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Brown Spot Causes

Brown Spots In Grass: Causes,Identification And Prevention

Brown spots is a fungal disease caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia that leaves large circular brown patches on lawns. Brown spots attack grass that grows in the fall when the weather is cooling down.There are several reasons your lawn may develop a brown patch, including high heat and humidity, moisture, poor soil damage, excessive nitrogen, too much thatch, and compacted soil. 

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To prevent brown spots you should water your lawn on schedule, mow high, reduce thatch, fertilize properly, and make efforts on maintaining a healthy lawn. You can identify brown spots by observing yellowish-brown irregular circular patches in your lawn, surrounded by a smoke ring border. 

What Causes Brown Spots In Grass?

There are various causes of brown spots in grass. Some of them are explained below:

1. Improper Mowing

You may like mowing lawn frequently in summers as your grass grows so fast. However, if grass grows too high, the sun can’t penetrate the surface and move heat and moisture away.This causes the brown patches to thrive. To avoid this, keep the setting on your mower about 1/2 inch higher than normal during the summer months.

If your mower blades are dull, they tear up your grass besides cutting it cleanly. Shredded and damaged grass will die, and can cause brown spots. To not let this happen, sharpen your mower blades in spring and fall.

2. Pet Urine Burns

Pets, such as dog urine, naturally cause damage to grass, leaving burned, bare brown spots or discolored grass behind. Pet urine burns on lawn happen because of the high amount of nitrogen and related salts naturally contained in dog urine.

Female dogs often get blamed for urine burns on grass, but their urine is the same as that of male dogs. Lawn damage happens when concentrated urine collects in a single area. It’s similar to fertilizer burn.

Minor lawn damage due to dog urine spots often gets resolved on its own as healthy new growth emerges in your lawn. However, areas that your pet frequents for urination will usually require repair.

To repair the area damaged by pet urine, water it deeply and repeatedly to flush the urine salts out of the surrounding soil. If your grass becomes dead, remove the dead grass from the area, and then repair the spot with sowing new seed. 

3. Brown Patch Disease

Brown patch lawn disease is one of the most fatal of all lawn diseases. It creeps up on your lawn grass and destroys large areas of lawn virtually overnight when the weather conditions are just right for it.

Brown patch disease attacks a wide variety of grass types, and it likes the lawns receiving large amounts of fast release nitrogen fertilizer.

Brown patch is really a summer lawn disease that begins to show growth when temperatures reach 65°. The most active growth of brown patch lawn disease takes place at temperatures of 80-85° when humidity levels are very high.

Since high levels of fast release nitrogen multiply the growth, use a correct blend of fertilizers for fertilizing your lawn during the warmer months. Reduce stress and limit the movement of grass disease by mowing less frequently during periods of hot and humid weather.  

4. Too Much Fertilizer

Too much nitrogen in the fertilizer can lead to brown patches. Try to avoid fertilizing your lawn when the weather is hot and humid, and select a fertilizer with a suitable NPK value. NPK refers to the proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the fertilizer. You can also ask your local gardening store about how to use fertilizer and which one is the best for your lawn.

5. Poor Soil Quality

An important contributing factor towards the health of your lawn is the soil quality. Poor soil quality, such as compacted or nutrient deficient soil can make the root system impaired and your lawn prone to insects and disease. 

Moreover, pH levels may not be adequate for your grass. Aerating your lawn and modifying the soil can help it, but you first need to test your soil. Accordingly, take measures by addressing the underlying issues. 

6. Grubs

Grubs are plump, white beetle larvae that can do deep underground damage by eating roots, leading to small brown patches that gradually widen consistently. Their feeding habits result in uniform, sponge-like brown spots in your grass and roll up when raked due to the root damage. 

There are various natural home remedies to get rid of from grubs, like introducing favorable nematodes or milky spores. The damage caused by it can be repaired any time though fall is the best time. Lawn care companies like Eden offer grub control, so you don’t have to do any guesswork.

7. Soil Erosion

Water is prone to run off slopes, taking grass seeds and young shoots with it that leaves bare ground or dried out areas behind.

You can fight soil erosion by aerating your lawn that will increase water absorption and prevent your lawn grass from drying out. If the slope is steep, building terraces or planting ground covers will help.

8. Thatch

Thatch is a buildup of debris that contains decaying grass blades and organic matter that builds up between the grass blades and root system. Half an inch of thatch is good as it will make the grass more adaptable to wear and temperature extremes. 

A layer over half inch can choke out healthy grass and be the root cause of brown spots by preventing the flow of water, air and nutrients that makes your lawn more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Grass roots will also start to spread in the thick layer of thatch, instead of the soil.

Dethatching is required when the layer of thatch becomes too thick. The best time to dethatch is not when you notice your lawn turning brown. It is most effective and causes the least amount of stress on your lawn during the active growing season.

9. Dormancy

Your lawn grass will turn brown when it goes dormant. Cool-season lawns can go dormant during summer while warm-season lawns go dormant during the winter. If your lawn has a mix of grasses, you may have some brown patches as some areas will go dormant while others stay green. 

Seasonal dormancy is inevitable. You just have to make sure your lawn is strong and healthy to avoid unnecessary browning.

How To Identify Brown Spots In Grass 

You can identify brown spots on the grass by observing yellowish-brown irregular circular patches in your lawn, surrounded by a smoke ring border.

Brown patches may appear as early as spring green-up. Sunken, circular patches of dead, tan grass appear, measuring up to 3 feet in diameter. The patches expand up to 20 feet wide, ringed with smoky, grayish margins of wilted, dark, dying grass. 

How To Prevent Brown Spots In Grass

Here are some methods listed of getting rid of brown patches in your lawn:

1. Watering on schedule

Watering your lawn frequently increases your lawn’s risk of developing brown patches, which happens when the surface is wet but the soil is dry. Make a schedule to water every 3-4 days, deeply approximately 1/2 inch per session.

The best time of the day to water your lawn is early in the morning before the sun shines too brightly and the moisture becomes confined to the surface during the hottest part of the day.

2. Mow high

Your lawn grass grows fast in summer so you might want to cut your grass short. However, if your grass grows too high, the sun can’t penetrate the surface and move heat and moisture away.

As a result, brown patches can flourish. To prevent it, keep the setting on your mower higher about 1/2 inch than normal during the summer months.

3. Reduce heavy thatch

Thick layer of thatch on your lawn can cause brown patches that enable fungi to breed and also stops the soil from absorbing water and delivering it to the roots. To reduce thatch, try aerating your lawn in the late summer or early fall. 

The aeration process helps remove thousands of small soil plugs so the soil can absorb water. This will help your lawn get an adequate supply of oxygen, nutrients, and water it needs to be healthy and look its best.

3. Ensure proper drainage

Compacted soil leads to poor drainage in your lawn which is a common problem for homeowners. Heavy foot trafficked areas of your lawn are most vulnerable to compaction, and result in the buildup of excess surface moisture.

To prevent soil compaction, Eden recommends aerating your lawn twice a year, once in the spring, and again in the fall.

4. Maintain a healthy lawn

The healthier you keep your lawn, the easier it will be to prevent brown patches. Give proper attention to your grass by providing it the nutrients and protection it needs to flourish all over the year, this includes regular watering, mowing, fertilizing, and weed control.

If you don’t get enough time to maintain your lawn, it is best to hire a professional local lawn care company so they take care of it for you throughout the year.

Eden provides professional lawn care services to make it easy for you to maintain your lawn throughout the year and prevent it from brown spots. Contact Eden today and hire our skilled hands for your lawn.

Grass cutting taking up all your time? Call us, and we will do it for you!