Reasons For Brown Spots In Lawns

Brown spots in a lawn are a common problem.  Listed below are the major reasons why these spots occur and what can be done about them.

IMPROPERLY BALANCED PH 

This is the most common reason for brown spots. For a variety of reasons, certain areas in the lawn may change pH and become too alkaline or acidic to produce good turf.  Some fertilizers, such as ammonium sulfate and urea, can also change the pH. If you take a piece of PVC pipe, drive it in to the soil 7" and bring this sample into our lab for analysis we will do FIVE samples for FREE!

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NOT ENOUGH WATER.   

Take a screwdriver and try to push it into the soil 7".  If it does not go easily to this depth, there is not enough deep water in the turf.  See our pamphlet “How To Water” for more details on proper watering. 

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SPRING DEAD SPOT OR OTHER FUNGUS DISEASE

Tell us the symptoms of what you suspect to be a fungus disease.  A soil sample will be asked for so bring one in.

 

IMPROPER FERTILIZATION.  

Many fertilizers contain chlorides, salts, fast release nitrogen, and improperly balanced fertilizer ratios. Discuss this with our turf agronomists about how to choose a proper fertilizer and see our pamphlet “All about Fertilizers.”

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 INSECTS FEEDING ON THE TURF.  

Take a trowel or some other digging tool and dig around the edge of the brown spot.  If you find whitish grubs or other insects, you have found the problem.  Other indicators of insect problems are "tufts" of grass sticking up or "football cleat" type holes made by birds feeding on the insects. 

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HIGH THATCH BUILDUP

If you do not renovate (bermudagrass) in the spring, or in the fall before overseeding with rye grass, your lawn will continue to accumulate thatch.  Thatch buildup will discourage water penetration and can lead to hydrophobic soil. Breaking up of this thatch can be accomplished by using a mechanical plugger, an aerator, or lawn comb.

 

HYDROPHOBIC SOIL 

There is also a condition called “hydrophobic soil”, where the soil repels water inhibiting it from penetrating down through the soil profile.

   There are several solutions for this:

1. Use a soil wetting agent which will reduce tension of the soil and allow the water to penetrate through. However, this is only a temporary fix and will need to be done again.

2. Drilling holes with a soil auger, and back filling the holes with pea gravel. This is a permanent fix and should not need to be done again.

3.In severe cases, a combination of the two may be necessary.