How To Combat Brown Spots In The Lawn

How To Combat Brown Spots In The Lawn

Brown spots due to lack of care

The most common reason for brown spots in the lawn is insufficient care. Dehydration may be behind the unsightly spots – direct sunlight and high heat can cause the lawn to burn. But waterlogging can also cause the spots. The remedy is regular scarification of the lawn, which loosens it, aerates it and at the same time ensures that the rainwater can drain off well. In addition, the lawn should be cut regularly, since too long grass blades promote brown discoloration.

Brown discoloration due to fungal infestation

Fungi in lawns are widespread and occur mainly where the lawn is permanently wet. There are many different types of fungi, with red tip fungus being most responsible for brown spots in the lawn. The name can cause confusion – the affected lawn does not show red, but straw-yellow to brownish spots. The causes of red top are increased moisture of the lawn or stress situations such as nutrient deficiency, incorrect watering and extremely high temperatures.

Red tipping does not cause the lawn to die – it just looks extremely unsightly. The brown coloration of the lawn usually disappears again on its own as soon as the moisture balance of the soil is right again. However, if this fungal infestation occurs due to a lack of nutrients, a good lawn fertilizer should be used.

How To Combat Brown Spots In The Lawn

The following methods effectively prevent fungal infestation:
Lawn fertilizer: the lawn should be supplied with sufficient nutrients.

Good aeration: It is essential to ensure good aeration of the lawn so that it can grow healthy and beautiful.

Wind protection: walls or dense hedges keep the wind out and thus promote the spread of fungi; likewise, all leaves should be collected from the lawn in the fall.

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Proper watering:

Moisture promotes the spread of fungi in the lawn. Prolonged watering once a week has a preventive effect. This allows the water to penetrate deep into the soil, while the lawn itself dries out quickly.
The meadow snake may be to blame
Spring is here and the lawn is showing brown spots? The larvae of the meadow snake may be to blame. These larvae colonize the area just below the turf, eating the roots of individual grasses. In the period from August to September, the female meadow snakes lay their eggs in the turf, from which the larvae hatch after four to six weeks. These burrow into the turf and usually begin to feast on the grass roots in the fall.

In April and May, after overwintering, the big feeding begins, during which the larvae, which are about four centimeters long, even feed on the leaves of the lawn grasses. The grass roots damaged by the larvae cause a partial yellow-brown discoloration of the lawn before it finally dies. Infestation by meadow snails can be distinguished from a fungal disease by the fact that in this case the individual grasses do not have any deposits or spots, but are uniformly discolored.

A spade puncture also reveals certainty: in the case of an infestation, numerous larvae of meadow snake show up just below the soil surface. The larvae cannot be controlled by insecticides, as these are not approved for the elimination of these pests in home and small gardens.
pests in home gardens and allotments.

However, other effective methods are promising:

Calcium cyanamide: 30 to 40 grams of calcium cyanamide per square meter of lawn can effectively combat the larvae. At the same time, the lawn is supplied with important nutrients. For this purpose, the calcium cyanamide should be scattered as early as the beginning of March, when the weather is damp.

Scarify: The larvae of the meadow snake always stay just below the surface. So a low-set scarifier can do a good job of reducing the population. New lawn seed should then be placed in the soil, sprinkled with humus, and then rolled.

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SC nematodes: Nematodes can be ordered from garden supply stores. These tiny threadworms are set in water and spread on the lawn in the evening. The SC nematodes penetrate the larvae of the meadow snake and infect them with a bacterium. The larvae then die within a few days.

Collecting the larvae: With a mixture of 1 kg of moist wheat bran and 100 g of sugar, the pests are encouraged to leave their subterranean tunnels after nightfall – afterwards, they can simply be collected.

Things to know about brown spots in the lawn – overview

Brown patches in the lawn in summer indicate that the lawn has dried out. Regular sprinkling of the lawn in the evening hours helps to prevent this drying out during hot periods.

The sun is then only low in the sky and can no longer cause burning of the grass blades by means of the water droplets. If the brown spots remain despite watering, it may be because the soil is not absorbing enough water. In this case, a wetting agent that helps the soil absorb water will help.

The cause of these spots can also be a potassium deficiency. In this case, a need-based and balanced fertilization is necessary so that the overall soil structure improves again. In fact, a well supplied and fertilized lawn is resistant to all kinds of diseases and also stable against stress caused by drought or frost.

Regular fertilization of the lawn should be done regularly even without brown spots or other damage.

Tips for lawn pests

If the lawn is infested with pests, brown spots may also form. One pest is warbler larva. Whether this pest has infested the lawn is very easy to determine, even by the layman. One lifts a little from the grass hub. Since the warbler larva settles directly under the grass hub, the is very easy to recognize. Here it helps then to remove in laborious detail the degree hub, which is infested by the larva, generously and to reseed the lawn afterwards.

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If the brown spots in the lawn appear relatively shortly after fertilizing, there is a possibility that the lawn was burned by the fertilizer. For fertilizing, fertilizer should always be used, on the packaging of which it is expressly declared that the preparation does not burn the lawn.

In addition, the lawn should be sprinkled immediately after fertilizing – after sunset, so that the fertilizer is not too long on the green surface. If the lawn has turned brown after fertilizing, lawn sprinkling can still try to save it. In the worst case, however, the lawn must be reseeded in the burned areas.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts. Jones James

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