The Q&A Archives: Brown spots in lawn

Question: Every year I have the greenest lawn around. The start of this spring my lawn was great, then brown spots started popping up so I used a plug Aerator on my yard and spreading sand. I have had plenty of rain but I still have the brown spots. I looked to see if I had a bad case of thatch and that is not the issue. I was planning on putting Scott's down this weekend. And Idea's.


Answer: There are a couple of reasons for brown spots on sod; dog urine is the most common, poor contact with soil beneath the sod (a depression in the soil, perhaps?), or sprinklers that are missing those spots. To have the healthiest, greenest lawn possible, water deeply once a week (twice if the weather is really hot) to force the roots to penetrate deeply. Deep rooted grasses don't need as much water as those that are shallow rooted, and won't turn brown as easily. (Frequent, light watering will keep the roots close to the surface, making them dry out faster in warm weather and require even more frequent watering.) It's best to measure the amount of water your sprinkler puts out so you'll know how long to keep the water running. Put some tuna cans out on the lawn and turn on the sprinkler. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then check the water level in the cans. If there's not an inch of water in the cans, turn the water on again and continue to time how long it takes to get one inch of water in the cans. This will let your know how long you'll need to water to supply one-inch of water per week to your lawn. Put your lawn on a regular feeding and mowing schedule, too. Feed in April, June, September and December with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium. Mow when blades are 1 1/2" to 2" high. Don't let the grass grow really tall and then mow or you'll take off too much of the living tissue and scalp the lawn. As for using ferilizer this weekend, check the back of the package to see if there are any restrictions on using it in hot weather. Most fertilizers will burn lawns if applied in temperatures over 80F. Check the package to make sure it's safe to use at this time of year. Hope following the above guidelines will give you the greenest lawn on the block!

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