The Q&A Archives: Browning Patches of Lawn

Question: Most of my lawn is lush, no doubt due to my use of Scott Products. However, I have a particular area of lawn that appears to have died almost overnight! What makes this odd is the patch of dead grass is in a circle with the middle of the circle lush and green.........aliens perhaps?? It looks as if I have a giant brown bagel in the middle of my front lawn.

Answer: There are two situations that might have caused the alien invasion. The first is easy - dog urine can burn the grass but the nitrogen contained in the urine can quickly green the lawn up, in the center of the spot, leaving a dead ring around it. The second possibility is a fungal disease called Fairy Ring. Fairy rings appear first as circular patches of dark green, enlarging into small circles or circular areas in spring and early summer. Eventually a ring of dead grass develops along the inside of the green zone. Sometimes small tan mushrooms appear. Another green ring often appears inside the dead zone. The fungus (Marasmius) thrives under mild, moist conditions. If the spots in your lawn are caused by animal urine, they will clear up by themselves. If it's a disease, you may need to treat it. Find out for sure by taking a sample of both healthy and affected grass, including the roots and soil, to your local Cooperative Extension office. Contact University of California, 21150 Box Springs Rd., Moreno Valley 92557. (Phone 909-683-6491)

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