No one likes seeing ugly brown patches appear in a beautiful green lawn! Just when you think you have your lawn perfectly maintained, up pops a patch of grass that is dead or dying. Obviously if the lawn hasn’t been watered properly, it can become scorched, but there are a handful of other culprits that may be at work. With this in mind, it’s going to take some detective work to discover the “root” cause.
Lawn Problems and Pests
Below are the most common causes of brown spots in the lawn and how to treat them so you can get your lush green lawn back!
Thatch is a buildup of decaying grass blades that can build up so thick that it chokes out healthy grass. Remove thatch if it is more than ½” thick. Dethatching is easy using a scarifying rake or gas-powered machine. Cutting your lawn with mulching mower blades in your mower will reduce build-up, due to faster decomposition of clippings.
Grubs are a common problem in mid to late summer and identified when your sod easily pulls back from the ground like a carpet. To check if you have a grub problem, peel back a square foot of green grass. If you see 10 or more grubs, then you are at risk for damage. Grub control products are available here
Brown patch and other fungal diseases thrive in moist conditions, therefore it’s more likely after snow melts in spring, and when days and nights are humid in summer.
The fungal disease generally appears as brown patches, while sometimes causing a general browning and thinning. Increasing air circulation and sunlight is key to eliminating fungus. Aeration and dethatching are two ways to increase air circulation and prevent future occurrence. A fungicide will kill common lawn disease caused by fungus.
Human and Animal Damage
Yes, sometimes it’s our fault! Plus, Pets can also be causing damage.
Dull mower blades weaken the grass. Keep your mower blade sharp to get the best results from each mowing. A sharp blade cuts grass cleanly, while a dull blade tears grass, creating a jagged, uneven edge. Consequently, these tears create openings for pests and diseases to enter grass blades. Use a mowing blade sharpener to keep the mower blades in great shape several times during the mowing season.
Urine scalds grass. Dogs are the most common culprit, but large birds and other animals can cause spots, too. Urine causes your lawn to turn yellow sometimes with a bright green ring around the edges where the diluted nitrogen in the urine acts as a fertilizer. The most effective way to prevent dog urine spots is to the water the area immediately after your dog urinates. If you have easy access to a hose, give the area a quick spray.
Training your dog to pee in a specific area is another effective method to prevent urine scald patches all over your lawn. This method requires time and consistency, although, once your dog is trained you will be glad you did it!
Mowing too short Avoid scalping grass, which is cutting it too short, resulting in damage. Scalped turf tends to be weak and sparse, in effect making it vulnerable to disease and pests. Adjust the mower deck height higher to prevent damaging the lawn. If you have high spots, remove the layer of grass and shovel out some soil.