The Q&A Archives: spongy loose grass

Question: We have a 3 year old sod st augustine yard It has developed large spongy areas that can be picked up like carpet. There seems to be very few stringy roots holding it down. The blades die and there is bald spots wit Last spring beautiful lawn Till this started. This spring is going the same way The grass is lush and green but feels spongy again. Some balding already. Please help save it Val

Answer: St. Augustine can build up a thatch that keeps water from penetrating down to the soil and can cause roots to die because of the drought they are experiencing. Dethatching is usually done in the fall in your region so it may be too late to do much about it this summer. Since you can pull the turf up, look closely at its profile: more than a half inch of dead stolons just above the soil surface is excessive. If there's no excessive thatch build up, there might be a problem with water running down between the turf and the soil during the winter months. Poor drainage can result in over saturated soils and suffocation of the roots of the turf. You might also contact your local cooperative extension office for guidance if the above doesn't seem to fit the situation. Best wishes with your turf!

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