When I find a dead patch of grass, what can I do to determine its cause of death?
A. Brown patch is a fungus disease distinguished by dying blades of grass attached to a living stem. This results in a diagnostic appearance of living, green blades of grass protruding through dead grass blades. If the effected grass has an all-dead appearance then the damage is probably a result of grub feeding (which began in August). If grub damage is the problem, you should be able to lift the dead grass up like a carpet since the grubs have removed the roots which normally anchor the grass. Chinch bug damage during hot weather can also be the problem. Chinch bug damage usually begins as a small, irregular circle and spreads outward, often beginning near concrete pavement or sidewalks. Of course, drought damage caused by rapid drying of turf over shallow deposits of soil can also result in dead areas of lawn. Analyse which of the above mentioned problems you may have. If the grass is truly dead, you must replant plugs of turf in those areas or, if the dead areas are not too large, water and fertilize existing turf and encourage it to grow into the dead areas. If you determine the problem is brownpatch, use a product containing terrachlor (Turficide) in and in a 3 foot area around the affected area. Good luck and good yarding!