Skip to Content

Fix Brown Patches in Lawn: a Simple Guide (2023)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

Are you dealing with unsightly brown patches in your lawn? Brown spots can be caused by a multitude of factors, and it’s important to identify the source before attempting to fix them. Fortunately, Scotts® has made fixing dead grass patches simple with this guide on how to repair brown patch in your lawn.

We’ll show you how to reseed dead spots, use sod for larger areas, adjust sprinkler heads and deep water for better absorption into dry soil.

Key Takeaways

how to fix brown patch in lawn

  • Regular soil testing can help identify the underlying causes of brown patches in the lawn.
  • Reseeding dead spots and using sod for larger areas can help revive the lawn.
  • Adjusting sprinkler heads and deep watering can improve water absorption in dry soil.
  • Examining blades of grass and controlling soil acidity levels are important for maintaining lawn health.

Identifying the Problem

Identifying the Problem
You’re probably scratching your head, trying to figure out what’s causing those pesky clumps of grass in your backyard. Don’t fret! With a bit of detective work and some simple solutions, you’ll be back on the path to lush green lawns in no time.

Brown patches are caused by several factors such as foot traffic, lack of fertilization or disease prevention measures, as well as chemical spills or drought. Regular soil testing can help identify problems like insect infestations, which may cause brown spots and other discoloration in the grass blades.

Applying fertilizer correctly is also key for preventing yellow streaks from appearing due to uneven application rates throughout the yard, while proper watering schedules will ensure deep root growth that keeps turfgrasses healthy even during heat stress periods.

Lastly, reseeding dead patches with fresh seed or patching bare spots with sod can further revive ailing areas. However, this should only be done after all causes have been identified and remedied appropriately since reseeding requires patience but still might not produce results if underlying issues remain unaddressed.

With these steps taken care of, though, you’ll soon see an end to those troublesome brown patches!

Reseeding Dead Spots

Reseeding Dead Spots
Ready to revive your dead patches? Get started with the basics by removing debris, adding compost, protecting the seed, and lightly fertilizing.

Removing Debris

Before reseeding dead spots or patching bare ones with sod, start by removing any debris like twigs and leaves. To ensure success, consider adding compost to the area before sowing seeds. Protect the seeds from birds using a garden cultivator and spreaders for even distribution of lime if needed.

Soil testing beforehand is always a good idea! Brown patches can be caused by many factors such as turf injury, so understanding underlying issues helps prevent the recurrence of brown patches in your lawn.

Adding Compost

Adding compost to the area can provide your lawn with the necessary nutrients, preventing compaction and aiding in the revival of dead grass. You can choose from a variety of compost types, but it is recommended to conduct a soil test beforehand for optimal results.

Apply a 3-inch layer of compost over loamy soil and then cover it with a thin layer of grass seed. It is crucial to carefully follow composting tips to ensure a proper pH balance and promote healthy growth of the root system, ultimately leading to the successful restoration of patchy turf.

Protecting the Seed

Once you’ve added the compost and seed, protect the area from birds or other animals by covering it with a light layer of straw or mulch. This is a great way to prevent erosion and provide essential soil nutrients for root growth.

Additionally, conducting soil tests can help identify underlying factors such as pH levels that may need to be addressed before better lawn care can begin. A small amount of fertilizer may also be necessary in order for your grass to thrive over time.

By taking these steps, you’ll have taken control of any brown patches while providing your lawn with all it needs for its best health!

Lightly Fertilizing

After reseeding dead spots, it’s time to lightly fertilize the lawn for optimal health and growth. Applying fertilizer in accordance with soil pH levels, watering schedules, lime application rates, and best practices is essential.

Fertilizing can help repair damage caused by chemical spills or heat stress while promoting lush green grass when done correctly. Addressing any underlying problem(s) is key as poor soil’s pH balance can hinder success before you even start! Make sure to follow instructions carefully for the best results and a healthy lawn free of brown patches.

Monitoring the Area

It is important to monitor the area regularly after reseeding bare spots. Adjusting pH levels, using a fertilizer spreader, deep watering, and soil testing with traditional manual test kits or lime sulfur can all help keep large brown spots at bay.

Mysterious grass circles may require additional treatment such as fungicide or replanting affected areas, and watch out for uneven application of fertilizer! Monitor the area closely to ensure lush green growth and prevent further damage from occurring.

Patching With Sod

Patching With Sod
Patching bare spots with sod is a great way to quickly revive brown patches in your lawn. To get the best results, you’ll want to accurately measure the area and select an appropriate turfgrass for your region before firmly placing each piece of sod and watering it immediately.

After that, regular lawn treatment schedules should be assumed around 14 days after placement.

Measuring the Area

Before patching with sod, measure the area of your brown patches to ensure you get enough turfgrass. Use a sharp shovel and ruler for accuracy. Consider soil pH levels; use soil test kits if needed or apply lime/sulfur as necessary.

Selecting the Turfgrass

Choose turfgrass carefully to ensure a lush, healthy lawn that will look great for years to come. Consider soil type and age of the lawn when selecting turfgrass sod. Test the pH of your soil with a handful of it, or use an at-home kit if large trees are present.

