Ask a Question forum: Lawn, Round Bare Spots, Dallas TX, HELP!

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dallas Texas (Zone 8a)
gotsqueeze
May 9, 2015 6:59 AM CST
Just moved to this house this past winter and the yard needs some help.

I have 2 rings that i cant figure out what the problem is. I thought maybe grubs but i took 3 plugs out of the ground and didnt see any grubs. I assume they didnt make it thru the drought.

anyhow, any ideas would be appreciated.

here are a few pix

Oh and i used an old lawn mower, dull blade, and i think this might have been the root to this problem..as you can tell by the last pic

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[Last edited by gotsqueeze - May 9, 2015 7:09 AM (+)]
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dallas Texas (Zone 8a)
gotsqueeze
May 9, 2015 7:06 AM CST

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Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
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lovemyhouse
May 9, 2015 7:21 AM CST
Welcome. Smiling

My grass (what I have left in place) looks like that when I have left something sitting on it. Was the entire lawn dormant-brown when you moved in and these circles showed as the grass started greening up?
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 9, 2015 8:21 AM CST
Do you know what kind of grass it is? It makes a difference as to what diseases/pests may attack it. For example bermudagrass is susceptible to "spring dead spot" which looks like this:

http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/elements/view.aspx?ID=...
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Moonhowl
May 9, 2015 8:29 AM CST
Welcome to ATP. Chinch bugs are especially voracious in the spring lawn.

https://insects.tamu.edu/extension/publications/epubs/e-420....
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 9, 2015 9:09 AM CST
Chinch bug patches are irregular in shape and these look somewhat circular to me, but it's easy enough to check for them. Just push an open-ended bucket or can into the turf at the edge of the problem area and then pour some water mixed with a squirt or two of dish soap (I use a couple of tablespoons per two gallon watering can) into the can and wait for them to float to the surface. Just pouring the solution onto turf without the can will bring up the adults in my experience but not sure about the nymphs.

Again the type of grass is a factor, as Jean's link says "Although it is a serious pest only on St. Augustinegrass lawns, the southern chinch bug occasionally may feed on zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, bahiagrass or bermudagrass."
dallas Texas (Zone 8a)
gotsqueeze
May 9, 2015 9:24 AM CST
I just noticed them within the past 2 weeks. Prior to that it was all pretty much brown.

St Augustine grass


And now that you mention something sitting on the lawn i had racked up leaves in a pile and left it in that area when it was cooler outside, prior to anything becoming green. But it for sure sat ontop of the grass for a week .

that sound like the culprit ?

Thanks for the welcome and the replies!!

Ive got a few pix and questions about some bushes i have, should i start a new thread ?
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
May 9, 2015 9:40 AM CST
Yes, if different question, start a different thread. Smiling
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
May 9, 2015 11:18 AM CST
Is it all the same type of sod? I do see what appears to be St. Augustine in the 3rd and 4th close up shots and I'm wondering if the issue might be thatch? We used to get thatch on occasion in our St. Augustine lawn but my husband had a de-thatcher attachment for the riding mower that he'd use to get the thatch and dead grass out. I'd rake that area to get the dead grass out and if you have a digging/garden fork you could aerate the space which might help.

If not thatch it could be due to fungus that happens in St. Augustine sod: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/be_on_the_looko...
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 9, 2015 11:24 AM CST
As Lin mentioned, St. Augustine is susceptible to "large patch" formerly known as "brown patch" so you might want to look into that. You could check some individual blades for lesions like this:
http://www.turfgrass.ncsu.edu/Images/Diseases/largepatch/Web...

That is an enlarged image from this page:
http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/diseases/Large_Patch.aspx
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
May 9, 2015 8:20 PM CST
I had looked into Brown patch, which is fungal, but after looking at the same link Lin posted, it says...

"Brown patch is strictly a cool weather problem, so do not be confused by brown areas of the lawn that developed during the summer. These were caused primarily by chinch bug damage."

