Ask Burton: Q: I have areas in my lawn that haven’t greened up for me this spring – any ideas of what’s going on?

A: We’re seeing a lot of pictures and samples of damaged turf this spring at the nursery. Here are the common problems and solutions to check right now.

1. Is the dead patch of turf under a mature tree, or between a mature tree and the house? A good lawn requires a certain minimum amount of sunshine to succeed. Our area’s gotten decent rainfall the past couple of years, and trees have been flushing out with good growth – and this growth doesn’t let as much sunshine hit the ground as in years previous. Limb up your tree as much as you can without damaging the form and health of the tree. Your area may simply be too shady to get turf grass to re-establish, and you may have to plant a more shade tolerant ground cover or landscaping instead.

2. “My sprinkler works, there’s no shade, the edges of the killed spots started to green up and now are yellowing and poor in color.” This description makes us look for take-all root rot, a serious turf disease than can afflict both St. Augustine and Bermuda grass in our area. It starts spreading as the lawn comes out of winter dormancy, and it can be a frustrating problem. The best solution for this particular problem is a combination approach – spread our Bonide Infuse lawn fungicide granules across the lawn, and rake a 1/2 inch layer of peat moss across all affected patches. This has been a common problem this year!

3. Much too much fertilizer. If you accidentally put too much fertilizer down, you can easily dry out a patch of lawn. Water these areas aggressively to dilute and rinse away the excess fertilizer if this has happened to you.