Brown Spots (Lawn) - Knowledgebase Question

Arlington, Te
Question by shopcoffee
April 16, 2010
I have noticed as my lawn is turning green, there are brown spots throughout the lawn. Last year, there were a few, but this year it seems to have spread to other areas. I don't think it is due to animals or overwatering but rather a fungus. What can I use to treat the entire yard? Or is it better to rake up the dead grass and put some sod down? Please advise. Thanks for your time

Answer from NGA
April 16, 2010


There are a couple of reasons for brown spots on sod; dog urine is the most common, fungal diseases are next, or sprinklers that are missing those spots. Grubs or chinch bugs can also cause browning areas. Check for chinch bugs by scraping your foot over the top of the lawn. Chinch bugs will jump up onto the top of your shoe. Check for grubs by digging out a square of turf and looking at the root system. If there are no roots, or if you find fat grubs hanging on to the roots, grubs are to blame for the browning areas. You can treat with Grubex or similar product.

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 you 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. I would rake out the dead grass and debris, then reseed those areas. Hope these guidelines will give you the greenest lawn on the block!

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