Why’s My Lawn Turning Brown?

Image of Lawn with dying grassIt’s the perfect time of year to get outside and enjoy some great weather and the Turf Shield team can’t think of a better place than your own backyard. But imagine working all year to make sure your lawn is healthy and green, and then suddenly you notice brown spots/patches running the landscape. What gives? Your lawn leaves visual clues when something isn’t quite right and since there can be a number of reasons why your lawn is turning brown, here are some of the top causes that could potentially affect your own yard.

Growing Conditions

Lack of nutrients and/or water to the soil causes grass to turn brown (because basically it doesn’t have the food needed to thrive). In the same respects, too much water or too little can stress out grass. For those of you that live in areas prone to droughts, paying close attention to how much water your lawn requires to thrive helps to reduce chances that your lawn becomes drought-dormant. Drought-dormant lawns mean grass isn’t getting adequate water and starts to focus on the roots by going into survival mode to try to prevent it from dying off.

Weeds can also cause competition for grass – as both feed off the same supply – so it’s handy to water only when needed and slow down the browning process before your yard starts to look like brittle straw. Controlling weeds can be tricky, depending on the types of weeds growing in your yard, and being mindful of what’s present, the appropriate type of lawn maintenance for the type of grass you have, and implementing an effective treatment plan as early as possible can all help stop progressive growth before it gets out of control.

People & Pets

Believe it or not, people and pets can destroy lawns over time. For people, foot traffic is one of the biggest culprits that contribute to brown lawns. When parts of your yard get trampled over and over again it disrupts soil compaction and leaves parts of your lawn lacking sufficient soil. Not enough soil + not enough nutrition = brown grass. Of course some areas of high foot traffic aren’t avoidable and will leave the grass damaged but if a walkway is installed, it can help redirect traffic and give you a chance to repair a destroyed lawn.

As for our pets, it’s their waste that does the most damage, especially coming from dogs. Dog’s urine is very acidic so whenever they go to the bathroom on the lawn, it turns it into yellow patches of dead grass. The more your pet uses the same area to pee (dogs tend to have favorite spots they go to or feel the need to “mark their territory” to cover the scent of a dog that came through before), the more damage it does collectively. If you take this a step further, think of what it can do to someone else’s yard. Try to be mindful when walking your pet as their urine could inadvertently be ruining their yard.

At-Home Lawn Treatments

Even with the best of intentions, sometimes the do-it-yourself approach to lawn care can be extremely damaging to lawns. First, and possibly one of the most notorious offenders, are chemical treatments. Fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insect repellents, and even gasoline spills can cause burned or dead grass. Knowing the appropriate amount of fertilizer to use not only reduces excessive growth (this happens when too much fertilizer is used) but the lack of nutrition (this happens when there’s not enough fertilizer used), so follow recommended feeding schedules for your specific fertilizer and grass type. Insecticides and herbicides can also be extremely damaging if spilled or if too much is used to treat your lawn. Following the manufacturer’s specific application instructions is your best defense if working on your lawn maintenance and not using professional lawn care treatments and services.

A little investigation can go a long way when trying to figure out the source of your browning lawn. Since there can be a number of reasons from disease to human error (plus the many others that we didn’t include this time), diagnosing the cause with the help of a trusted lawn care team can fight the problem before it gets bigger. We offer comprehensive lawn care packages to make your lawn as healthy as it can be, so if you’re combating a brown lawn and are interested in learning more about our lawn care services, contact Turf Shield today.