How to Get Rid of Brown Patches in Your Lawn | Top 9 Tips That Work


Lawns contribute a lot to the beauty of a property, and there is a 100% chance that you have contributed to the overall maintenance and care of the lawn. However, one pretty unfortunate thing is witnessing brown patches on the lawn.

If your first thought is that it’s due to a lack of moisture in the soil, you are mistaken. In most cases, brown patches all over the grass are developed due to a fungal disease caused by the fungus called Rhizoctonia. 

Interactions of this fungus with the grass lead to the appearance of uneven and bright brown patches on the lawn. As a homeowner, this is the last thing you want to experience after spending years keeping the lawn in tip-top shape and appearance.

This article will explore everything you need to know about how to get rid of brown patches in your lawn with simple and effective steps. 

What Contributes to Brown Patches on the Lawn?

The appearance of brown patches on the lawn is primarily due to the fungal interaction, as we discussed before. However, there could be other reasons behind the onset of grass damage.

1. Brown Patch Fungus

Caused due to Rhizoctonia fungus, it leads to the appearance of brown patches all over the lawn. Now, if you are wondering, “What contributes to the fungus in the grass?” 

According to studies, excess nitrogen and irrigation primarily contribute to the development of the fungus and the brown patches we see around. Not just that, compacted or thatched soil is also a potential reason worth considering.

2. Grubs

If it isn’t a fungal issue, then chances are that the problem is a direct consequence of grubs. Lawn grubs are the larvae of beetles, which directly attack the grassroots, damaging them in the process. It leads to their death, which, in turn, causes the brown patches on the lawn. 

Also read: How to Get Rid of Grubs on Your Lawn | Top 8 Natural & Chemical Ways

3. Excessive Thatch

Thatch is the dead layer of soil, dirt, and grass that forms on the top of the lawn. It is typically due to poor air circulation, lack of optimal watering, and lack of mowing and lawn maintenance.

If you notice thatch accumulating on top of the lawn, that’s one of the potential reasons you are noticing the appearance of brown patches all over the lawn.

4. Pet Urine

If you let your pets roam freely around your lawn and they have a habit of peeing directly on the grass, that’s another reason you notice the appearance of dead grass on the lawn. Pet urine, especially of dogs, contains high levels of nitrogen, which can damage the grass in the lawn.

We’d recommend you wash away the area where your dog or pet has peed with some water. This will dilute and clear the urine, preventing your grass from getting brown patches.

Which is the Season of Brown Patch Fungus?

The development of the brown patch fungus is season-specific. In most cases, the Rhizoctonia fungus, which causes the browning, is present in the soil for quite a bit before it starts spreading to other parts of the lawn, spreading the browning.

These fungi inflict maximum damage primarily during the peak summer months when the temperature is hot and humid & the rainy season, where the moisture level in the atmosphere is heightened.

To prevent the development of the fungus during the summer months, you must start taking precautions from an early period, especially during the early springtime.

Ways to Fix Brown Patches on the Lawn

Before you start trying to fix the brown patches on your lawn, you must first find the potential cause. This makes or breaks the effectiveness of the fix you are trying to implement.

1. If your Lawn has Brown Patch of Disease

We discussed at length about brown patch fungus, so let us understand some of the compelling ways you can eliminate that and revert your grass on the lawn to look fresh and cared for.

  • Poor air circulation is one of the most common reasons behind the spread of brown patch disease. So, aerating the soil is a great way to fix the brown patches and reduce the grass’ humidity levels to reduce the impact of the fungus.
  • Since thatched grass contributes to brown patch disease, eliminating those is crucial. You can do so using an automated machine or using a manual rake.
  • Grass doesn’t need a lot of water to flourish. So, ensure that you water once a week for optimal results.
  • Brown patch fungus spreads when the soil’s nitrogen level is high. Over-fertilizing the soil often leads to further spread and browning.
  • If none of the above works, the last resort is to contact a professional and spray down the lawn with a fungicide to eliminate the further spread of the fungus and further browning in the nearby areas.

2. If your Lawn has an Insect Infestation

In some cases, the reason why you have brown patches is due to insect infestation. Elements like grubs and leather jackets are the most common culprits in that case. They tend to attack the grassroots, damaging them in the process. There are multiple ways to fix this issue:

  • To address the issue, you can start with natural methods like introducing beneficial nematodes or milky spore disease.
  • You can also opt for a dish soap and water solution, spray it on the brown patches, and see if that reduces further spread.
  • If none of this works, we’d recommend contacting a professional lawn care service to fix the issue with insecticides.

3. If your Lawn has Poor Soil Quality

If the lawn lacks moisture or has poor soil quality, that’s another reason you are noticing brown patches all over. The grass in your lawn needs good maintenance, watering, and nutrients for optimal growth and development.

  • Poor soil quality requires thorough testing. We’d recommend connecting with a professional to get the testing done.
  • Once the soil testing is done and you know what the soil is lacking, you can supplement the soil with the relevant necessities.

