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Common Causes of Brown Lawn Spots Explained by the Denver Sprinkler Repair Pros

September 5, 2018

You expect your lawn to stay green and lush during the growing season. While a regular watering schedule will help give your grass the resources it needs to grow well, it’s not always enough. Unfortunately, many homeowners have to combat ugly brown spots and areas of dead growth in their yards. Brown spots can be caused by many different issues, ranging from underperforming irrigation systems to soil malnutrition. Your Denver sprinkler installation pros explain some of the most common causes of brown lawn spots and what you can do to help your lawn recover.

Improper Mowing Technique

Mowing your lawn is a part of your weekly yard maintenance routine. However, there’s more to mowing the lawn properly than simply running a few passes over the grass. Cutting the grass too short will shock the lawn and cause areas of otherwise healthy growth to die prematurely. Ideally, take no more than a third of the grass’s height off at any time. If the grass looks too tall after you mow, let it recover for a few days and mow again. Remember, grass grows slowly and when you cut it too short, you’re setting yourself up for an underperforming lawn.

Dull Lawn Mower Blades

Dull lawn mower blades have the tendency to rip and tear at the grass rather than cut it smoothly. This causes splits down each individual blade of grass, exposing more of the plant to sun and air. The increased exposure causes the plant to dry out more quickly, resulting in dead patches on the lawn. Keep your lawn mower blades sharp and tune up your mower once every three months. The more you pay attention to routine maintenance, the better off your lawn will be.


Weeds are a problem in every lawn. However, reaching for that commercial weed killer at the hardware store can take a major toll on your landscaping. Many of these weed killers destroy the root systems of all plants indiscriminately. While it will get rid of dandelions, bindweed, and prickly lettuce, it will also likely kill the grass around the weed. If you’re worried about weeds taking over your lawn and landscaping, look for a product rated for use on lawns. Better still, hire an experienced landscaping crew to get rid of the weeds for you once and for all. Pros have the training and experience to get rid of weeds without doing long-term damage to an otherwise healthy lawn.

Pet Activity

Believe it or not, your four-legged friend might be responsible for much of the damage on your Denver lawn. Their claws can rip up the turf when they dig or run, leaving patchy areas of grass in the areas they play most often. Pet waste is also notoriously acidic. In areas where dogs tend to mark their territory, it’s not uncommon to see grass wither and die after frequent exposure. If you’re looking to keep a particular part of the lawn in pristine condition, keep the pets away from that space. You can repair the damage, but it won’t be instantaneous. You’ll have to wait for a new layer of grass to grow over the brown patch.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Water and fertilizer helps your lawn grow, but when you overdo it, the lawn can suffer. Too much fertilizer deposits more nitrogen than the soil can handle. This, in turn, causes the grass to die in the affected areas, leaving brown patches behind. Similarly, overwatering and not sticking to a water schedule can drown the roots in parts of the lawn. Once the soil becomes oversaturated, you’ll need to wait for it to dry out thoroughly before assessing the damage. If the grass has died from overwatering, an experienced landscaping company will be able to help revive the lawn by removing the areas of dead growth and laying fresh sod or seed over the damaged area.

Compacted Soil

With regular watering, human activity, and time, the soil beneath your lawn will gradually become compacted. Once this happens, the roots of your lawn won’t be able to spread or become established, resulting in poor growth and brown patches. Having your lawn aerated in spring before the growing season begins in earnest will help keep the soil light and nutrient-dense. This also helps keep the soil at appropriate moisture levels, reducing the risk of fungal growth that can damage other plants in your garden.

Thatch Buildup

Around the same time as the aeration, you’ll also want to de-thatch your lawn. Thatch is made up of dead and dried bits of grass leftover from mowing. As it collects, it weighs down the sod, further compacting the soil. Additionally, thatch makes it hard for water to reach the roots, holds excess moisture in the soil encouraging fungal growth, and chokes out the remaining healthy grass. To remove thatch, use a stiff rake and gently pull up the clippings until you can see the soil underneath. Take care not to dig the rake into the soil as the prongs will cut the healthy roots. Once removed, the water from your sprinkler system will be able to absorb into the soil properly.

Brown Spots Are Easier to Prevent Than Repair

The easiest way to get rid of brown spots is to prevent the damage in the first place. Work with an experienced landscaping team to help keep your lawn looking its best year-round. They’ll be able to implement the proper fertilization, aeration, and watering schedule designed to keep your plants happy and reduce the risk of premature root decay and brown spots across the lawn.

At Water Solutions Sprinkler Service, we believe every yard should look its best. Whether you’re worried about the quality of your landscaping’s irrigation system or want an experienced landscaper to assess the condition of your soil, we’re ready to help. We understand the unique challenges that Denver homeowners face when caring for landscaping in our often unpredictable weather. We’ll make sure your yard is prepared for everything the weather can bring. Contact us today to schedule your free no-obligation estimate.