Getting Rid of Your Lawn’s Brown Patches
Most homeowners at some point have to deal with bothersome brown patches that blight an otherwise green, well-tended lawn. They’re especially irksome in that they can be caused by a number of different things and therefore difficult to diagnose. Here are the main causes of brown patches and the best way to treat the problem in each case.
If the patches are small and isolated, there’s a good chance the grass has been damaged by the urine of a dog or other animal. If your own dog is the culprit, the best solution is preventive. Teach your dog to relieve him or herself in a better spot. To treat the brown patch, simply water it thoroughly.
Dull mower blade
If brown patches appear on your lawn after mowing, it’s probably because your lawn mower’s blade is overly dull and is ripping the tips of the grass, which typically turns them brown. Solve the problem by sharpening the blade.
Overwatering or under watering your lawn can lead to brown patches developing. An under-watered lawn will have grass that is wilted and browning. An over-watered lawn is prone to being invaded by pests and fungi. As a rule, your lawn should be deeply watered once a week or when the grass appears slightly wilted.
To test whether insects are the cause of your lawn’s brown patches, pull up a small section of turf. Grass infested by pests releases from the soil easily because of damaged roots. Grubs are the most common offenders. Pests tend to invade overly watered, overly fertilized or neglected lawns. So, again, the best solution is preventive. You can treat a lawn invaded by pests like grub worms by applying a insecticide (like Cyonara 9.7) evenly across your lawn using a hose end sprayer twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.
Brown patch disease
If your brown patches are distinct rings, your lawn has brown patch disease. The best treatment is to apply a product labelled specifically for brown patch. Treat the lawn every two to four weeks or as recommended by the product label.
Build up of thatch
Too much thatch—a layer of decomposed plant matter, roots and decomposing stems that sits under the roots—can cause your lawn to brown. A healthy lawn will have about three-quarters of an inch of thatch between the grass and the soil. You can dig up a small two-inch deep chunk of lawn to check how much thatch you have. You can also tell you have too much thatch when your lawn feels spongy when walked upon.
The first step to dealing with excessive thatch is to rake your lawn. If the thatch is very thick, consider using a more heavy-duty dethatching rake. The raking should be done annually at the end of the season in regions like Canada that have cool season grasses. A week after raking, spread fertilizer on the lawn and water the surface completely.
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