My aptenia is dying

Southern California Zone 10. We have a 90x40 patch of aptenia iceplant. Until a few weeks ago, it was verdant and lush. The ground is flat..
In the last several weeks, the aptenia iceplant developed blotches of dying stems and leaves. The stems of some plants get hard and shrivel, although the leaves were still green.(See photos).
http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn96/wer11111/100_2368.jpg
http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn96/wer11111/100_2369.jpg
http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn96/wer11111/100_2370.jpg
We watered the aptenia the first time this summer, when these blotches started to appear, about one week ago. Today, the moisture meter indicates low to medium moisture in all aptenia areas, but the blotches are still with us.
In winter we have another problem with the aptenia: Large blotches turn into slime and die. When it gets warmer, the dead aptenia dries and turns into a thatch on the ground. In late spring, all aptenia grows vigorously again and the dead areas become overgrown by new strands and leaves.
Any ideas what could cause these problems?
These problems reoccur every year. We fertilize every spring and it takes right off, again.Then, in July, we get these blotches. In winter, we get slimy blotches.
Thanks for any help.
--
Walter
www.rationality.net
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Walter R. wrote:

Walter, the photographs indicate the presence of lawn cricket or other type of root-munching bug that's having a feast (even ants can cause this die-back). I would start by carefully looking for holes in the ground and then use an effective insecticide. Might even try drenching the entire exposed area with the insecticide to ensure no noogies are still around.
It will go slushy when over-wet or too damp. I would try digging over the area where the plant has died after clearing away the dead foliage, add some compost and superphosphates and see if its runners will cover in time. We have this plant in South Africa where it enjoys sandy soil and not too much water. I have seen this die-back caused by lawn crickets.
HTH.
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