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Why Do I Have Brown Spots in My Lawn? Answers for Cincinnati, Dayton, OH, & Northern Kentucky

Posted by Rob Reindl on Oct 19, 2021 9:28:23 AM

Few things frustrate homeowners with their lawn more than brown spots in the grass. In fact, for most homeowners, it’s a bigger gripe than weeds. Brown spots in the lawn are particularly frustrating if you feel as though you’ve taken all the right steps.

Perhaps, you even pay for professional lawn care services.

When homeowners invest in professional lawn care, they often feel as though they should never have to deal with lawn problems again but that’s unfortunately not the case. There are issues outside of the control of even the best lawn care providers.

In this article, we’ll talk about why you may have brown spots on your lawn and what you can do about it.

Diagnosing Brown Spots in the Lawn

When homeowners find brown spots in the lawn, they are quite commonly thought to be related to drought. Homeowners see that their lawn is turning brown in some areas and they automatically assume it must not be getting enough water.

While lack of water can certainly cause a lawn to brown, it’s by far not the only possible culprit of brown spots.

dollar spot lawn fungus brown spots

In fact, there are some reasons for brown spots in the lawn in which watering could make things worse—particularly lawn fungus.

A big factor in diagnosing brown spots in the lawn will be what time of the year that it is. There are certain problems that will be more likely at certain times of the year. While oftentimes various problems can cause the same-looking brown spots, paying attention to the season will play a big role in determining what’s going on.

There can be a fair amount of detective work that goes into the diagnosis.

Lawn disease brown spots

In addition to the time of the year, we might also look at which areas of the lawn are affected. For instance, if’s just one spot in the front of the yard, it could be that a neighbor’s dog is using that spot to go the bathroom. If it were a problem like a lawn fungus or even an insect, it would not just be a single spot that is affected.

Possible Reasons for Brown Spots in the Lawn

As we mentioned, the potential reasons for having brown spots can be quite vast. While we won’t dive into detail on each one, we want to at least share some of the possible reasons why your lawn could be dealing with brown spots. We have a lot of articles already written on many of these topics if you want to read more.

  • Lawn Fungus: As we mentioned before, lawn fungus can definitely cause brown spots on the grass. In fact, a disease called Brown Patch causes brown spots (just as its name implies). But we have other common diseases in our region including Rust or Red Thread and Dollar Spot, which can also do this.
  • Mowing the Lawn Too Short: Homeowners are often surprised just how much impact tasks like mowing the lawn can impact their lawn care results. But mowing the lawn too short can put a lot of stress on it and actually cause it to thin out and potentially die. We recommend a mowing height of at least 3.5 inches.
  • Armyworms: A sudden influx of Armyworms was an unprecedented event in the Fall of 2021 (at the time this article was written), and we had a number of customers calling about brown spots in the lawn due to armyworm damage. We can’t be sure what kind of damage these pests might cause in the future but this was a rare instance when these caterpillars literally blew in from storms in the South, in the form of moths.
  • Other Surface-Feeding Insect Damage: Of course, there are surface-feeding pests that we have been dealing with for a long time in this region including chinch bugs and billbugs. These insects typically feed on the lawn around prime summertime (around May and August). This is something that we treat for preventatively with our surface feeding insect control application, which is included in our program.
  • Grubs: Unlike surface-feeding insects which eat the grass blades at the surface, grubs are a subsurface pest that feeds on its roots. They can be highly destructive to a lawn which is why preventative grub control is so important. We start our preventative grub control treatment on June 1st and, because the latest research shows that we can effectively apply these products all the way up to September 15th, we are able to ensure we have provided the correct amount to keep grubs under control all season. However, if you did not have preventative grub control applied, your brown spots could be due to a grub problem.
  • Lawn Damage: There are a number of things that can cause lawn damage that homeowners don’t always think about. A neighbor draining a chlorine pool into your yard or even your use of a weed control product could end up causing an unwanted brown spot. As we mentioned, urine burn from a dog can definitely also cause a brown spot on the lawn.
  • Grass Species Dying Off: Lawns are typically made up of multiple types of grass and some of them tolerate extreme weather conditions better than others. If you have some areas that seem to be dying off, it could just be a matter of not having an ideal grass type in those areas. This is why annual aeration and overseeding with the best grass seed is important. You’ll continually introduce the best possible grass into your lawn.
  • Drought: We certainly don’t want to discount drought as it can also cause brown spots. It’s just important to remember it’s not the only possible culprit. Proper watering is definitely critical when it comes to the success of your lawn’s health and performance.

Leaving the Diagnosis of Brown Spots in the Lawn to a Pro

As you can see, the potential reasons behind brown spots in the grass are varied. And making a proper diagnosis is not that simple when many of these issues can mimic one another.

That’s why we believe it’s best left to a professional.

lawn care technician inspecting grass brown spots

Making the proper diagnosis will be the first (and most important) step to getting your lawn back on track.

At Oasis Turf & Tree, we look to make that simple for you. That’s why we welcome homeowners to text us pictures of what they’re dealing with. We can help you to make the proper diagnosis so that you can solve the problem and improve your lawn’s health.

This is also why there is great value in having a lawn care professional on your property regularly, keeping an eye out for you. Oftentimes they’ll notice problems before you even know about them. That means that instead of waiting until it becomes a brown spot (at which point the lawn is dead), many of these issues can be prevented in the first place.

It also means that instead of having to worry about lawn problems, you’ll know that a professional is on your side, looking out for your best interest. At the end of the day, that peace of mind is everything.

Want to learn more about professional lawn care services for your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, or Northern Kentucky home? Request your quote, choose the lawn care program that’s right for you, and then sit back and relax as the pros help you get the lawn of your dreams without the worries.

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Learn about lawn insects in Cincinnati, Dayton, OH, or N. Kentucky

Image sources: lawn fungus            

Topics: Hiring a Pro, Soil Health, Pest & Insect Control, Lawn Care

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