Does your lawn look more brown than green? There are many reasons why healthy grass turns to dead grass during the summer, such as going dormant during a heatwave.
Yet there is hope. You can always bring back dead grass into a vibrant green one. You need first to discover what’s causing your yard grass to brown.
12 Causes for a Brown Lawn
The list is quite long for the reasons why your property’s yard is brown. Many times a lawn browns up because of human error, our pets, insect problems or the weather.
Here are 12 causes for dead grass:
- Dull mower blades: Ragged cuts on your lawn grass opens it up to disease and insects. When was the last time your sharpened your mower blades?
Solution: Sharpen mower blades two times a year—once in the spring and once in the fall.
- Cutting your grass yard too low: When you scalp your lawn, you’re thinning out your grass, allowing weeds to take root. Plus, when you set your mower too low to the ground, you can tear up lawn grass when you hit ruts or drive over tree roots.
Solution: Raise your mower blades only to take the top third off the grass plant when you mow your lawn.
- Chemical spill: If you pour gas into your mower while you’re on your lawn, you could burn your turf. Too much fertilizer, herbicides, and insecticides also cause dead grass.
Solution: Pour chemicals into your mower or spreader while parked on the driveway to protect your grass yard.
- Dog urine: You may notice dead grass patches in the area where your dog urinates. It’s the high nitrogen content in dog urine that causes these dead grass patches to form. It’s similar to applying too much fertilizer in one spot.
Solution: Teach Fido to go to one area for the potty. You can either add fake grass or mulch for your dog to use.
- Poor soil: Compacted soil or missing nutrients can cause the grass to die. On the same token, using too much fertilizer also burns your grass lawn.
Solution: You can improve the soil by testing it, and adding the appropriate soil amendments and fertilizer. Plus, you can aerate your lawn to allow oxygen and water to penetrate deep into the soil.
- Buried treasure: You can take a screwdriver to poke into the brown patch to see if something got buried there, causing dead grass.
Solution: If your dog likes to dig, dedicate a particular spot for him to dig and bury his toys.
- Erosion on slopes: If your property is on a hill, you may notice that grass seed and sprouts get washed away whenever there’s a gully washer.
Solution: You have a lot of options when it comes to slopes. You can add a dry river bed or put in sod rather than grass seed. You can also turn a slope into a flowerbed or rock garden.
- Tree roots: It’s difficult to grow grass underneath trees—due to the roots that sit close to the soil surface as well as the abundant shade that trees provide.
Solution: Don’t plant grass around your trees; apply mulch around them instead. Mulch provides all the benefits of temperature regulation, weed preventer, as well as protects your tree from the lawn mower.
- Dormancy: Cool season lawns go dormant, meaning they turn brown when temperatures start to rise to 90ºF, and there’s no rain in the forecast.
Conversely, warm season grasses go dormant in winter. Many homeowners decide to plant annual ryegrass to provide some green in their yards.
Solution: Allow your lawn to go dormant or use an in-ground sprinkler system to water your lawn during a heatwave.
- Too much thatch: Thatch is that dead layer between the soil and the live grass line. When lawn thatch grows to more than a ½” thick, it can suffocate your yard grass. Diseases and insects take hold, leaving you with dead grass.
Solution: Do you know how to revive dead grass? If not, here is a short primer on the steps to revive your dead lawn.
Dethatch your lawn if you can. If not, you’ll need to revive your yard by adding a non-selective herbicide, such as glyphosate to kill all weeds and grass.
Then, dethatch the area to get rid of dead grass and weeds. When you dethatch using a dethatcher, you’ll be tilling the soil as well.
Next, you must test the soil and add the appropriate soil amendments to the bare ground. Afterward, you can lay sod or plant grass seed. Use a lawn roller to smooth out any air pockets underneath the sod or to push down the grass seed.
Add some compost or a lawn starter fertilizer. Then, you need to water the newly planted grass gently, so 1” of water penetrates the soil layer. You need to water your lawn up to two times a day until you start seeing shoots popping up through the ground.
- Lawn diseases: Brown patch and other fungal diseases cause dead grass patches to form.
Solution: Fungicide and cutting back on fertilizer corrects most of the grass lawn diseases. Also, since many lawn diseases result in dead patches of grass, you can rake or mow over the dead grass.
If you don’t have new grass popping up as the lawn disease goes away, you’ll need to replant turf in those dead grass patches. Follow the above instructions, but on a smaller scale for repairing a bare spot. Instead of thatching, you’ll rake the area.
- Bug problems: Grubs eat the roots of your yard grass. You can tell you have a grub problem when you can roll back your lawn like a carpet, and when count 10 or more grubs within 1 sq. ft., you have a grub problem.
Solution: Use grub control to prevent grubs. There are many different types of insects that destroy lawns, in addition to grubs. You can find insecticides at your local garden center for each specific bug.
How Brinly-Hardy Lawn Care Attachments Help You Revive Dead Grass
Let Brinly-Hardy Lawn Care and Garden Attachments save you time and labor as you revive your dead grass. You can find Brinly products online. If you can’t find any Brinly-Hardy attachments near you, contact our customer service at 877-728-8224 or by filling out our contact form.
GreenView.com, “How to Fix Dead Patches.”
LawnStarter.com, “Reviving a Dead Lawn: A 7-Step Plan.”
TodaysHomeowner.com, “How to Identify the Cause of Brown Spots.”