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Why is my Lawn Dying?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are a number of different reasons that the grass in a lawn may die, and it can be frustratingly difficult to determine the cause. While a number of diseases can kill a lawn, it's often best to consider non-disease causes first. Your grass might be getting too much or too little water, or the soil might be too compacted.

Water is essential to the health of your lawn, but it can also be the cause of your lawn dying. If you water your lawn too often, you risk killing it. As a general rule, it is best to water enough to wet the whole root zone on an infrequent basis. If your lawn is healthy and your soil is not compacted, give your lawn about 0.75 to 1 inch (1.90 to 2.54 cm) of water once a week. As summer temperatures taper off to cooler weather, it’s best to water less often.

Soil compaction can also hurt your lawn. It is important to till the grass adequately before it is established. Too often, people add just a couple of inches (5 cm or so) of soil before they seed or sod. Unfortunately, handling your lawn in this manner will lead to a shallow root system. Instead, it is best to till to a depth of 6 to 8 inches (15.23 to 20.32 cm) before you plant.

To help deal with compaction and prevent the demise of your lawn, don’t forget to aerate as needed. When you aerate your lawn, be sure to cover about 15% of the area with holes. Though this procedure can be tedious, it can go a long way toward saving you the disappointment of having to deal with your lawn dying before you eyes.

Other things that may lead to lawn problems include improper mowing heights, thatch that is too thick, slopes or low areas, certain herbicides, insects, and diseases. If you believe a disease may be the cause of your lawn dying, take steps to identify the problem and correct it quickly. There are many resources online that may be help you recognize diseases and other lawn conditions. If such resources fail to help and your lawn is still dying, consider seeking the services of a lawn-care professional. Keep in mind that many diseases are caused by improper lawn care, so it's important to take excellent care of your grass.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a HomeQuestionsAnswered writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon989927 — On Mar 27, 2015

I reseeded my lawn last fall and it looked great after a harsh winter. My lawn now does not look so great. It's kind of sparse. Will grass regrow and fill in? I used ultra black beauty and black beauty. Steve in Connecticut.

By anon955773 — On Jun 09, 2014

Sme neighbor may be putting something in my grass to kill it. Is it possible to have lawn tested to see what is in it?

By anon929156 — On Jan 30, 2014

My lawn has always been healthy and green. However, I hadn't mowed it for a month while I was on holidays and when I got back I mowed it right back quite short. I went away again for another week and when I got back, it had started to go brown in patches say, 40 percent of the lawn. The lawn isn't really compact but is spongy to walk on. Any advice?

By SarahSon — On Dec 01, 2012

It is interesting that too much water can cause your lawn to die. The years we get too much rain, the lawn just seems to grow faster and thicker and all I am doing is mowing.

We had a drought this past summer and everyone had a lawn that was dying. They had restrictions on how much water we could use, so most lawns looked brown all summer long.

Where you set your lawn mower is important as well. Depending on the condition of your lawn, setting it too high or too low can cause your lawn to die off too.

By julies — On Nov 30, 2012

I have three dogs and there is no way I can keep my lawn looking nice. We have a fence all the way around our property so the dogs can urinate anywhere in the yard. You would think they might choose one area, but they don't. You can tell where they urinate the most because the grass starts turning yellow and starts to die.

By John57 — On Nov 29, 2012

@anon123815 -- The times I have had problems with my lawn dying I usually have to call someone to come look at it and tell me what is going wrong. I have learned from experience it is better to just call someone right away instead of trying to figure it out on my own.

By the time I try different products, wait to see if they are going to work, I have usually wasted time and money. It is best to have a professional come and look at your lawn and pay them to treat it for you.

By anon213765 — On Sep 12, 2011

Our lawn is dying quickly. It started with a little mold. We had it aerated - have a lawn service who cuts and fertilizes on a regular basic. At the beginning of summer it was just a little mold. Now it is full-blown brown and no grass. What is the solution?

By anon179852 — On May 24, 2011

I've got the same problem. Would love to know what it is. It looks like we put something with a rectangular base on the grass long enough to kill it. There is usually 4 or 5 of these rectangles together. They last a few days, then heal. But then they move somewhere else. Strange. Help!

By anon123815 — On Nov 03, 2010

I just noticed about two weeks ago that my lawn started dying. it started in one spot and now you can see it spreading. It is November now and it is getting worse, and it looks like there is some sort of bug under it and turning the dirt up and killing my lawn. please help. should I put some kind of insect killer on it and if so what? thanks for any help.

By anon89018 — On Jun 08, 2010

Okay, so saying, "lawn is turning brown help me"

leaves nothing to help. We need information.

By anon37949 — On Jul 22, 2009

lawn is turning brown help me

By jfoerster — On May 27, 2009

We built a house 3 years ago in January. The ground was seeded that March. We've had decent success with the lawn. However, this past weekend (literally overnight) we noticed a brown patch of grass. It is rectangular about 5 foot by 3 foot. What could cause this to happen so suddenly?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a HomeQuestionsAnswered writer, where she focuses on topics like...
Learn more
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