As lawn owners we are sometimes faced with some perplexing problems to solve to determine the cause and cure of any number of issues with our lawns as they arise. One of these problems which can prove difficult to solve for some is when a lawn develops dead patches for no apparent reason, and which nothing seems to fix.
So while the entire lawn may be otherwise strong and healthy, lush and green, there is one, two, or more patches in the turf that just never seems to repair, nor do these dead patches spread in any way in which a lawn disease or lawn pest problem may spread. So the problem of the mysterious dead lawn patches continues, oftentimes with the lawn owner trying to fix the problem by applying more water to the affected area in the belief that lack of water may be the cause of the problem of these lawn patches, which neither spread nor dissipate.
The dead lawn patches being referred to here are usually one, two or three feet across.
Lawn Soil Contamination
If the dead patches in the turf continue for a long period of time, and never spread and never repair over time, then we can usually easily rule out lawn pest or lawn disease as the cause, as these will continue to spread over time, and sometimes even repair on their own, or otherwise change appearance and shape over time.
Which leads us to our only possible conclusion in many cases.
Which is a soil contamination problem beneath those affected lawn areas.
Such lawn soil contamination would be most evident on properties where the lawn was fairly recently installed, and usually where the soil was bare beforehand (or perhaps the previous lawn was also affected by the same dead patches), and especially more so if the property had any type of recent renovations in recent times, whereby trades folk may have washed out their buckets or tools, or paintbrushes etc in the yard of the property being renovated.
In such cases, we may have laid our new lawns right on top of the same soil area where contaminants were being washed into the soil, and so today, with our new lawns having unusual dead patches that seem to have no reason nor cure, we may just find that the soil itself underneath those lawn areas is in fact contaminated, and as a result the lawn just cannot grow on top of this toxicity in the soil.
Repairing Contaminated Lawn Soil
Lucky for us is that such isolated soil contamination problems are easily fixed with minimum effort.
With trusty garden spade in hand, we dig around the dead lawn patch a few inches past where the dead lawn area ends. We then dig down into the soil, removing at least a foot, maybe more of that soil, and we then trash that old contaminated soil, making sure not to reuse it anywhere on the property again.
The hole is then filled in with soil from the garden beds of the same property, compacted down by stomping on it with our feet and by watering it thoroughly with a garden hose. leaving the replaced soil at the same height as the surrounding turf soil.
We could just leave the surrounding turf to spread and cover the soil, which is easily done with a warm season grass such as Saint Augustine, Or Bermuda, or Zoysia, but not so with cool season grass types which would need to be re-seeded or re-sodded. Otherwise if we don’t want to wait for the grass to regrow over the affected area, then we could gather our own small pieces of sod from another inconspicuous area of the same lawn which is out of sight.
As long as we keep up enough water to the affected area if we did re-sod, then the area will be repaired in no time at all. Or if we decided to just let the surrounding lawn re-grow over the affected areas then no other effort is needed on our part, just so long as the lawn is receiving adequate water to grow and stay healthy, it will spread to cover the repaired lawn soil areas in little time.