Bares spots in lawns are an eyesore. It is frustrating when you invest in maintaining the perfect lawn only to wake up one morning and find brown patches all over your green lush. Most people are not aware of what it is that causes these brown patches.
That said, the leading causes of bare spots are chemical burns, diseases, pests, environmental problems, improper mowing, or wrong fertilization. A small defect in the turf may become a large patch in due time.
This article will discuss these factors in detail to help you diagnose what causes bare spots in lawn and what you can do about them.
- What Causes Bare Spots in Lawn
- 1. Urine from Pets and Wild Animals
- 2. Fungal Diseases
- 3. Chemical Spilling
- 4. Mowing Problems
- 5. Drought
- 6. Poor Soil Quality
- 7. Insects Such as Grubs and Clinch Bugs
- Why is My Grass Dying in Patches?
- Causes of Bare Spots on Your Lawn (FAQ)
- Will Grass Fill Bare Spots on Its Own?
- How long does it take for new grass to fill-in?
- Can I just throw down Grass Seed?
- Should I put Top Soil over grass seed?
What Causes Bare Spots in Lawn
1. Urine from Pets and Wild Animals
Potential causes for bare spots in lawns are pet urine, human urine, and animal feces. The salts in these substances can kill grass and other plants by changing the soil’s pH level.
These chemical burns may lead to a loss of turf that could worsen if not managed appropriately.
Remedy: When your cat or dog urinates on the grass, be sure to wash them off with a hose first and then offer the affected area some fresh soil and grass seed.
2. Fungal Diseases
Fungal diseases thrive in moist, humid conditions with no enough sunlight. Bare spots are created when fungus spores are blown to the green lush by wind or other means.
The grass blades act as host to the fungi, which then slowly feed on the nutrients in the grass. In most cases, the fungal disease doesn’t kill the grass but will leave an ugly brown patch on your lawn.
Remedy: For a more targeted approach, try using fungicides for spot treatment. Otherwise, it would help if you considered organic treatment with a weak baking soda solution or compost tea.
3. Chemical Spilling
Chemical spills on the lawn can burn the grass blades and leave bare spots on your lawn. More serious chemical burns can kill the entire lawn.
Be sure to keep chemicals like fertilizers, insecticides, and weed killers away from your lawn, or they will kill the grass.
Remedy: When a chemical spill occurs in your lawn, wash it off as soon as possible and spread grass seed over the affected area. If the spill is severe or poses a hazard to your health, consult with an expert for help.
4. Mowing Problems
Using the wrong type of mower or mowing too often can cause bare spots in your lawn.
Lawnmowers with a dull blade will tear up the grass leaving small exposed patches, while a sharpened blade will cut only what’s in its way, making round bald spots.
Remedy: If your lawn is starting to show bare spots, invest in a new lawnmower blade that will cut the grass without damaging the roots. You can also solve the problem by cutting your grass at least once every two weeks or so.
See also: Ways to fix tire cracks in lawn
Bare spots are also common when the lawn is going through a draught. Drought can be a tricky thing to deal with. Grass requires at least two inches of water per week. If not given enough water, it will die and turn brown.
Remedy: If your lawn is suffering from a drought, you’ll need to water it regularly until the crisis ends and make sure that you’re fertilizing correctly.
See also: Lawn striping tips
6. Poor Soil Quality
If the soil quality of your lawn is poor or if you have been growing grass in the same place for a long time, it may be depleted of nutrients and minerals.
In addition, soil packed with rocks and other debris will not hold water well, leading to bare spots or areas of dead grass.
Remedy: Improve the quality of the soil by adding compost and fertilizing appropriately. This will help to revive your lawn’s health so it can grow better grass plants.
7. Insects Such as Grubs and Clinch Bugs
Gnawing insects such as the grub and the clinch bug can damage your lawn leaving brown patches. These bugs are not easy to spot but feast on the roots of the grass. Once dead, the grass will turn brown and die off.
Remedy: The most common way to treat insect infestation is to use an organic insecticide. However, if the infestation is severe enough to warrant a more potent treatment, you may need to call in professional help.
Why is My Grass Dying in Patches?
If you’re noticing patches of your lawn dying off, it may be time to get out and investigate the cause. It can be difficult to diagnose what’s happening on your lawn without any visual indicators.
By taking a few moments to explore the possibilities for why your lawn is turning brown in some areas, you’ll better understand how best to fix it.
Grass dying in patches may be due to the following:
- Oversaturation. When you apply too much water to a lawn (overcrowding its capacity) or the soil becomes saturated, roots will not have enough oxygen. This can lead to grass death due to suffocation.
- Insects like chinch bugs, grubs, and armyworms can burrow into blades of grass and feed on the roots. They will also lay their eggs on your lawn, which creates more grubs to eat away what’s left of your grass.
- Improper soil aeration. If your soil is compacted, it will be difficult for grassroots to gain a strong foothold. Roots are what anchor the grass below and provides nutrients to the root system. Without a good base foundation of healthy roots, your lawn will not survive.
- Sun burning. Excessive direct sunlight can cause what is called “sun burning.” The sun causes the blades of grass to become dehydrated, and if they turn brown before all the growing ends, it will leave a dead spot.
- Grass Clippings. The grass trimmings that are left behind when you mow can smother the lawn, trapping moisture and suffocating what’s left of the grass. After mowing, it’s essential to collect all the long clippings and remove them from the lawn using one of these top rated universal grass catchers.
- Inappropriate Water Sprinkling. If the water is applied at the wrong time or in too great a quantity, what you end up with is what looks like severe sunburn. The bare spots may also appear in areas where sprinklers don’t give enough water
Causes of Bare Spots on Your Lawn (FAQ)
Will Grass Fill Bare Spots on Its Own?
What causes bare spots in the lawn may require some outside help to bring the grass back to health.
Although grasses have runners above the ground from which the blades shoot, if the grass roots have died or been removed there is no way for the bare spot to fill on its own.
Therefore, it is imperative to take on some steps that will help fix the problem faster.
– Clean the bare spot area by removing any dead grass or debris and then adding about two inches of soil.
– Apply new grass or sod with topsoil to fill the bare spots.
– Spread compost around the bare spots and on the weakened grass around the spot.
– Add topsoil on the entire spot to improve permeability and hold moisture for the growing grass.
– Water the area to keep it moist while the seed or sod are growing.
– Maintain a proper level of mineral nutrients to help the grass and soil thrive.
How long does it take for new grass to fill-in?
It can take one week to a month for new grass to fill in, but it should happen quickly with constant watering.
When the rain doesn’t come about, speed up the process by sprinkling water on the soil at least once a day to encourage root growth.
Can I just throw down Grass Seed?
If you plant the seeds directly into your soil without a sprout, there will be irregular or imperfect germination.
The best way to increase germination is to place the seed in the soil and cover it with an inch of light potting mix.
Should I put Top Soil over grass seed?
Topsoil helps hold the seeds in place, preserve moisture, and aids germination. If you’ve already planted without topsoil, you can use any loose, weed-free surface before spreading the seed at that point.
Bare spots are what’s left after the grass blades have been eaten away by fungus, chemicals, or other pests. When you notice these patches in your lawn, it is time to take action and remedy what ails your green space before the problem gets worse.
But first, you need to identify what causes bare spots in your lawn, then follow the steps and recommendations in this article to get back your green lush.