Is a Brown Lawn a Dead Lawn?

Occasionally, you may see unexplained brown spots on your lawn – seemingly, for no reason at all! Your lawn may not look pretty, but luckily, it is most likely dormant or has fungus, which are both temporary and can usually be fixed.

What is dormant grass?

During periods of drought, grass turns brown to conserve water – think of it as plant hibernation. Grass will appear healthy once water is plentiful again.

You can also develop brown patches if your lawn has thatch thicker than half of an inch. The thatch acts like a sponge and soaks up water that should be going directly to the roots. If the thatch is always wet, this may be the cause of your brown lawn because of different fungi growing and causing brown spots.

Fix your brown lawn

  1. Dethatch your lawn to prevent that fungi and brown spots.
  1. Irrigate: Most grass is very sensitive to watering; not enough or too much can be detrimental. Usually one inch of water each week is enough, but if your lawn starts to dry out in the summer, increase the water temporarily. If your lawn is getting too much water, it could be the cause of brown spots due to lack of proper drainage.
  1. Test the soil: soil pH levels are another very important component of a healthy lawn and may be equally responsible for brown spots. Test the pH levels before applying any fertilizer, and again during changes in weather and appearances of the grass.
  1. Weed your lawn: although many grasses don’t grow while they're dormant, weeds still do. Don’t let them take over your lawn.


Following these tips, your lawn spots should disappear and green grass will be ready to grow next spring. If you need help assessing the cause of your lawn’s spots, learn more from The Grounds Guys’ blogs and contact us for help with your lawn care and maintenance tasks!

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