Lawns in Lubbock can be challenging to keep green and healthy and it takes some effort. If you’re a Lubbock resident who loves your lawn, and goes the extra mile to keep it looking great, there is nothing more aggravating than brown spots. You’ve spent time and money making sure it looks good and now what?! What the heck is causing brown spots. Have no fear! The team at Ashton Walden has put together this list to help you identify, diagnose, and repair your brown spots.
What Causes Brown Spots in Your Lawn?
Many factors affect your lawn – temperature, precipitation, insects, mowing practices, foot traffic, fertilizer, pets and so much more. The trick is figuring out which of these factors are most likely responsible for your lawn’s demise. Lawn care experts have identified at least five causes for brown patches in the lawn. Check to see if any of these conditions match your lawn’s recent history. We’ll start with the easiest to identify and fix and work our way through all five.
Cause of Brown Spots in Lawn: Dog Urine
If you don’t have a dog, you can probably rule this one out, however, don’t forget about neighbors’ pets. Sometimes they do their duty where they are not supposed to. Dog urine contains large amounts of nitrogen and can burn your lawn much like too much fertilizer will. Pet urine brown spots will be smaller than fertilizer spots. Pay attention to where your dog goes and see if the places coincide with dead spots.
CURE: There are several ways to combat urine spots.
- Saturate the area where the dog urinates with water (a watering can is handy).
- Feed your pet a high quality dog food that has more digestible protein sources so not so much will be excreted in the urine.
- Train your dog to urinate in a less visible area of the lawn.
- Feed your dog a supplement specially formulated to neutralize the protein in the urine.
Cause of Brown Spots in Lawn: Overfertilizing
It is possible to put too much fertilizer on a lawn. Fertilizers are largely made of salts, and too much burns the grass and causes it to turn brown. If you’ve fertilized your lawn lately, this could be the cause of the trouble.
CURE: If the fertilizer was spilled in a small area, clean up as much as possible. If the entire lawn was overfertilized, apply water as soon as possible. Water helps to dilute and flush the mineral salts away from the roots. On the first day, water until the ground can’t soak in any more. Then water every day for about a week. Then all you can do is wait and see how bad the damage is and if your lawn will recover. TIP: Water in the morning to reduce the risk of fungal diseases.
Cause of Brown Spots in Lawn: Poor Drainage
Patches of standing water on the grass or soil that don’t drain well can also kill the grass and cause the area to turn brown. Have you noticed any pooling in the areas where the grass is browning? Pay attention after the next rain or watering and see if water is gathering where the brown patches exist.
CURE: Luckily, this is a pretty easy fix. Look into better drainage solutions or raise the area if it is too low compared with the rest of your lawn.
Related Read: Six Tips You Need to Know When You Mow
Cause of Brown Spots in Lawn: Pathogens
If you’ve ruled out the above causes, disease and fungi could be causing your brown spots. Hot, humid weather provides the ideal conditions needed for lawn fungi to grow (though some fungal diseases attack lawns even in cold weather). These fungi create round patches of brown grass up to several feet in diameter.
CURE: Give lawns a dose of fungicide and water sparingly during treatment, as fungus requires ample moisture to survive. Special fungicide is usually needed to rid your lawn of this problem.
Cause of Brown Spots in Lawn: Improper Mowing
This is probably the least likely cause, but we can’t rule it out. Mowing the lawn with a dull blade doesn’t cut the grass cleanly, but tears the blades. This allows pathogens to get into the grass, sicken and then kill it. Also, cutting the grass too low (cutting more than one third of the blade’s length at at time) reduces its ability to make food, weakening the grass and causing it to turn brown. Generally, the damage doesn’t leave a circular pattern of spots, though. The damage is likely to be equal across your lawn. If your lawn is bumpy and uneven, there could be scalping at the top of the bumps causing a circular pattern. If your lawn is basically flat and even, improper mowing is not the culprit.
CURE: Sharpen your mower blades and cut the grass at the proper length.