The Q&A Archives: Dead Grass

Question: My usually carpet-like lawn has a problem this year. It looks as though there is matted, dead grass under the beautiful green grass. There are even spots where the grass is gone and all that is visible is the matted looking brown grass. Is this thatch? I fertilize 2-3 times a year: In early spring with Scotts Turf Builder with Crabgrass Preventer, in early summer with Scotts Turf Builder with Weed Killer and occasionally in the late summer with Scotts Summer Guard. I water deeply twice a week in dry times, I mow long and I mow often. What am I doing wrong? Should I stop fertilizing? I also take care of my daughter's lawn and it's doing the same thing. I quite fussy about my lawn, I even hand pick my weeds! Which reminds me, I hate fescue grass, is there anyway to get rid of it? Thank you in advance for your help.

Answer: The matted grass is most likely thatch. Thatch build up is a natural process and consists of dead stolons, rhizomes and grass roots. It occurs whether you take excellent care of your lawn or you neglect it. Lawns can be dethatched about every 3-4 years. Rake to remove the debris and then reseed. You can do this in the fall or in the spring. In response to your question about fescue, the best way to eliminate it is hand pulling/digging. Weed killers won't be selective enough to attack the fescue without harming the other grasses in your lawn.

Best wishes with your lawn!

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