What Causes Dead Patches in Lawn?

person laying on grass by dead spot

After all your hard work it can be disheartening to see dead patches in your lawn, but the good news is that you can restore the beauty and vitality to your landscape with the right methods and materials. In order to repair the bare spots and prevent them from returning, it's important to get to the root of the problem; read on to learn what causes dead patches in a lawn and how to fix them, from the landscaping experts at The Grounds Guys®.

Tips to Diagnose and Resolve Dead Patches in Your Lawn

Brown spots in an otherwise green lawn are not only unsightly but can also be a sign of a bigger issue. Here are some common reasons why you may be seeing dead patches in your grass and the best ways to treat them:


Irregular patches in your lawn or areas of delicate, light-coloured webbing are indicative of a fungal disease which may occur for any number of reasons including:

  • Extremely wet conditions or weather
  • Poor air circulation
  • Lack of sunlight

Solutions: A fungicide may be applied in extreme cases, or the issue may resolve itself with increased maintenance and drier weather.

Chinch Bugs

Chinch Bugs are often confused with lawns suffering from drought. Chinch bug damage will start with yellow grass that slowly turns brown and dies. As the grass dies, chinch bugs will move to the perimeter of the dead grass, causing dead patches of grass to spread outward.

Solutions: Rake the area to remove thatch and overgrowth. Apply an insecticide designated for Chinch Bugs to your entire lawn, not just the infected area. Once dry you can seed or resod the bare spots. Contact The Grounds Guys for proper lawn maintenance.


Grubs are destructive to your grass in large numbers, and because they feast on the roots, a lawn that is infested with grubs will lift away easily in the affected areas or feel spongy. Grubs are usually found in spring and early summer due to overly saturated soil.

Solutions: Rake the area to remove dead grass and clear area for treatment. Apply an insecticide to the damaged area and water well (do not allow pets or people in the treated area while wet). Once dry you can seed or resod the bare spots. Contact The Grounds Guys for effective, efficient pest control.

Improper Mowing Techniques

Mower blades that are situated too low or are too dull can damage grass blades and cause bare patches.

Solutions: Perform routine maintenance on your mower to ensure the blades are kept sharp and set the mower height based on your type of grass.


Dogs or cats that tend to urinate in the same area can cause dead patches over time due to the high concentrations of nitrogen in the urine.

Solutions: Encourage your pet to urinate off your property or in a non-grassy area. Water the spot thoroughly immediately after use as a preventive measure.


Herbicides, pesticides, gasoline, or any other types of chemicals can quickly kill your grass. Look for a brown patch that is in the exact shape of the spill or in the area where you may have mixed chemicals or topped up your mower.

Solutions: Water the area thoroughly after the spill occurs.


In climates where salt is used to keep sidewalks and driveways clear in the winter, brown patches may appear in areas where the salt came in contact with the grass once the snow has melted.

Solutions: Minimize the damage by being mindful of salt placement in the winter, and providing the grass with additional water in the spring. If the patches remain you may need to reseed the affected areas.

Foreign Objects

Toys, swimming pools, garden hoses, and other objects may leave behind a dead patch after they have been removed.

Solutions: In most cases, the grass will return to normal after exposure to sunlight, air, and water.

In addition to dead patches in your lawn, you may have other issues to resolve on your home's exterior. If you discover signs of rot on your siding you may have wood rot or dry rot and your local Mr. Handyman® can help to identify the cause of the damage and complete the repairs. For all your lawn and garden needs including resolving dead patches in your lawn, contact The Grounds Guys today or call (888) 929-8188 to learn more.