Since it may be from leaves piled on the lawn, I would suggest just keeping an eye on things for now.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 10, 2015 5:54 AM CST
Moonhowl said:"Brown patch is strictly a cool weather problem, so do not be confused by brown areas of the lawn that developed during the summer. These were caused primarily by chinch bug damage."


According to the history given above, the lawn was all brown, then the patches became apparent in April and it looks like the grass may already be growing back in. Since I'm not familiar with the climate there, Jean is much closer, I don't know if two weeks or so ago it was spring or summer in Dallas Hilarious!

It certainly wouldn't hurt to do the chinch bug check. My thinking was that if the patches are as circular as they appear then that leans more towards a disease like brown/large patch (Rhizoctonia) whereas chinch bug damage is more irregular. If the night temperatures were below 70F for a time before the patches appeared then that would favour Rhizoctonia on warm-season grasses (I'm familiar with it on cool-season grasses but on those it's easier to identify because of the "smoke ring" on shorter-mown grass). Thatch, overnight watering, and high nitrogen fertilizer favor development of brown/large patch but we don't know if there's a history of that.

If it's from heaped leaves or brown/large patch it should eventually disappear so I agree it may be better to just keep an eye on it. It's quite often difficult to identify turf problems and the wrong call can make things worse.

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
May 10, 2015 12:06 PM CST
May I add, if you do check for chinch bugs (which would be my guess on the problem) do the test on the edge of the damaged area, where the green meets the brown. That's where the bugs will be.

If you do find chinch bugs (black small beetles with a white stripe across their backs) head to a good nursery for the right insecticide. Usually it's not necessary to treat the whole lawn with the stuff, and the less insecticide in the environment the better, of course.
Elaine

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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 10, 2015 2:20 PM CST
Sorry to be picky but chinch bugs are not beetles but "true bugs" (Hemiptera) and their appearance varies according to life stage, the nymphs being quite different in appearance, including colour, from the adults. Here's a pic of three stages of the southern chinch bug (Blissus insularis), the yellowish-red nymph (the one that has the sort of white stripe), a short-winged adult and a long-winged adult (from Texas A & M Agrilife Extension):

http://austin.agrilife.org/files/2013/12/Chinch-Bugs-in-St-A...

I find I need magnification to see the markings on them for ID, they're smaller than one might think from photos.
dallas Texas (Zone 8a)
gotsqueeze
May 10, 2015 3:21 PM CST
Well as you can tell by the pictures i took a few "plugs" out of the grass to examine the soil and i didnt see any grubs, all i seen was earth worms, at least one from each plug. which is a good thing, right?

it was all st augustine except i tried to fill in some of the gaps with a few different types of grass, like bermuda & fescues but i put them in the wrong areas ( i put the bermuda in the shade..)

anyhow i am about to read them sites, thanks for the replies!!
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
May 11, 2015 8:43 PM CST
With our lawn we had bare soil patches that grass wouldn't grow on, turns out garbage was buried under the spots and after removal and new soil it filled in.

I have zoysia grass but still get some spots like this and every year the same spots get worse and worse. Could it be animal urine?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
May 12, 2015 11:47 AM CST
I was thinking "chemical spill" or "dumping". Things like motor oil will kill plants.

Or someone might have just dumped some household chemicals onto the lawn, while packing to move out. But wow! imagine dumping right on your own front lawn! I hope it was just the piled leaves.

Probably just wait to see if it keeps going away. Or, if you're sure you have good drainage, watering those spots a little more than you would otherwise could help leach any chemicals away. And it would probably pamper the grass and help it recover from whatever the stressor is. But I'm not experienced with turf in hot, dry climates.
[Last edited by RickCorey - May 12, 2015 11:48 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 12, 2015 2:16 PM CST
Keith, when you say the spots get worse and worse every year do you mean that individual ones get bigger? That wouldn't likely be animals in that case. How big are the spots and are they circular or irregular?
dallas Texas (Zone 8a)
gotsqueeze
May 12, 2015 7:00 PM CST

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dallas Texas (Zone 8a)
gotsqueeze
Jun 9, 2015 9:52 PM CST
The rings have almost merged now...
I'm thinking dig up area and resod ?


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