What Causes Brown Spots in My Lawn? Understanding and Solutions

Gardening enthusiasts and proud homeowners alike, we’ve all been there. You’ve worked diligently to create a thick, green grass, only to find brown spots compromising its vibrant beauty. Identifying the culprit is the first step to fixing the issue. In this article, we’ll explore the common causes of brown spots in your lawn and offer practical solutions to restore your turf to its former glory.


Drought Stress

Grass needs water to thrive. During dry periods, especially in the hot summer months, your lawn may not be getting the moisture it needs, causing it to dry out and turn brown.


  • Water your lawn deeply and less frequently rather than shallow and often, to encourage deep root growth.
  • Choose drought-resistant grass varieties if you live in an area with frequent dry spells.

Fungal Diseases

Fungi like Brown Patch, Dollar Spot, and Red Thread can cause circular brown patches on your lawn.


  • Avoid watering your lawn late in the day, as this can create a damp environment that encourages fungal growth.
  • Aerate your lawn to improve air circulation.
  • Apply fungicides but make sure to follow the instructions carefully.

Pet Damage

If you have a dog, you may notice brown spots where they frequently urinate. This is due to the high nitrogen content in the urine, which can burn the grass.


  • Encourage your pet to use different areas of the yard.
  • Water the area immediately after your pet has urinated to dilute the nitrogen content.
  • Use pet-friendly lawn repair products.

Insect Infestation

Lawn pests like grubs, chinch bugs, and sod webworms can cause damage to your grass, leading to brown patches.


  • Keep your lawn healthy through proper mowing, watering, and fertilization to make it less inviting for pests.
  • Use natural predators like nematodes to combat grubs.
  • If necessary, apply pesticide treatments, but be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Thatch Buildup

Thatch is a layer of dead grass and roots that builds up between the soil and the living grass. When it becomes too thick, it prevents water and nutrients from reaching the roots.


  • Regularly rake your lawn to remove excess thatch.
  • Aerate the soil to improve the flow of water and nutrients to the roots.
  • Keep your lawn properly fertilized to promote healthy growth.

Mowing and Equipment Issues

Dull mower blades can tear the grass instead of cutting it cleanly, causing the tips to turn brown. Additionally, mowing too short can stress the grass, leading to brown patches.


  • Sharpen your mower blades regularly.
  • Mow your lawn at the recommended height for your specific grass type.
  • Make sure not to mow more than one-third of the grass blade length at a time.

Soil Compaction

When the soil is compacted, it restricts the flow of water, air, and nutrients to the grass roots.


  • Aerate your lawn regularly, especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Avoid using heavy machinery on your lawn.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Grass requires a balanced diet of nutrients to thrive. If your lawn is lacking in essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, or potassium, it can lead to brown spots.


  • Conduct a soil test to determine what nutrients your lawn might be lacking.
  • Use a fertilizer that’s well-suited to the needs of your grass, and make sure to follow the recommended application rates.

Chemical Burns

Over-application of fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides can cause chemical burns, leading to brown patches.


  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying lawn care products.
  • If you suspect a chemical burn, water the area thoroughly to wash away excess chemicals.

Shade and Sunlight Issues

Grass needs sunlight to grow, but not all grass types require the same amount. If your lawn doesn’t get enough sunlight, or if it gets too much, it can lead to brown patches.


  • Choose grass varieties that are well-suited to the amount of sunlight in your yard.
  • Trim back tree branches to allow more sunlight to reach the grass.

Poor Soil Conditions

If the soil in your lawn is not well-suited for grass growth, it may not be able to support healthy grass, leading to brown spots.


  • Amend the soil with compost to improve its texture and nutrient content.
  • Consider using a different type of grass that is better suited to the soil in your yard.

Seasonal Dormancy

Some grass types go dormant during the hot summer months or during winter, causing them to turn brown.


  • Be patient. If the brown spots are due to seasonal dormancy, the grass should green up on its own when conditions improve.
  • Water your lawn sparingly during dormant periods to prevent it from drying out too much.

Spilled Substances

Occasionally, substances like gasoline, oil, or even some cleaning products can spill onto the lawn, causing brown spots.


  • If a spill occurs, act quickly. Soak up what you can and dilute the area with water.
  • Monitor the area, and if necessary, reseed or lay new sod.

Disease and Fungi from Neighboring Plants

Sometimes brown spots can be due to diseases or fungi being spread from neighboring plants or shrubs.


  • Regularly inspect your garden and nearby plants for any signs of disease or fungus and treat them accordingly.
  • Maintain good space between your lawn and garden beds to minimize the spread of diseases.

Salt Damage

In colder climates, salt used to melt ice can damage your lawn, causing brown spots.


  • Use alternatives to salt for ice melting, such as sand or specific ice melt products that are labeled as being safe for lawns.
  • Erect a barrier between the road and your lawn to reduce salt spray from the street.



By taking the time to analyze the brown spots in your lawn and identifying the cause, you are well on your way to maintaining a luscious, green landscape. Proper care, monitoring, and sometimes a bit of trial and error will help you in keeping your lawn looking its best throughout the year. Use these tips and try Sod Pods for your lawn repair option. They can help get rid of the brown spots and make your lawn green and beautiful again.


Briana Harris

Briana grew up surrounded by agriculture which helped her to develop a love for the industry. While attending the University of Florida, she pursued degrees in both marketing and agriculture to help farms thrive in business and connect with consumers. Briana was drawn to Bethel Farms in 2019 because of their innovative spirit and family-like culture. Briana is an active gardener and enjoys creating new ways to incorporate nature in and out of homes.   

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published