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I last mowed about 3 weeks ago. There are parts of my front and back yards where the grass looks like it's ready to be mowed again, but other parts that look almost the same as they did fresh after being mowed 3 weeks ago. The longer areas are thick, green, and what you'd expect to see, but the shorter areas are brownish. I have some patches in the backyard that are completely brown/dead and will need to be replaced.

The brownish areas don't get any less sunlight or water than the rest of the yard. What is potentially causing this uneven growth? What can I do to keep the grass growing more evenly and hopefully repair some of the existing damage without having to dig most of it up and plant new sod?

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Do you own a dog? We got a puppy this winter, and I just found out that the grass is completely dead in the area surrounding her 'potty spot.' – Doresoom Mar 21 '11 at 21:06
Yes, we do, but he typically goes around the fenceline and saves some for his walks. Our dead/dying patches are more towards the center. – Michael Moussa Mar 21 '11 at 21:54
could be grubs, compacted soil, bad soil, thick thatch – DA01 Mar 21 '11 at 22:03
up vote 3 down vote accepted

This depends on the type of grass and other conditions where you live. I live in Houston and have St Augustine grass. The following are common for my conditions.

  • Take-All Patch (Root Rot) : Very bad! Not much known on how its caused. The roots just rot away and not a lot you can do about it. If you can reach down and pull a little and the rots come up, this is probably what you have

  • Brownpatch : A fungal disease that is really not an issue this time of year. It usually is caused by too wet conditions and cold nights.

  • Insects (Cinch Bugs) : Really bad in the summer for lawns that are poorly watered.
  • Watering : maybe you have a sprinkler zone not working? But if you have several smaller dead spots then its probably not watering issues.

Maybe post some pictures. Also you can take the pics to an independent nursery in your area and they might be able to help. Big Box stores aren't much help, but a small nursery with knowledgeable people can help identify common problems in your area.

Have you applied any particular fertilizer lately? Any other products ?

Remember, I only know St Augustine, so if you have something else the above might not apply.

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I am in South Florida and have St. Augustine grass as well. I haven't used any kind of fertilizer/products. It's not summer, but temps have been between 70 and 80 throughout the day and there has not been much rain lately - so maybe cinch bugs are the culprits? What could I use to blast them? – Michael Moussa Mar 21 '11 at 21:04
Here is a good write up about Cinch Bugs and checking to see if you have them. LINK. – Web Mar 22 '11 at 1:24

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