Why Are There Patches Of Dead Grass In My Yard?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
Credit: Shutterstock / SingjaiStocker

As homeowners, we all love to take pride in our lawn. That’s hard to do when you look out and see brown, dry across your otherwise green lawn. So, why are there patches of dead grass in my yard?

Fungus and pests, like rabbits, deer, groundhogs, and grubs can cause patches of dead grass in your yard. Heavy foot traffic can also kill sections of grass, especially if you cut your grass too short. Unhealthy soil, overwatering, and poor sprinkler placement can also explain the dead patches of grass.

It’s important to carefully consider sprinkler placement and watering habits. That’s especially true if your soil has drainage problems. Follow along as we explore why there are patches of dead grass in your yard, and highlight solutions.

Why Am I Getting Patches Of Dead Grass?

1. Improper Sprinkler Placement

Have you noticed that your sprinklers don’t hit every part of your lawn? If so, that can explain why there are patches of dead grass in your yard. Sprinkler placement is everything when it comes to evenly watering your lawn.

Sections of your lawn will suffer and eventually die if the sprinkler placement is off by even a few feet. Conversely, the same thing can happen if too many sprinkler heads hit the same spot. Overwatering is just as bad as underwatering.

This can lead to soil erosion and significantly weaken your lawn. Overwatering can also wash key nutrients out of the soil.

2. Animal Urine

Do you have pets? Whether you have pets or frequently see animals in your yard, it can explain the patches of dead grass. The nitrogen, urea, and lactic acid in dog urine are bad for grass, and they can eventually kill it.

That’s especially true if your dogs often urinate in the same spots. Dogs are creatures of habit, so this is quite common. Many people mistakenly think that acidity is the problem, but nitrogen is the biggest culprit.

This applies to the urine of deer, foxes, opossums, and groundhogs as well. Put a sign in your yard if you notice that your neighbors let their dogs urinate on your lawn.

3. Fungus

Have you noticed webbing on the patches of dead grass in your yard? If so, that’s likely because you have a fungus problem that simply killed that section of your lawn. Rhizoctonia solani is a type of fungus that is known to spread aggressively on lawns.

The easiest way to get rid of this fungus is to simply use fungicide. You must drench the patch of grass with fungicide to break up the fungus. Fungus is especially common in areas of your lawn that don’t get lots of sunlight.

Because of that, it helps to trim nearby trees and bushes to let your lawn get more sunlight. This will also prevent patches of grass from staying moist for too long. Otherwise, it’s a great idea to keep fungicide stocked at home in case you notice another fungal outbreak.

4. Foot Traffic

In many cases, you will find patches of dead grass in parts of your lawn that get lots of foot traffic. That’s especially true if you’re physically active or have children who play in the yard. While those are great things, it’s important to consider what you’re doing.

For example, it helps to mix it up and avoid running around in the same area for too long. Spread your activity out so you don’t weigh down on the same part of your lawn repeatedly. You can reduce the risk of this if you overseed your lawn once per year.

Not only does this protect against heavy foot traffic, but it also protects against plants like creeping Charlie.

Mow your lawn weekly to strengthen it. This will make the grass grow dense enough to withstand heavy foot traffic. Otherwise, you can protect your lawn with foot traffic mats or turf covers.

5. Pests

Pests can wreak havoc on your lawn, and that’s often why you see patches of dead grass. Whether it be grubs or moles, these pests can be devastating. For grubs, you can use plenty of insecticides that are available at many home and outdoor supply stores.

It also helps to dethatch your lawn once per year, so that grubs are less drawn to the grass. This removes a lot of the cover that makes grubs feel comfortable on your lawn. That said, it can be a bit harder to deal with animals that dig tunnels beneath your lawn.

In that case, it’s best to call an exterminator to set traps. Professional exterminators know how to humanely trap and remove animals like moles that can kill your lawn.

6. Unhealthy Soil

If small sections of your lawn appear dead, it could be because of unhealthy soil. Nutrients can wash away in certain parts of soil and not others, in some cases. This can happen because of the grading in your yard.

For example, patches of grass at the bottom of a slope may die if too much water pools there. In that case, it’s worth calling a professional landscaper to correct this problem. Yard grading problems often require heavy-duty tools, such as bulldozers and motor graders.

While you can rent these tools, it’s dangerous to use them if you have no experience. Otherwise, it could simply be a matter of adding new, healthy soil to your yard.

7. You Cut Your Grass Too Short

It’s easy to get carried away and cut your grass too short. However, that’s a fast way to weaken your lawn and kill sections of grass. You can easily kill patches of grass in your yard if you cut 1/3 of the length of the grass at once.

Anything more than that is a sure way to weaken your lawn. Adjust your mower deck to make sure you don’t cut too much at once.

Summing It Up

Patches of dead grass are often due to improper sprinkler placement in your yard. It can also happen because of excessive animal urine and heavy foot traffic. Pests like grubs, moles, deer, rabbits, and groundhogs can also damage your grass. Avoid overwatering and cutting your grass too short, so you don’t weaken it.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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