Add compost as necessary and water correctly according to species’ needs. Fertilizing tips should be tailored based on your yard’s specifics.

Firmly Placing the Sod

Once you have selected the turfgrass, firmly place the sod in an overlapping pattern to create a seamless look. To get it right, check your soil’s pH and add any missing nutrients. Battle tough lawn diseases with insect and grub control granules.

Let Ryan Lawn & Tree Care Vice President of Turf Management do some detective work on the proper amount of fertilizer for optimal results.

Watering Immediately

Once the sod has been firmly placed, it’s important to water immediately and consistently for best results. Give it an initial deep watering right away so roots can take hold and grow quickly.

Adjust sprinkler heads for full coverage. Wilting or browning grass may indicate a need for deep watering infrequently but longer periods encourage deeper root growth.

Water in cool early-morning temperatures to limit evaporation. This helps prevent fungal growth such as fairy rings and grass matting caused by fungi due to consecutive wet nights.

Fertilizing techniques using Adam Cain and Chad Diller’s Garden Hoe can help correct soil acidity issues from lack of water too!

Regular Lawn Treatment

After the sod is firmly placed, it’s important to give your lawn regular treatment and maintenance for optimal growth. Test the soil’s pH with a soil testing kit and lime if necessary. Monitor insect infestations, apply weed control when needed, and address dead grass conditions early on.

Re-seed or patch brown patch areas as soon as possible to stop its spread before starting any new seed in that area.

Adjusting Sprinkler Heads

Adjusting Sprinkler Heads
Adjusting your sprinkler heads to provide maximum coverage could be the key to keeping brown patches away from your lawn for good. Watering infrequently, but for longer periods of time, will help promote deep root growth and decrease the likelihood of brown patches forming in dry areas.

To ensure effective water absorption, it’s important that you adjust the pattern so each area receives full coverage. If soil pH is an issue, adding lime or sulfur can balance out acidity levels and keep grass healthy.

Clear pine needles off as they can interfere with adequate watering by creating a thin layer on top of the soil, preventing moisture from getting through completely.

In addition to fungus control products such as fungicides, applying a thin layer of straw over affected areas may also help reduce fungal spread while protecting against drought damage at the same time.

Regularly check your soil’s pH level using a kit to determine if adjustments need to be made. Add one cup (237 ml) of distilled water into 8 ounces (227 g) of dry sod samples taken from different parts throughout your lawn.

This will give you further insight into what nutrient needs improvement to enhance its overall condition.

It’s easy enough to do these tests yourself, but there are professionals available who specialize in assessing soils like Lawn Doctor or other services that offer tailored advice specific to maintaining optimal health all year round.

Deep Watering

Deep Watering
Deep watering is essential for keeping a green lawn and preventing brown patches from forming. Watering infrequently, but deeply, encourages deeper root growth, which helps the turf access more nutrients in the soil.

To achieve deep-root watering, set your sprinkler heads correctly so each area of grass gets full coverage. Water for longer periods of time with fewer applications. It’s also important to consider water timing.

Morning is best as it gives less chance for evaporation during hot summer days, while still allowing enough time before nightfall when fungus can start growing again.

When spreading fertilizer on dead spots or affected areas, be sure to follow instructions carefully. Uneven application can cause streaks in your lawn that require additional work down the road, such as reseeding or re-sodding those areas if left untreated too long! Additionally, aim to adjust pH levels using lime or sulfur if necessary.

It’ll help maintain optimal soil acidity balance (pH) and provide better overall results than just fertilizing alone would do on its own.

Finally, choose an appropriate turfgrass variety suitable for your climate conditions when dealing with dead patches.

Examining the Blades of Grass

Examining the Blades of Grass
Examining the blades of grass can help you identify whether your lawn has a fungus or an improper watering issue. Up to 85% of turfgrass diseases are caused by fungi. Take a close look at the brown blades and see if they appear wilted, discolored, thinned out, or have irregular shapes that don’t match other areas in your yard.

If so, it’s likely due to fungal activity rather than just needing more water. University extensions can be helpful for identifying specific types of fungi and providing treatment options.

Additionally, checking the soil’s pH is important as high acidity levels may cause brown spots. These spots can be corrected with lime or sulfur applications. Regular deep watering will encourage deeper root growth necessary for maintaining a healthy lawn root system.

It will also help prevent insect infestations from occurring due to heat stress or disease-weakened turfgrass plants.

If all else fails, seek help from experts such as those featured on Today’s Homeowner TV show.

High Soil Acidity

High Soil Acidity
High soil acidity can be a major cause of brown spots in your yard, so it’s important to check the pH levels with a soil test kit. The results will help you determine if any fertilizer adjustments are necessary and what type of lime treatments may be needed for optimal lawn health.

Additionally, compacted soils can lead to poor drainage, which makes it difficult for water and nutrients to reach grass roots properly. Therefore, aerating these areas at the start of spring is recommended. Also, ensure that sprinkler heads provide full coverage without leaving dry patches behind.

