Here is a picture of part of my lawn after this harsh summer. I am trying to figure out if this is lawn fungus or that the lawn literally burnt to death. Is it fungus that I should use the Scotts Fungus stuff on it, or should I just rip it up a bit and overseed?

More info:

  • live in New England (hot summer this year)
  • fertilized twice since spring (Scotts TB crabgrass preventer early spring and Scott TB weed n feed late spring)
  • applied Scotts GrubEx at second fertilizing time as well (3-4 months ago)
  • water once or twice a week for a while rather than frequent short times

enter image description here

  • 6
    A lawn care product supplier once said to me, "If you use lawn fungicide, you're gonna need it..." Better to build healthy soil to promote healthy turf so that the turf can better defend against fungus, then implement good watering practices to minimize fungal problems in the first place.
    – That Idiot
    Sep 20, 2016 at 15:39
  • 1
    Dig down and see if there are japanese lawn beetles or their larvae. They eat grass roots and make similar dead spots.
    – kevinskio
    Sep 20, 2016 at 16:04
  • I've not heard of Japanese Lawn Beetles but will go look. If you think this might be grubs (even cranefly larvae) take a bucket of soapy water and dump on a spot between green grass and the dead area. The larvae will come up to the top to be identified
    – stormy
    Sep 20, 2016 at 21:42
  • How long have these spots been developing? What other chemicals have you used? What are your watering practices? What do you mean harsh summer? If it wasn't a lot of rain then I doubt this is fungus at all. The entire lawn visible in this photograph looks spotty and less than vigorous. Please edit your question to add everything you do for this lawn; watering, fertilizing, aerating, mowing height, thatch? Do you know the pH of your lawn bed soil? Fungicide acts like a raincoat. If your grass isn't wearing a raincoat it won't help once your lawn is inoculated with fungus.
    – stormy
    Sep 20, 2016 at 21:52
  • Fungus is a sign of a healthy lawn, just like how Geoff Lawton says that in the desert seeing fungus in the compost pile was a very good sign: youtube.com/watch?v=2xcZS7arcgk 3:54 Sep 21, 2016 at 1:42

1 Answer 1


Some factors that might be involved:

  • Soil quality and depth - lawn soil can vary in quality from patch to patch unless it is infinitely carefully prepared as on golf greens for example. A bit too much sand here and there can make a big difference. The presence of bedrock close to the surface might also affect moisture holding capacity
  • Grass species/variety - over time, the mix of grasses in any area can change according to conditions. Some species are more vulnerable to adverse conditions and may be encouraged one year only to die out the next
  • Road operations - the soil close to the road seems to be affected more than the background of the picture. Do you think that salt might be an issue?

So what to do? Take a thin steel rod and push (or tap with a medium weighted hammer) it into the soil to get a feel for how easily the rod goes in at various points. If the soil is sandy it will be easy; compare the bare areas to the grassy. If bedrock or large stones are close to the surface you will hit/feel it. Talk to the snowplow driver. Maybe overseed with a known grass species similar to that which is doing well in that location - if it is hard to identify let a patch grow up so that you have more information.

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