Brown spots in an otherwise lush, green lawn are unsightly. Although you're probably itching to get rid of the brown spots right away, don't try to reseed or otherwise "green up" the grass until you've identified and fixed the underlying problem. Generally, brown spots in a lawn are caused by either diseases or dog urine. The high acidity of dog urine causes grass to turn brown. Several lawn diseases cause brown spots in grass, such as brown patch, necrotic ring spot, fusarium blight and dollar spot. Depending on what is ailing your grass, you can repair the brown spots using specific methods.
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Things you need
- Nontoxic spray for dog urine on grass
- Sod or grass seed
- Flowable sulphur fungicide
Observe your dog to determine if it is urinating on your lawn and causing the brown spots. If you don't have a dog, keep an eye out for neighbour dogs that may be using your lawn as a bathroom.
Apply a nontoxic spray to the brown grass that contains enzymes that break down dog urine and helps grass to grow back greener. Some products also contain a green dye that eliminates the brown spots immediately. Such products include Lawn Spot Away, Dogonit Lawn Treatment and G-Wiz for Dogs Lawn Burn Treatment.
Remove the brown sod if the damage is severe. Rinse the soil with water to flush out any remaining dog urine, and then resod or reseed the area.
Train your dog to urinate in less-visible areas of the lawn. You can also provide a small area of gravel in a corner of your lawn and train your dog to urinate only in that spot.
Treat dollar spot by applying a flowable sulphur fungicide to the brown areas every three to five days until the spots disappear. Dollar spot is a fungus that grows on dry and undernourished grass, which creates white, cobweb-like spots in the morning and turns brown by the afternoon. Mow the grass twice a week to cut off the infected grass and apply nitrogen fertiliser lightly two or three times a week, according to Great Landscaping Ideas.com.
Apply the same sulphur fungicide treatment to the brown spots to get rid of brown patch lawn disease, which is also caused by a fungus. You'll know if your lawn has brown patch when it has brownish spots approximately two feet in diameter encased by a discoloured ring of grass. Remove any underlying thatch using a rake and refrain from feeding your lawn heavy doses of nitrogen fertiliser.
Mow the grass high and throw away all grass clippings if your lawn has fusarium blight. This lawn disease causes reddish-brown spots that turn tan and then yellow, approximately two to six inches in diameter. If you have pink fungal threads covering the grass roots and crowns, you definitely have fusarium blight. Remove all thatch and don't fertilise the lawn until the problem clears up.
Remove the thatch that has collected and mow the grass high if it has necrotic ring spot, which causes brown rings to develop on the lawn. Unlike the treatment for fusarium blight, you should continue to fertilise and water the grass normally to restore its health.
Tips and warnings
- If you catch a dog urinating on your grass, hose down the area right away to dilute the urine and prevent a brown spot from developing.
- Don't use harsh, toxic chemicals on the brown spots in your grass, because this will likely make the spots worse.
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