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A piece of my yard keeps dying, even after reseeding

Posted by MikeOP Illinois (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 23, 12 at 0:01

I have a pretty decent lawn. I had Scotts coming and doing their thing for about 5 years but quit around 3-4 seasons ago. Late in summer 2010 a patch of my lawn turned mostly brown - very odd. I checked for bugs and fungi and found nothing. The patch I should note, is in full sunlight on the south side of the house, but it had always been fine - at least in the 12 years I've lived here. The grass is fescue blend. I mow at a medium height.

At the beginning of last summer I had a couple of lawn companies come and look at it. Scotts just gave me quotes to take care of my whole lawn but never answered the question about why the patch had died. Then I had a local guy come and he did a half-ass job of churning and reseeding. He also aerated the whole lawn. The grass grew in, but in about August it died again.

Now it is March and I have watched all winter as the dirt seems to have churned up (see pics). I never see animals digging in it (that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't there). But this is odd. Does anyone recognize the problem by looking at these pics? I hate to dig and reseed only to have it fail again. Any theories? Much obliged.

Click the image to see larger.

Illinois Lawn

Illinois Lawn Closeup

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: A piece of my yard keeps dying, even after reseeding

Theory 1: It has been poisoned by something. I accidentally poisoned a spot in my yard by setting up a saw horse to build a tree house out of treated lumber. The spot where the sawdust fell has been dead for 10 years. It is just now coming around (my daughter is a senior in HS now).

Theory 2: Something is buried there. You may never see it but it could be animals come there to bury stuff and dig it up later. Could be a cat potty. Could be grubs that skunks come and dig up. Being a fescue lawn, once it is dug up, it will remain bare until it is seeded again.

Theory 3: Runoff from your roof lands there and messes up the soil chemistry. Do you get roof runoff right there?

Theory 4: The soil biology has been killed from oxygen starvation. Is that a low spot that collects water? Have you ever had standing water there for 3 days or longer?

Have you tried to fix it with anything?

Fescue can be mowed at your mower's highest setting. That won't have anything do to with your current issue...just sayin'

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