What Causes Brown Spots in Bermuda Grass and How to Fix Them


With its reputation for creating healthy, dense lawns, bermudagrass stands out as an obvious option for transforming your landscape into a lush expanse of green. You dream of a flawless, emerald carpet that feels soft underfoot. But soon, those dreams are spoiled by the appearance of unsightly brown patches.

These brown spots can feel like a bad case of acne on your otherwise green lawn. They vary in shape and the patterns they form are often the first clue to the underlying issue. Discoloration in large, sweeping areas may point to environmental factors like drought stress, excessive thatch, too much shade, soil compaction, or nutrient deficiencies. Meanwhile, small, irregular shapes often signal the presence of pests or diseases like dollar spots and brown patch fungus.


Identifying the Causes of Brown Patches in Your Bermudagrass Lawn

Understanding the underlying cause of these brown spots is essential for restoring your lawn to its full glory. By identifying whether the problem lies in your specific growing conditions or biological intruders, you can take targeted steps to address them.

Fungal Disease

One of the most common culprits behind brown spots in bermuda grass is fungal disease. These pathogens thrive in moist conditions, making them particularly troublesome during humid weather or when overwatering occurs.

Issues like brown patch disease or dollar spot result in random brown discolorations. The grass in these affected areas often appears soaked or has a yellow to dark brown border, creating distinct, unsightly patterns that make your lawn look unhealthy. Prompt identification and fungicide applications can help treat fungal disease and restore your lawn's health.


Pests also threaten bermudagrass, particularly in Florida, where insects like chinch bugs and grubs are common. These pests feed on the grass blades and roots, causing it to turn brown and die. Grubs, in particular, are ill-famed for going undetected until they have caused significant damage. By the time brown patches appear, the infestation is often severe. Regular inspections and timely pest treatments can help protect your lawn from these destructive pests.

Overwatering or Underwatering

Bermudagrass is known for its excellent heat and drought tolerance. However, improper watering practices can stress it out, leading to brown spots. Overwatering can suffocate the roots and create a breeding ground for fungi, while underwatering deprives the grass of essential moisture, causing it to dry out and turn brown.

Finding the right balance is crucial. Bermudagrass usually requires about an inch of water per week. We recommend watering deeply but less frequently to encourage deeper root growth, which helps the grass access moisture and nutrients deep into the soil, making it more resistant to environmental factors.

Poor Soil Conditions

Poor soil conditions, such as nutrient deficiencies, pH imbalances, compacted soil, poor soil drainage, and excessive thatch buildup, can lead to poor grass health, causing bermudagrass to turn brown. Overall, these conditions can weaken your grass, making it more susceptible to pests and diseases.


How to Repair Brown Spots Damage in Your Lawn

In addition to promptly treating pests and fungal diseases and adjusting your watering schedule, improving soil conditions is a crucial long-term prevention strategy to avoid the recurrence of brown patches in your bermudagrass lawn.

Although optional, a soil test can reveal nutrient and pH imbalances, providing valuable insights into applying the right fertilizers and soil amendments to create an environment conducive to optimal growth. Additionally, aerating your lawn can relieve soil compaction, while dethatching removes the excess layer of dead grass and organic matter that accumulates on the soil surface. These measures allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots more effectively while improving drainage.

This proactive, multi-faceted approach not only addresses the immediate problem but also strengthens your lawn, making it more resilient to stress, pests, and diseases. Alternatively, you can plant grass plugs to repair damage and ensure faster recovery.


Restore Brown Patches in Your Lawn with SodPods® Grass Plugs

Grass plugs are small sections of healthy, mature grass that you can plant in the affected areas to re-establish growth. They fill the bare spots quickly, preventing weed invasion and contributing to a uniform, green look. This method is a convenient and effective way to repair damaged sections and ensure your lawn recovers faster from brown spots. SodPods grass plugs are available in Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia varieties. 

Balanced fertilization is key to maintaining a healthy lawn, much like a balanced skincare routine is essential for clear skin. Just as using too many or too few skincare products can cause acne, improper fertilization can lead to nutrient imbalances that stress your bermudagrass, making it prone to brown patches and other issues.

For best results, we recommend fertilizing your grass plugs with NutriPod®, a slow-release granular fertilizer composed of balanced nutrients to support healthy growth. It helps grass plugs adapt successfully to their new environment, ensuring faster and even coverage.

Ensure a healthy, patch-free lawn with SodPods® grass plugs today. Visit our website to shop.



Jamie Tedder

Jamie surrently serve as Vice President on the board for Turfgrass Producers of Florida. He currently oversees the production of all grasses throughout all farms in Florida at Bethel Farms. He is actively working with top grass breeders, researchers, producers and end users from public and private institutions around the country to stay up to date on current industry developments. Being a University of Florida graduate, he has applied that knowledge to over 22 years of experience growing spectacular grass!

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