Brown and Bare Patches In A Lawn


My lawn looks great except for two spots that brownout during the spring and summer months. My neighbor seems to think, it's some type of fungus. How do I go about preventing the brown spots before they begin?


  •  While it's possible to have lawn fungus or even insect damage, it's not likely at this time of the year.
  • With warm and windy days, the first thing I suspect is water stress. So, I'd check to see that the sprinklers are operating properly as they can get clogged.
    • The spray from each sprinkler should overlap each other. The overlapping should be close to one hundred percent for each square inch of turf to receive an equal amount of moisture.
    • Dry spots develop in the sunniest locations where the moisture level is uneven. The gap in the coverage occurs when sprinklers are spaced too far apart or when different types of sprinklers are mixed on the same line.
    • Here is a simple method to help determine if your coverage is adequate. You'll need several, probably six to eight, straight-sided, empty containers. They are spread out or equally spaced in the lush and problem area(s).  To check proper coverage, turn on the sprinklers until we here is a minimum of 1” in a container. Keep track of the time. 
    • Check to see if each container is about the same. If one is excessively higher or lower, the sprinklers will need adjustments. 
  •  Proper irrigation is about an inch of water twice a week when the temperature is under 85 degrees.  If over, three times a week.  However, soil types, drainage, temperature, age of the turf can all play factors in irrigation. You repeat this for each sprinkler zone or section.
    • If the water levels are close to equal, your sprinkler system is working efficiently. If not, you'll need to make some adjustments and add some sprinklers.
    • If the solution presents too many problems, you increase the water and hand water these spots regularly. Next review the frequency and length of time the sprinklers run. There is no set rule as there are quite a few variables  as mentioned earlier.  
  •   The soil profile is the key to the solution. This is where the grassroots are growing. To expose the soil profile you need to make two right angle slices to each other in the turf using a shovel and then lift up the section at the apex. You might do this in several locations.
  • With older lawns or those poorly amended, the grassroots tend to be at the soil surface or located in an organic layer referred to as thatch. These lawns need to be watered more often and for shorter periods of time in warm windy conditions than those rooted deeper in the native soil.
  • I recommend that turf be watered in the early morning on a rising temperature instead of waiting for it to be under stress later in the day. Besides, watering in the morning is more water-wise when it's clam as less water is blown around and wasted. And finally. Seasonal grasses will brown out with warm temperatures and return in the fall when it cools off. 

NOTE: If you're installing a new system be sure to check for the need of a "Check Valve."