Timing is also key when watering – avoid evening or nighttime sessions since this could encourage fungal growth on an otherwise healthy-looking lawn in the Kansas City area or anywhere else!

Fertilizing correctly according to regional climate conditions helps ensure maximum absorption while avoiding overuse, which often leads back to brown patch issues no matter how much you try watering and adjusting pH level!

Fairy Rings

Fairy Rings
Check for mysterious circles in your lawn — if you notice any, it could be a sign of the fungal issue known as fairy rings! These are caused by fungi that live in the soil and can damage grass roots.

To diagnose if this is your problem, examine the blades of grass to see if they look different from surrounding turf. If so, try deep watering or treating with fungicide as a first line of defense before resorting to more extreme cases such as digging up and replacing affected areas.

While beneficial insects help control some problems like grubs, pesticides should be avoided unless necessary since they can kill off other helpful bugs too! Mulch spreading around trees may also prevent brown spots due to root competition or pine needle accumulation, which tend not dead grass conditions.

Today’s Homeowner TV show recommends adjusting sprinkler heads for full coverage when dealing with high soil acidity or selecting proper turfgrass depending on climate requirements.

In addition, winterizing fertilizer applied after repairing bare spots will ensure long-term success while avoiding yellow streaks across otherwise healthy-looking yards. However, water management remains perhaps one last thing worth considering before moving onto any other strategies recommended by experts at Lawn Doctor or elsewhere online today.

Grass Matting

Grass Matting
If you’ve noticed grass matting in an area of your lawn, it could be a sign of fungal growth. Fungus thrives in wet conditions and may appear as discoloration or clumps that are easily lifted away from the soil.

To prevent matting before it starts, regularly aerate the entire lawn to promote healthy drainage while also reducing compaction due to foot traffic.

Corrective action should then involve deep watering and applying fungicide for better control over fungus populations within affected areas!

Here’s what else you can do:

  • Monitor Soil pH: A soil test kit will help determine if acidic levels are too high for optimal turf health; lime or sulfur is often used to correct this issue.
  • Spread Mulch Around Trees: This helps retain moisture while preventing pine needle accumulation that leads to dead grass conditions around tree trunks where there isn’t enough sunlight exposure!
  • Adjust Sprinkler Heads: Make sure sprinklers cover all areas evenly so water reaches every corner without pooling in specific spots on your property.

Growing Grass Under Trees

Growing Grass Under Trees
Growing grass under trees can be a difficult task due to the lack of sunlight and pine needle accumulation. However, spreading mulch around the base of the tree is an effective alternative that helps retain moisture.

Mulch alternatives, such as wood chips or bark, can help prevent fungal growth by keeping soil temperatures cooler in hot weather. Proper sunlight exposure is also necessary for fungal control, which may require pruning branches to create more open space for light penetration.

Regular soil testing should also be performed since high acidity levels could cause dead patches in your lawn.

When trying to grow grass, it’s important to address not only issues with fungus but also other potential problems, like creepy crawly bugs hiding underneath leaves and debris at ground level! Use a top rake when cleaning up yard waste and check for any signs of insect infestations before applying fertilizer.

Finally, remember that lawn problems won’t disappear overnight. You’ll need patience because a lot of times they take time to resolve, even with consistent care practices on your part!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I mow my lawn?

Mow your lawn regularly, at least once a week. Doing so will help maintain a healthy root system and keep your grass looking fresh. Cutting too low can cause damage, while cutting too high won’t get rid of weeds or dead patches.

How can I protect my lawn from insects?

Protect your lawn from pesky insects with insecticides tailored to the specific bug. Apply granular formulas for long-lasting defense, and consider using fungicide on fairy rings or grass matting caused by fungi.

Regularly monitor your lawn for signs of infestation and adjust sprinkler heads accordingly.

How can I make sure I’m applying the right amount of fertilizer?

To ensure accurate fertilizer application, use a soil test kit to determine your lawn’s pH and nutrient levels. Ensure that your spreader is calibrated correctly, and carefully read all directions before applying fertilizer.

Remember to water the area after fertilizing to prevent burning or uneven absorption of nutrients.

How do I identify if the problem is fungus or improper watering?

Examine the blades of grass to identify whether the problem is caused by fungus or improper watering. Look for wilting, yellowing, and browning that could indicate a need for deeper hydration. Consider how often you are watering and when it is occurring—early mornings can help reduce evaporation and promote root growth.

What can I do to prevent recurring brown patches?

Diagnose the underlying cause of brown patches, such as foot traffic or lack of fertilization. Take preventative measures like applying insecticides and spreading mulch around trees. Test soil pH to adjust sprinkler heads and ensure proper watering techniques are used.

Monitor your lawn regularly for signs of disease or heat stress that may lead to infestations. Use fertilizer correctly by following spread rate guidelines for optimal results.


Concluding, brown patches in the lawn are a common problem that can be fixed with some simple steps. Reseeding dead spots and patching with sod are both effective solutions and should be considered depending on the severity of the situation.

However, it is important to identify the underlying cause of the brown patches in order to prevent them from recurring. Proper fertilization, deep watering, and regular lawn maintenance will ensure a lush, healthy lawn.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.