4. If your Pet Pees on the Grass

If you own a pet and a house with a lawn, it’s not even a question that your pet will go out and pee on the grass. That’s part of their daily habit and not something you can meddle with. You can opt for the following fixes to eliminate the damage:

  • Once your pet is done peeing on the grass, spray the area with water to wash away and dilute the pee.
  • If you don’t want to damage the grass, you can install artificial turf beside the lawn and train your pet to pee there.

Also read: Is Dog Pee Killing Your Grass? Here’s Why It Happens and How to Fix It

5. If you haven’t Mowed in a Long Time

Another easy fix to address the lawn’s brown patches is mowing down the entire lawn. It is hands down one of the most effective ways to address the issue in real-time. Improper mowing with dull blades often damages the grass, killing them.

  • If that’s the issue, we’d recommend using a good-quality lawn mower to fix the issue. If required, sharpen the blades and readjust the settings of the mower.

6. If your Lawn is Experiencing Erosion

Heavy rain or overwatering might sometimes lead to issues like soil erosion, which is a common reason why the grass on the top layer is damaged. 

  • If your soil is at risk of erosion, aerating the soil is the best way to eliminate the risk and the damage. Aeration improves the soil’s stability and prevents it from washing away.

7. If your Lawn is Prone to Dormancy

For people who live in areas with colder weather conditions, it is common to experience issues with the grass turning brown. What you can do in that case is address the issue first. Poor watering is often a common reason as well.

  • In most cases, poor watering is the main culprit behind the dormancy of the lawn. To rejuvenate the soil, you should water the lawn for around 20 minutes twice or thrice a week until you see things turning around.

8. If you have Overwatered

While underwatering the lawn is a common reason behind the development of brown patches on the lawn, overwatering the soil is also a potential reason why your lawn has these brown patches. In that case, here’s what you can do:

  • Start by preventing any watering for a few days to a few weeks until the soil’s moisture level returns to normal.
  • If your lawn doesn’t have good drainage, that’s another reason why the water is getting lodged in the soil, leading to damage. Ensure that you install proper drainage ways.

9. If your Lawn is Overfertilized

Too much fertilizer in the soil means too much nitrogen (as mentioned earlier), which is one of the main reasons why your grass is likely turning brown. It’s one thing using fertilizer to help with lawn care but it’s a completely different thing when you are overdoing it.

  • When you are using fertilizer or weed killer to care for your lawn, you must use the amount that’s needed. 
  • Also, when you are fertilizing, ensure to water the entire lawn to dilute the fertilizer and help it penetrate the soil. 
  • Avoid spraying the lawn with fertilizer during the hot summer months because that’s another common reason that contributes to the damage and the brown patches.

Eliminating brown patches in your lawn is a great way to keep your lawn looking fresh and thriving. Sometimes, it’s common to have factors that are out of your control, contributing to prolonged lawn damage. In that case, the best way to eliminate the issue is by identifying the problem and addressing the issue accordingly. Paying close attention to your lawn’s appearance is crucial to prevent irreparable damage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best fungicide for a brown patch?

There are several different types of fungicide, but the Headway fungicide is considered one of the best in the market, thanks to the fantastic quality and potent results that you get from it. 

How do I treat brown patches in my lawn naturally?

If you want to eliminate the brown patches naturally, baking soda is considered adequate since baking soda creates an alkaline environment, killing the fungi.

Does neem oil prevent brown patches?

If the brown patches are due to different lawn diseases, spraying down the lawn with some neem oil solution effectively addresses the issues.

How do I make my brown grass green again?

Restoring the health of the lawn is what will turn the brown grass to green. For that, you’d need to take good care of the lawn, water it, spray needed fungicide, aerate the soil, etc.

What fungus turns grass brown?

The fungus that leads to the browning of the grass is Rhizoctonia solani fungus. It remains dormant initially and then starts spreading quickly.

Will lawn fungus go away on its own?

Lawn fungus isn’t something that goes away quickly. You’d need to fix the issue before things worsen immediately.

When should I fertilize my lawn?

The best time to fertilize the lawn is when the grass is actively growing. So, if you are wondering about the season, the time between spring and fall is considered ideal.

How do you stop lawn fungus?

The easiest way to fix the lawn fungus is by addressing what’s contributing to the spread in the first place. In this case, we’d recommend watering the lawn properly and mowing regularly.

What are the signs of lawn fungus?

The most common sign of lawn fungus is the brown patches and dead-looking grass on the lawn. If you find uneven patches, that’s one of the main signs that your lawn has fungal damage.

How does lawn fungus start?

The most common reason behind the onset of lawn fungus is the sudden weather and temperature changes. Also, improper watering is another reason you might notice an onset of lawn fungus.

By James Edwards

James Edwards is a writer & editor with almost 15 years of experience from Murphys, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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