6 reasons why you should not over-react to the brown spots in your lawn

This heat wave in the 90-degree range looks like it will be with us for at least another week and many are concerned about what this means for their lawns. Some are showing signs of stress and some are turning brown. What's the best coping strategy?

If the lawn starts to look brown or seems stressed, the first reaction is to water more. But there are good reasons NOT to turn up the water until you check what's going on with the lawn. There are fungus problems right now that can turn your lawn brown - almost overnight. And if you crank up the water, you'll only make it worse.

1. Before you increase watering times, do the screwdriver test to make sure the soil really is dry.

Push a screwdriver into the soil and if it goes easily into the soil, don't water more now. Let the soil dry out a little and water again. Water-logged soil can damage the lawn more than letting it get too dry.

2. If you have patches of brown or stressed lawn, again begin with the screwdriver test to make sure soil is dry.

If it is, you may have a sprinkler problem that's keeping water from reaching that area. Don't make your whole sprinkler system run longer just for a few brown spots.

3. Instead turn on your sprinkler system during the daytime to see what is going on.

The problem could be as simple as the sprinkler shooting in the wrong direction! Hot weather also shows up the weak areas of our sprinkler systems, and sometimes a little hand watering of stressed areas is all you need to do.

4. Are there ways to know the lawn is stressed and needs water before it turns brown?

When lawns begin to stress, the color turns blueish-gray before it looks like straw. When you walk across it and can see footprints 30 minutes later, it's stressed.

5. Avoid just increasing the watering time on the timer.

Instead, set your sprinklers to run one time - and then set them to run a second time a bit later. It's called cycle and soak - and that gives the water time to soak into the soil between watering times.

6. When temperatures cool again, be sure to cut back on the watering times - running shorter amounts of time or just 1 cycle.


  • Water between 10 pm and 6 am to lose less water to evaporation and to avoid fungus problems.
  • Mow the lawn a little higher. If you mow at 3 inches or a bit higher, the grass blades will shade the soil to retain moisture and reduce heat stress.
  • Don't over water - EVER. Water deeply and infrequently using the cycle and soak method.

Make sure the sprinkler system is in top working order. Making simple adjustments and quick repairs will make a big difference in your lawn looks. 

Please email our team at info@designscapes.org to receive more information on how we can eliminate brown spots from your lawn. 

This entry was posted in Lawn & Garden Care