:39PM
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