Why Is My Lawn Browning?

March 5, 2014 | Lawn Care, posted by Sasha

Brown lawns are unattractive and can be difficult to deal with. Grass often turns brown when roots are unable to absorb nutrients or when the surrounding soil does not contain adequate nutrients such as food or water. There are many causes for your lawn browning but the most common include:  

stick person made of grass holding a red question mark on a clear day

Extreme Weather

Extreme weather and temperatures can cause grass to become dormant, which can be frustrating since you cannot really control this. Extremely low temperatures can affect grass but higher temperatures and droughts are the worst weather conditions for grass.  Though it is unsightly, dormant grass is nothing to fear. Once the temperature becomes more favorable for the grass and watering/rain resume grass will return to it’s normal color and state.

If you are curious whether or not the drought is the cause of your brown grass, pay attention to the other plant life in the lawn. If there are dropped leaves or other dead plant material that are dried up, pointing towards the sky, drought may be the cause of the dormant grass.

It is also important to check that your sprinklers are adjusted correctly, during a drought or not. If sprinklers are not adjusted correctly or become disturbed, patches of grass can be left un-watered, which will then cause the patches to brown compared to the rest of the lawn.

To keep your lawn from becoming brown during a drought, water your lawn every 2-3 weeks for about an hour or with around ½ inch of water. This should keep the lawn from browning. If the lawn is already dormant, water the lawn every week for two hours or with around 1 inch of water. This should help the lawn return to it’s normal state and color.


There are a few types of insects that can cause grass to brown. These include:

  • Cinch Bugs: Cinch bugs are tiny bugs that can be red, orange, brown or black, all having white markings. These bugs thrive during a drought by sucking out plant juices until the plant is dry, this is especially true for grass. Damage caused by cinch bugs typically occurs in the following order: wilted looking grass, to yellowing grass, to brown grass. If you notice something of this effect occurring to your lawn, peel back a section of browned grass and to see if you can find any of these bugs.

  • Grubs: Beetle larvae love to feast on the roots of grass. When these pesky little larvae feast on grass roots, it will appear as if there is drought damage. To check if your grass is being killed by grubs, peel back a layer of browned grass and observe the grub count. If there is a significant amount of grubs present, you have a problem.


Weeds can cause a lawn to brown because they too are competing against your grass for the nutrients in soil. Trying to control weeds can be frustrating to deal with because once they take root, they are sometimes hard to be rid of. The best way to keep your lawn safe from weeds is to use the proper fertilizers and herbicides. Another option would be to hire a professional lawn care company to deal with your lawn maintenence for you.

If you have any questions regarding lawn care, or installing turf grass options, contact the Grass Outlet today!