TroubleshootingHelp for specific situations
The appearance of brown spots is the most common lawn problem. Two main reasons for brown spots are lack of water and disease. Treatment for these two conditions are different, so don’t assume you need to increase irrigation minutes. More water can make a disease problem worse.
An easy diagnostic method is to wait an hour or two after irrigation and insert a screwdriver or hand shovel an inch or two into the ground. Examine the moisture in the soil with your fingers. Test the moisture in this way in both brown and green patches of the lawn.
If the soil in the brown spots is drier than the green areas, you likely have an irrigation problem. See the Install/Repair sprinklers link on this web site to remedy the problem.
If the soil in the brown areas has similar or more moisture than the soil in the green areas, you may have a disease. Diseased grass may be greasy or slimy or have a white tinge. Mushrooms in the lawn are also an indication of disease and over-watering. Disease is especially prevalent in the Summer when high heat, low winds and frequent watering create a warm, moist environment in which disease can thrive. Warm season grasses such as Hybrid Bermuda and St. Augustine are less susceptible to disease than Fescue. Avoid evening watering, especially during the humid Summer months. If indications are that you have a disease, cut back the watering slightly and treat the area with a Fungicide according to the label. If you are unsure, take a sample and go directly to your local home improvement store or garden center for a professional opinion.
Depending on the type of sod, this could be caused by too much shade. Most turf needs 50% sunshine during the day to thrive. Less than that, and most varieties will gradually thin. Hybrid Bermuda needs the most sun. St. Augustine and Fescue need less sun.