In part one of our examination of brown lawn spots, we learned that proper identification is key to the success of treatment.  Some brown lawn spots are avoidable and others are not.  Keeping a close eye on your turf and acting quickly when a problem arises may decrease the spread of your problem.

What causes brown lawn spots? 

  • If your lawn is brown because of lack of water, you need to decide whether or not you want to water your lawn or let it go dormant.  Sometimes it is best to let your lawn go dormant because light infrequent watering can add additional stress on the grass plant.  If you have a newly seeded or sodded lawn you will definitely need to water your lawn if it is turning brown.  Any new seeded or sodded lawn will have shallow grass roots which will not allow the plant to absorb deep moisture that mature plants are able to reach.  As a rule of thumb water your new seed or sod daily if needed, just enough to keep the first inch or two of your soil moist.
  • Chemical burn will require you to re-seed or re-sod the dead spots in your lawn.  I have yet to see a chemical burn to grass that ever comes back fully on its own.  Depending on the circumstances and how much chemical or salt was spilt on the grass, it might be necessary to remove several inches of contaminated dirt below the plant to insure that proper establishment is made.
  • Spring grub damage can cause brown lawn spots throughout a lawn.  The first symptoms of grub damage are usually brown discoloration of the grass plant or sod that is easily peeled back like a rug.  Inspection of the soil and grass plant will let you know if your turf has suffered grub damage.  Most lawns are always going to have grubs in them. When you have more than 10 grubs in a square foot, your grass is not able to regenerate fast enough and their damage will become evident. 
  • Spring fungus can cause small or large patches of grass to brown out depending on the fungus.  Inspection of the grass blade along with a visual guide will help identify the fungus so that the proper control can be made.