How to Avoid Brown Spots for Your Commercial Lawn

How to Avoid Brown Spots for Your Commercial Lawn

As a commercial property owner, the last thing you need is dead, brown spots on your lawn. Your property, whether a retail location, office park, or apartment complex, loses a considerable amount of curb appeal when surrounded by crispy brown patches of grass. Sometimes you know the cause — maybe high temperatures or under-watering? —but often, the reason remains a mystery. Even when you spend hours each week ensuring that your grass is lush, green, and healthy, you might still see dead spots crop up on your lawn.

So what can you do about dead spots? The first thing to do is determine the cause of the dead brown grass. Next, you can fix the spot using various repair methods. And finally, you can learn how to avoid dead spots in the first place, so that next season your lawn keeps its healthy green glow.

How to Prevent and Treat Dead Spots On Your Lawn

If you have dead spots on your lawn, don’t fret! There are many different causes of dead spots, and almost all can be fixed through attentive lawn maintenance. Here we explore the different causes of dead spots, how they take hold, and steps for treatment and prevention.


How it causes dead spots: Brown patch lawn disease, also called rhizoctonia, is a common cause of dead spots on lawns. It often crops up during the summer when temperatures reach about 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels are high. Brown patch disease spreads quickly and can survive freezing temperatures. The fungus typically enters leaves of grass after mowing, when pores are open.

How to prevent it: High levels of nitrogen can often accelerate brown patch lawn disease, so it’s important to use a fertilizer specifically formulated to kill rhizoctonia. You can also aerate your lawn to increase airflow, trim trees and shrubs to increase light exposure, and mow your lawn less often when it is hot and humid.

Animal Urine

How it causes dead spots: Dogs, cats, and wild animals have a high concentration of nitrogen in their urine. The nitrogen can burn your grass, causing dead spots with a ring of dark green grass around them.

How to prevent it: You can prevent animal urine ruining your lawn by watering the spot immediately after, neutralizing the spot with baking soda, or training your pet to pee somewhere else.

Foot Traffic

How it causes dead spots: Lawns that are regularly stepped on, or worse, have a car sitting on top of it, are particularly prone to dead spots. If you leave anything on a lawn for too long — even just a day — you might be dealing with brown spots soon. And if your lawn is used as a footpath, green grass can die quickly.

How to prevent it: You can prevent this by walking on sidewalks or pathways instead of grass, and not leaving anything on your lawn for too long. This can be difficult when you own a commercial property and are not always around to monitor your lawn. Be sure to install walking paths in intuitive areas so that people will not be tempted to walk on the grass.

Fertilizer Burn

How it causes dead spots: While fertilizer exists to keep your lawn healthy, there can be too much of a good thing. Fertilizer is heavy in nitrogen, which can help grass leaves grow strong and quickly. However, applying too much fertilizer to your lawn can distribute too might nitrogen, which can burn grass and lead to dead spots.

How to prevent it: To prevent fertilizer burn, be very careful with how much fertilizer you use on your lawn. Always apply the fertilizer as per package instructions, and be careful not to spill fertilizer while you’re pouring it into your fertilizer spreader.

Improperly Installed or Broken Sprinklers

How it causes dead spots: A properly installed sprinkler system will reach every inch of grass on your lawn, delivering essential nutrients and ensuring strong grass growth. But when a sprinkler system is improperly installed or broken, it could be missing areas of your lawn during its daily watering. Denied water and nutrients, these patches of grass will dry out and die.

How to prevent it: You can prevent dead spots by regularly monitoring your sprinkler system and your lawn. Make sure your sprinklers are spraying in all the correct areas, and that none of the sprinkler heads are broken or malfunctioning.

Salt Burn

How it causes dead spots: Salt burn is common in cold climates that get plenty of snow. These areas often use salt in the winter as a de-icer, especially on sidewalks with heavy foot traffic. However, when the grass that borders salted sidewalks begins to grow back in spring, it can be burned by the salt.

How to prevent it: Salt burn is often cured on its own due to the high levels of precipitation in the spring, which effectively wash salt off of the grass. But you can further prevent salt burn by using ground covers or applying salt away from grass.

Leave It to the Professionals

Avoiding and repairing brown spots can be a challenge even for the most seasoned commercial property owner. But you can save yourself the worry, by turning to the professionals. Commercial lawn care professionals like the team at Lawn Butler have decades of experience caring for Utah’s lawns. Lawn Butler’s Green Team specializes in fertilizing, aerating, and keeping your lawn healthy all year round. Call us today at (801) 484-9928 to get started.