lawn has spots that look like thatch

I had sod and vinca major (small blue/violet flowers)put in last year (July 08. I started getting what I thought was dry patches in both areas. I changed the sprinklers to water more. That didn't help. Lawn now looks like thatch in spots and spots are spreading, Vinca is shriveling and dying. Since it does not appear to be lack of water, do both have a disease or fungus. I did put some stuff for brown spots on the lawn and also fertilized it both to no avail. I Live in Southern CA
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

If it's not lack of water or fertility, and not a disease (the fact that both are affected suggests it is not a pathogen), it sounds like a soil contamination problem of some sort. It's difficult to guess what it could be. Old motor oil, carpet cleaning equipment flushed out on the ground, cement truck washouts (from when the house was constructed)...there are many possibilities. Best thing to do is to take a sample in and get it tested. A local extension service or a good garden center can tell you where to do this locally.



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