7 Causes of the Brown Spots in Your Lawn

Imagine spending hours every day tending your lawn to wake up and find brown patches ruining the otherwise beautiful stretch of lush, green grass. It’s severely frustrating and alarming, especially if you think you’ve done everything right, but there is still dead or dying grass randomly appearing one day.

There are numerous reasons why brown patches are showing up in your yard, but the first step in treating them is identifying what causes the problem first. Numerous ways are available to solve this problem, but you have to know first what you are dealing with. So don’t fret because the following are the top  seven (7) of the cause of brown spots on your lawn.

Grubs Thatch

Grubs are plump, white beetle larvae that damage the grass by eating its roots, leading to small brown patches. The brown spots can eventually widen, and they appear in a relatively uniform way. They commonly happen during mid to late summer.

Patches caused by grubs can be most easily identified when they feel sponge-like and roll up from the ground like a carpet when raked (because of the root damage). The damage can be repaired at any time, but fall is best.


Another common cause of the unsightly brown patches in your yard is a fungus. Specifically, Rhizoctonia is the leading cause of the Brown patch disease. It generally creates yellowish-brown circular or irregular patches and commonly happens when it’s extremely rainy or humid.

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Excessive nitrogen, high heat and humidity, too much thatch, poor soil damage, and compacted soil also can be the cause of Brown disease. However, if the fungal disease has been active for quite some time already, the inside of the patch will be healing already and only leaving a ring of dead grass surrounding it.

Thatch is an accumulation of decaying and dead materials. They can be found between the plant’s root system and leaf blade, preventing the food and water from getting to the roots. Due to this, the plant starts to dry out and then causes the brown patch that appears in your yard. In simple terms, it chokes out the healthy grass.

The thatch build-up happens when your lawn is not adequately fed, water, or mowed. There are instances where the build-up is too high that plants basically grow and develop roots in the thatch layer.

Pet Urine Burns

When you have pet/s in your household, their urine is a potential reason for brown patches in your lawn. This is because pet urine burns are high in nitrogen, and it’s recognizable by the brown spots on the center but is surrounded by dark rings. Aside from dogs and cats, birds are also a likely culprit for the brown spots.

Improper Mowing

When you’re using a dull blade when mowing, it can cause more harm than good. The dull blades can tear up the grass instead of cutting it cleanly, eventually leading to the grass dying. When the damaged and shredded grass dies, it will turn into brown patches.

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However, even if your mower blades are sharp, they can still cause damage to your grass, called scalping. If you cut the grass too short, it can create brown spots in your yard. Make sure to cut a third of the grass blades at a time by raising your mower blades to prevent this issue.

Improper Use of Chemicals

The chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, kerosene, and gasoline can make dead spots in your lawn if they’re spilled. In addition, excessive and improper use of fertilizer is also harmful to the plants because it contains nitrogen. Don’t use more than what is recommended, and don’t fertilize on hot days because they can burn your grass. Insect repellants can also burn your lawn when they are sprayed on the grass blades.

Foot Traffic and Forgotten Things

Sometimes it’s our own doing that results in spots appearing in your yard. It’s nice being outdoors once in a while, especially during a warm sunny day where your family can gather, play, and have fun on your lawn. Another instance includes having a barbeque over the weekend or having a birthday party with bouncy castles and inflatable pools.

However, it can potentially cause brown patches on your lawn. You might be left with dead and dying patches of grass underneath the bouncy castle, inflatable pool, tables, chairs, etc. Stepping your grass repeatedly and even accidentally leaving out your hose in the yard can damage your grass. Other than that, buried and forgotten debris also causes brown spots.

Final Thoughts

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Upon knowing what causes the brown spots in your lawn, you can easily understand how to treat them and restore your lawn into its former glory. You can find the proper treatment method for the dead or dying grass after spending some time researching on the internet. However, when in doubt, you can always consult a professional.


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