What to do About Bare Patches and Brown Spots in Your Yard

Lawn Care & Landscape
Refresh your yard this spring with tips from OneNeighbor on how to identify and treat bare patches and brown spots.Get My Instant Price

As your lawn retreats out of dormancy and becomes activated by the warmer weather of spring, you may find yourself with a spotty look that you weren’t expecting. Determining the cause of the bare patches or brown spots in your yard is the first step in finding the solution to begin treating your lawn for consistent, healthy growth. 


Patchy, irregular shapes of discoloration in your yard can often be caused by lawn fungus. Before you treat, it’s best to understand what has caused it and how you can prevent this lawn disease moving forward. Overwatering or especially rainy or humid weather can lead to fungus. While you can’t control the weather, you can ensure you are only watering early in the morning and turning sprinklers completely off if it has rained at least once that week. You may also need to look into improving the drainage of your lawn to minimize pooling or standing water. 

Fungicides can be purchased at local lawn and garden stores. Apply to patches according to the label and directions. Most varieties will not only treat active fungus but will also prevent future fungal disease. 

Grubs and Thatch

Grub damage can resemble drought-stress, with yellow patches of dried turf showing up in your lawn. Severe damage from grubs can completely destroy the roots, allowing you to pull out clumps of grass with little resistance or even be able to “roll” grass back from the topsoil. This level of damage will likely require treatment during the summer months.

Even if you notice lawn grubs in the spring, the best course of action is prevention - removing thatch and aerating your lawn. Thatch is often the first location grubs are found as these larval insects feed on the decaying roots and plant material. Removing thatch is a great deterrent and preventive method for lawn grubs. If thatch has accumulated to the point of compacting your lawn, aeration may be the best course of action. We shared previously why aeration is important and when is the best time to aerate. 

Dog Urine Spots

If you have a pet, you know they typically have a few “favorite” spots. These can result in brown patches, sometimes with a dark green ring around the edge. The burn to the grass is actually caused by the high amounts of nitrogen and salt in the urine.

While you can train your dog to go in one place, preferably covered in mulch instead of grass, this could take more time and effort than you currently have available. A few other tips include: 

  • Spraying down the area with a water hose to dilute the nitrogen.
  • Replanting with more urine-resistant grass.
  • Reseed spots with an easy seed or shake-and-seed type product.
  • Look into certain dietary supplements for your dog, including ones that bind to the nitrogen to make it less harmful to your lawn. 

Foot Traffic/ Wear and Tear

Lawns can get compressed and compacted due to everyday wear, foot traffic and lawn games or children’s toys. If you’ve accidentally left out the cornhole boards or the kids’ bounce house over a long weekend, you may find that you’ve left yourself with a bare patch in the lawn. 

If it is a temporary patch, you should be able to water and fertilize as planned, and ensure the grass is trimmed to an appropriate - but not too short - height for maximum repair. If the bare spots have come from weeks or months of repeated foot traffic, it may be time to aerate, and possibly even resod, depending on the extent of the damage. Aeration makes holes in the lawn and loosens the soil, which allows oxygen, water and nutrients to reach the roots. This promotes healthy growth, and consistent lawn coverage. 

OneNeighbor service experts have years of combined experience to ensure your lawn care methods are done correctly, timely and in a way that most benefits the growth of your lawn. See how OneNeighbor can help with lawn mowing, weed control and other home services in Dallas/ Fort Worth, TX, Tampa Bay, FL and Houston, TX

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