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If your lawn is dying, you may want to consider a few things to prevent further damage to it. You can check for signs of fungus, grubs, thatch, and dormancy, or you may need to replace your grass altogether. Whatever the reason, these steps should keep your lawn healthy for many years to come. If your grass looks brown, it might be due to a variety of causes, including poor soil or a combination of the two.
Grass does not actively grow during the cool season. Instead of putting up healthy, lush green blades, it will go into a period of dormancy. This conserves water and energy for other processes. If you notice brown patches on your lawn, it’s important to note that these are caused by drought, disease, or inconsistency of irrigation system. Fortunately, your lawn can recover once you rehydrate it with regular watering. For example, Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, and Bahia grass will come back from dormancy during the summer. Centipede grass, Kentucky Blue Grass, Tall Fescue, and Fine Fescue will go into dormancy if the temperatures drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although this process is not always visible, the dying grass is brown and lacks the vibrant green color of healthy lawns. Even after the weather improves, the dying grass will not return to its original color or upright posture. Luckily, this condition is relatively easy to resolve. After you’ve gathered the dead grass, you can begin planting new grass by raking it up and seeding it. Apply a fertilizer to the soil, mulch the area with healthy grass clippings, and water the lawn frequently. You can also use leaves and grass clippings to fertilize the lawn.
A cold-season lawn may appear brown during the summer and spring. During these periods, the grass conserves resources until conditions improve. A healthy lawn will bounce back quickly after undergoing a seasonal dormancy. However, a warm-season lawn will need re-seeding or sodding to regain its original color. While this process is inevitable, a consistent water schedule will help promote re-growth and make your lawn look great once again.
Several factors can contribute to the growth of this disease, including low fertilization rates, extended moisture, and poor drainage. A number of other factors can also encourage the growth of this disease, including shade, high temperatures, and compacted soil. A grass sample should be submitted at various times of the growing season, but should also include the leaves, stems, roots, and soil. Grass plants showing symptoms should be examined as they are in early stages of the disease.
During the spring and summer, dollar spot is the most prevalent type of the disease and is easily recognizable by its small, circular tan patches on the blades of the grass. The tan patches can be clustered and have cottonlike mycelia. Dollar spot can be controlled by applying a nitrogen fertilizer to the lawn, ideally at 0.2 pounds per square foot. Adding a fungicide to the grass can also help kill the fungus and speed up the recovery process. If this is not an option, hiring a professional to apply fungicides can help.
Take-all patch is the second most common type of lawn fungus. It causes the grass to appear brown and shrivel up, and the roots of the grass become darker than the rest of the plant. This fungus attacks the root system, and typically strikes in the fall or spring months. The fungus prefers cooler temperatures and affects all kinds of grass. Grass dying from take-all patch is difficult to treat, but fungicides can be used to control the outbreak.
The most common types of turfgrass affected by this disease are centipedegrass, zoysiagrass, and St Augustinegrass. Bermudagrass, however, is less severely affected than the other warm season turfgrasses. The disease is not usually present on bluegrass lawns, but it can affect them as well. If you notice signs of this disease, you will need to take action quickly.
You can identify a lawn infestation by the appearance of white grubs. These critters are the larvae of the scarab, Japanese, and May/June beetles. The head of the adult beetle is reddish-brown and there are three sets of legs. The larvae of the billbug, on the other hand, are white and legless. The first step is to find the larvae by peeling back the top few inches of soil with a shovel. If you spot six or more, then it’s time to take action.
Typically, the symptoms of lawn grub damage begin to appear in late summer or early fall. Although there’s no way to predict when a lawn will begin showing grub damage, a wet June is a good time to look for the first signs. Once the lawn starts to show signs of grub damage, you can try to treat the lawn using a grub-killing insecticide. The insecticide you use should be applied at a rate indicated on the spreader. If the grubs continue to grow in the lawn, you can also try a winterizing fertilizer.
Alternative pest control methods are becoming increasingly popular, due to increased awareness of the negative effects of chemical-based pesticides. These chemical-based products often only work to eradicate the grubs once they’ve started feeding, and they may also cause other problems. Often, chemical-based pesticides can also burn the grass in summer’s heat. If you are worried about the effects of a chemical pesticide, consider implementing Integrated Pest Management. By using beneficial insects and biological solutions, you can treat your lawn with a pesticide without affecting your grass or the environment.
If you notice a brown patch of grass, the grubs are responsible. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent the damage they cause and get your lawn back to normal. Applying a pest control treatment to the affected area will kill the grubs and promote the growth of new roots. Once you have the grubs under control, your lawn will regrow in the same spot.
Despite its name, a problem with the soil can cause grass to die, and the presence of thatch is a warning sign. Poor soil doesn’t encourage decomposition of dead organic matter, and compaction and clay can hinder this process. These issues can be further compounded by excessive use of conventional lawn fertilizers that contain chlorides, or excessive pesticide use, which kills beneficial soil microbes such as earthworms.
Thatch is a matted layer of dead leaves, stems, blades, runners, and clippings that forms between grass blades and soil. Eventually, the layers will form a dense layer between the soil and grass. When this layer is thicker than 1/2 inch, grass blades become stressed and die. A thick layer of thatch will make your grass die sooner than it should. It will also make fertilizer applications ineffective.
The most effective defense against thatch is proper soil preparation. Sound lawn care practices, such as regular, deep watering, fertilizing at recommended rates, and mowing at the correct height, will minimize thatch formation. Sound lawn care practices also include proper sprinkler coverage and aeration to relieve compaction in the soil. In addition, cutting your grass on a regular basis will ensure vigor and prevent shock to your lawn.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your lawn, it is time to aerate it. Aeration is a method for breaking up thatch, where a tool pokes 3/4-inch-wide holes into the soil. The holes in the soil plugs are then raked away, allowing oxygen to enter and break up the thatch. After this, the lawn will need to be replaced with seed or sod.
Whether your lawn is one patch of brown grass or a lawn that’s completely dead, grass weeds are probably one of the most common reasons for the decline in quality. Whether the dead vegetation is a single patch or a large lawn, a soil test can tell you the pH level that’s right for healthy growth. In addition, pests can also cause damage to your grass’ root system, so it’s important to regularly water your lawn. Using a non-selective herbicide will kill weeds but not dead grass.
In addition to heat, a lack of water and food can cause your lawn to turn brown. If you’re worried that the drought is to blame, water your lawn early in the day so that the grass can absorb the water. The problem with weeds and grass is that they compete for water, sunlight, and nutrients. Eventually, too many weeds can choke out the grass.
A more effective solution is to control the weeds that are choking out your grass. Many of these weeds are perennial and out-compete healthy grass. If they can’t be killed, you can apply a pre-emergent herbicide that will prevent them from germinating in the soil. A professional lawn care service can help you with this. The service will also help you develop a lawn care maintenance plan for the entire year.
A post-emergent weed-killer is another option. This herbicide is very effective against both perennial and annual weeds. If the weeds aren’t resistant to this product, you can dig them up and use Roundup to kill them. If you can’t kill the weeds, you can try applying a broad-leaf weed killer on the entire lawn. If you’re concerned that they’ll be resistant to it, you should start applying it in the early spring.