Help -- Spots in Lawn

I have had my yard established for 3 years now. Every summer I seem to get dark spots in my yard. The grass actually looks like its drying out. My wife and I dug to see what was happening only to find out that these dark areas are basically clay soil. The rest of my yard is regular soil.
Any suggestions on what to do or should I just tear my yard up?
Thanks, Allen
wapepper at comcast.net
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Where abouts do you live? Did you start the lawn yourself? Seed, sod, plugs? Do you know what type of grasses you have? Full sun, shade, or part shade? Sprinkler system? Are you fertilizing and if so what sort of schedule? What about herbicides and insecticides?
The answers to some of these questions would help greatly.
I'm skeptical of the clay soil theory.
Peter H
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Sorry... I live in Delaware Started the lawn myself Seeded Tall Fescue Full Sun No sprinkler Fertilizing using the Scotts program No herbicides or insecticides
It's the same spots every year.
Peter H wrote:

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No need to apologize Allen. The information helps though. I'm not very familiar w/ tall fescue, other than as a weed grass or as a basic ground cover for rough terrain here in the Toronto area. I've been out of the business for a couple of years though and know that they were experimenting w/ it here for turf.
My first suspicion in your case is that you have a different grass growing in these spots that recur. I've seen it quite often. When the lawn gets stressed in the summertime some cultivars survive the drought much better than others. I believe that tall fescue survives drought very well and wonder whether you have a different grass type in these areas that suffers sooner and more severely from the heat. If you dig a bit of the turf out of the problem area and compare it to some from the areas that are doing well you may find there are differences.
I seem to recall that tall fescue has some distinguishing features. I believe it has a white swath through the middle of the blade that looks something like a "W". Anyway compare the leaves. Look at the budshoot. Some grasses are rolled in the budshoot and some are folded. Check the area where the outside leaf breaks away from the stalk of the plant. Is it "hairy" and does the "collar" run straight across or is it "U" shaped. Check the root system as well and see if they look the same. My suspicions are that you will find you have a different grass type growing in the problem areas.
If that is the case you can simply kill it with a non-selecive herbicide and then replant the areas.
Peter H

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Another thing you might try is taking soil samples from the problem areas and take soil samples from the rest of your lawn and have both sets of samples tested independently. Some nurseries will test your soil for free so you might check into that.
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