Here are 10 possible causes of brown spots in your grass

Last Updated on: 18th October 2023, 02:32 pm

A good lawn maintenance program can improve those unsightly patches.

Brown spots in your grass can be caused by various factors, from environmental factors to disease. If you notice brown patches in your lawn, it is crucial to identify the cause so you can take the necessary steps to restore your lawn to its lush, green state. Here are ten things that might cause brown spots in your grass.

Knowing these potential causes of brown or yellow patches or spots in the lawn. Once you know the cause, you can remedy the situation. The sooner you treat them, the faster you will restore health and the lovely green color.

10 Potential Causes of Brown Spots in the Lawn

NOTE: We include the remedy for each of these possible causes of brown, yellowed patches.

1 – Insects Eat the Roots of Your Grass:

Insects such as grubs, chinch bugs, and sod webworms can cause brown spots in your grass. These insects feed on the grass, causing it to die and turn brown. Treat the lawn with an insect treatment specifically for the lawn–check the label carefully.

2 – Disease:

Diseases such as brown patch, red thread, and dollar spot can cause brown spots in your grass. These diseases are caused by fungal pathogens and can spread quickly if not treated.

You can purchase treatment products to restore the health of your lawn at your local hardware store.

3 – Drought or Underwatering Contributes to Brown Spots:

If your lawn is not getting enough water, it can cause the grass to turn brown. Make sure you are watering your lawn regularly to prevent drought-related brown spots.

Many people make the mistake of sprinkling the lawn for a little bit of time daily. Instead, try giving your lawn deep drinks of water, but reduce it to only once or twice per week. Aim for a total of one to two inches of water.

4 – Overwatering May Cause Brown Spots in the Lawn:

Too much water can also cause brown or yellow patches in your grass. Ensure you are not overwatering your lawn, which can lead to root rot and other problems. Follow the same advice as point #3.

5 – Poor Soil Can Cause Brown Patches of Grass:

Poor soil can cause brown spots in your grass. Ensure you fertilize your lawn regularly and test your soil to ensure it is healthy.

6 – Pet Urine Is One of the Most Common Causes of Brown Patches:

Pet urine can cause brown or yellow spots in your grass. This results from the presence of urea, a type of nitrogen that forms as your pets digest their food. Although this can occur with cats, it generally comes from dog urine, as they eat a high-protein diet and create a larger urine volume. Just as using too much nitrogen in a fertilizer can burn your lawn, so can urine.

Make sure you are cleaning up after your pet to prevent this from happening. You might also train your dogs to do their business in a less prominent area of your property, where you won’t have to see the damage.

7 – Compacted Soil Causes Brown Spots:

Compacted soil can cause brown or yellowed patches in your grass. The soil’s weight can smother the grass’s roots, causing it to wither or wilt and die eventually.

Aerate your lawn regularly to prevent soil compaction.

compacted soil compaction

8 – Full-Sun Grass Has Too Much Shade, Causing an Unhealthy Appearance:

If you planted a sun-loving grass seed cultivar, too much shade can cause dead patches in your grass. If your lawn is in a shaded area, make sure you use grass varieties suited for shade. Check with a lawn care expert or the local ag extension office to inquire about the best species for shady yards.

9 – The Application of Herbicides (Weed Killers):

If you have recently applied either liquid or granular herbicides to your lawn, this can cause brown spots. These products usually target weeds, but mixing the chemicals with a heavy hand could also damage the grass. Ensure you follow the instructions on the product label to prevent this from happening.

10 – Fungus Can Kill the Grass:

Fungal diseases such as rust, powdery mildew, and leaf spot can cause brown spots in your grass. Make sure you treat your lawn for these diseases to prevent them from spreading. You can purchase the necessary product in a hardware store’s lawn and garden section–follow the application instructions precisely.


The Takeaway: Know the Possible Causes of Brown Spots or Brown Patches of Grass and Fix the Conditions ASAP

By identifying the cause of the brown patches in your grass, you can take the necessary steps to restore your lawn to its lush, green state. Follow Tayloe’s Lawn Care Services on Facebook to receive prompt alerts when we publish our upcoming lawn care, landscaping, or gardening content. And, of course, reach out if you need us to help you keep your lawn well-maintained.

Author Profile

Deborah Tayloe
Deborah Tayloe
Deborah Tayloe is the CEO and co-founder of Tayloe's Lawn Care Services, LLC. She has a B.S.Ed and holds certificates in soil and water management and herbology from accredited programs.
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