What Causes Brown Patches in Your Lawn and How to Get Rid of Them

What Causes Brown Patches in Your Lawn and How to Fix It hdr

Among the most frequently asked questions when it comes to lawn care is what to do about brown patches in your lawn and how to get rid of them.

After all, homeowners want lush, green swaths of lawn in their front and back yards, not a dead-looking lawn full of ugly brown patches.

According to Scotts, the best-selling lawn seed company in the US, there are multiple causes of brown patches, notably Fungus, Grubs, Dog Urine Burns, Weed Dieback, Forgotten Toys, and Excess Foot Traffic, as well as Thatch.

Let’s discuss the different causes and what you can do about those ugly brown patches you see in your lawn.

For further information you can also visit schwartzlawncare.com to find out more on how to keep your lawn looking great.


Fungus, depending upon the degree, may leave irregular brown patches here and there, although if the fungus has not gone too far, the inner parts of the patch may recover, leaving just a circular, outer patch.

The solution is to add a weed fungicide to your lawn. There is no need to treat the entire lawn, just the places where the brown patches appear, but you should keep an eye out for your entire lawn.


Grubs are a form of worm that kills grass by attacking the roots.

If you rake the brown patches and the grass feels spongy-like, chances are your brown spots are caused by grubs.

There are special insecticides for grubs that can be applied to your lawn, and then you follow up with a turf builder.

Dog Urine Burns

If you have a dog, and you have no problem with your front yard brown patches, but seem to have a lot of problems in the back yard where your dog roams, a likely cause is dog urine burns.

Dog urine has a great deal of nitrogen, and nitrogen can kill the grass.

Dog urine burns are typically brown in the center, with rings of dark, outer green.

In other words, this type of brown spot in unmistakable (even if you don’t smell it first!).

There are special spot repair chemicals to take care of dog urine burns, but in addition, you may want to fence off the area if it just shows up at two or three spots, to prevent your dog from using the same area over and over as its favorite urinal.

Weed dieback

Weed dieback

As grass either dies, or elements of the grass such as crabgrass die, they can cause brown patches in your lawn.

If you mow regularly, in most cases, these dead elements can be shredded and “composted” back into the ground to aid in the growth of new grass.

Weed dieback can be avoided by proper maintenance, so make sure you are up to the task or contact a professional.

Foot Traffic and Forgotten Toys

Your lawn is there to enjoy for the whole family but left out toys in the sun or even continual use by the boys or girls for soccer or football practice can leave you with brown spots.

Bouncy castles, trampolines, inflatable swimming pools, and the like often lead to brown spots. Even a hose left out can produce brown spots.

A healthy lawn can hold up against all of the above to some degree but a lawn that is already struggling suffers that much more to the additional stress placed on it from use and abuse.

Not to worry too much though. Simply remove the object, rake up the dead grass, and apply a patching solution to your dead grass.


Thatch is a buildup of dried plant material that prevents the roots from getting proper water and nutrition.

In particular, when thatch build-up is high, grass will try to establish roots within the thatch, but here the roots will not hold water and quickly dry out causing dry spots.

The key here is that it’s done correctly and thoroughly. Unfortunately, a DIY approach will only lead to a lot of work without the results to compensate for all the time and labor.

Dethatching is a complex process that needs a pro so it might be best to contact a lawn care company for this.

The bottom line

There are many reasons why brown spots appear in your lawn, but it's not always easy to assess exactly what is causing the damage, nor the best treatment to use if you rely on your own limited knowledge.

So, once you see these annoying spots in your lawn, contact a lawn care company for help.

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