October 2, 2018

Is a Brown Lawn Dead?

Brown Lawn

Now is the time of year when many area homeowners stare at scorched, brown lawns and wonder if the grass is dead, dying or simply dormant. We get calls from countless homeowners who are concerned about the state of brown grass, so here are our best tips for determining why your lawn is brown.

Dormant Grass

Sometimes, brown grass is dormant grass. Dormancy occurs whenever your lawn stops growing and essentially goes to sleep. This can happen in the heat of the summer or the chill of the winter. When cold weather arrives, it stops growing and turns brown not to waste nutrients and water. In the summer, grass can go dormant from heat stress or drought. In the summer, grass can safely remain dormant for 3-4 weeks without permanent damage. After 4 weeks of drought and dormancy in the summer, grass could start to die.

Improper Mowing or Watering

If your lawn is too short in the summer, the grass can be stressed and dry out. You should never remove more than 1/3 of a grass’ total length in a single mowing. 3 inches is the healthiest length during the heat of the summer. If you water your lawn frequently and for short periods of time, it can also turn brown. Only water when your lawn needs it and practice watering it deeply once or twice a week.


If you have patches of brown on the grass, animal urine might be the culprit. Dogs and other wildlife animals that use the bathroom in your yard could cause temporary staining. Water the grass in that area deeply to bring the grass back to life.

Salt Damage

During the winter, brown spots can occur as a result of salt and road chemicals. If the affected area of the lawn is right next to a sidewalk, driveway or another road, the high concentration of saline in the solution will cause brown spots. Soaking the area with water can dilute the concentration, but if the lawn has died you might need to reseed.

Know Who to Call About a Brown Lawn

Has your lawn taken a beating this summer? Give JFC Grounds Maintenance a call at (410) 655-2887. We can guide you through restoring your lawn to a gorgeous, lush green and take care of aeration and overseeding now for a beautiful lawn next spring.