Trying to identify what has happened to my lawn. The first image with the long stripe was irrigated well so I don't think this is drought related.

This is a Florida lawn with St Augustine and Bermuda. The St. Augustine seems to be affected more.

Thanks in advance for any clues

brown dead grass

brown dead grass

brown dead grass

  • Hi Mike! I found a few questions which seem related, and might be duplicates. Would you have a look at them please, and see if you agree? I'm thinking about this, gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/13654/…, and gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/29793/…. Thanks! Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 14:45
  • 2
    Well, Mike, this is interesting. That straight line is telling us that something ain't natural. What have you applied in the bed that is above and draining into this part of the lawn? It almost looks like too much nitrogen. How long has this been going on...? The only other thing this could be is this upper area is drying out, draining too well and going dormant before the grass in the shade that keeps its water longer. Is this soil different?
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 18:02
  • @Sue I am thinking possible Cinch bugs as well but maybe stormy is on to something with the nitrogen too. I applied Scotts bonus S and may have done a double pass on this area. Would think it wouldn't cause so much damage though.
    – Mike
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


It looks like the result of compaction, say from mower path, and saturated soil. If the soil is compacted, it will not drain and water will stand on the surface. The combined effect will lead to anaerobic soil conditions which will inhibit root growth and hurt plants. The visible soil surface looks smooth, as if it was the bottom of a puddle.

I'd start by addressing compaction. Use a core aerator to remove plugs of soil and open up the soil. Depending on the results of a soil test I'd also consider adding dolomite or lime which can help percolation in clayey soils. I'd also let the grass grow longer - cut no lower than 3". This will improve root mass, which will in turn reduce compaction and improve drainage.

Finally, keep an eye on the area after irrigating or rain and cut back the water in those areas. Leaving the grass longer will help reduce the need for as much irrigation anyway.

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