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The Home Depot

Why is My Lawn Brown?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Landscaping > Why is My Lawn Brown?
Why is My Lawn Brown?

While everyone would like to have a green lawn to relax in, host parties, spend time with family, and generally have a wonderful time, the reality is that lawns often turn brown. When this happens you need to take the time and make the effort to understand the underlying causes and rectify them. There are various possible reasons why your lawn could have turned brown, and you need to examine them all.

  1. 1.Not Enough Fertilization

    One of the reasons why your lawn is brown could be inadequate fertilization. You need to apply a nitrogen phosphorous potassium fertilizer to have balanced soil fertility. The spreader too needs to be calibrated properly to ensure even application of fertilizer. This will ensure that there are no streaks of yellow nutrient deficient grass on your lawn. Additionally, you should avoid applying fertilizer in early spring, before the weather becomes hot, or in fall before the grass becomes dormant. You can also use organic matter during soil reconstruction to ensure that it is adequately fertilized for a green and luxuriant lawn.

  2. 2.Not Enough Water

    Your lawn can also become brown and dry up if it receives too little water. Some grasses become dormant during droughts but survive and become green once they are watered. If your lawn has patches of brown, you need to stand on the brown patch when the sprinkler is turned on and ensure that the water is reaching the spot. Sometimes, lawn ornaments can prevent the water from reaching all parts of the lawn, or the sprinkler might need to be adjusted. You need to water deeply up to 6 inches for the lawn to remain green throughout the year.

  3. 3.Too Much Water

    While inadequate water can turn your lawn brown, so can too much water. Excess watering can lead to the brown grass because it deprives the roots of oxygen. This can lead to the rotting of both roots and crowns.

  4. 4.Lawn Care

    Your lawn will reward you with a green spot to spend time in if you make the effort to maintain it. Good lawn care involves proper fertilization, mowing, watering, aeration, and seeding. You need to mow the lawn at between one and half and two and a half inches. Do not mow your lawn by more than one third the length of the grass at any time to ensure that the grass is not stressed. As a rule, the clippings can be left on the grass after mowing. However, you need to rake any fallen leaves regularly to ensure that the grass remains healthy. Examine the blades of grass for signs of damage periodically. By spotting distress signs early you can treat it sooner before the problem spreads. If the blades of grass look ragged and brown, you might need to sharpen the blades of the mower and adjust them.


    Check the lawn for signs of fungal infections and take proper steps to treat them as soon as they appear. In the spring, take the time to inter seed the places where the lawn appears thin. You can also make the effort to reroute people so that distressed areas of the lawn are not stepped on frequently until the grass has time to recover.

  5. 5.Aerate

    Proper aeration is needed for a healthy lawn. This means that you need to ensure that the trees and shrubs over the lawn are pruned regularly to avoid casting a shadow over the lawn. Plan your landscaping to ensure that the lawn receives sufficient sunlight throughout the year. Make sure that the soil is not compacted by adding organic mulch to it.


    It does depend on where you live as well. In places such as Milwaukee or Chicago where it is cloudy more often than it is in Houston or San Diego, you probably do not want too much ground cover since that portion of your lawn will not receive a sufficient amount of sunlight.

  6. 6.Best Watering Practices

    In order to ensure that your lawn remains green and does not become brown you need to follow the best watering practices. The best time to water your lawn is between midnight and sunrise, closer to dawn. If possible, install a sprinkler with a timer so that your lawn is watered at the right time even as you catch up on your sleep. This is because the lawn should not remain damp for long after being watered. If you water your lawn in the evenings, after the dew forms, it can lead to rotting roots. In case you have a sprinkler without a timer, ensure that you water the lawn before 10 am. You should not water the lawn after this as the day will be too hot and sunny for the grass to thrive.


    You should water your lawn to a depth of six inches. Moreover, ensure that your sprinkler reaches every part of the lawn. Remove objects that block the path of the water from the sprinkler and also ensure that the sprinkler is not blocked or malfunctioning in any other way. This will ensure that your lawn is evenly watered and uniformly green and lush.

A homeowner who spots brown patches on the lawn should take immediate steps to contain the damage and restore the health of the lawn. This will entail checking the sprinkler, ensuring adequate fertilizer application, proper mowing, watering the lawn at the right time, checking for fungus and other diseases, ensuring adequate aeration, and so on. These steps will ensure that your lawn returns to green in a short time.

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