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Brown spots appear in newly sodded yards due to a lack of water.

Brown spots appear due to lack of water

One of the most common problems we see in lawns during the heat of the summer are brown spots. Most of the time, these mysterious spots appear due to a lack of water. Hot windy afternoons and lack of rain dry out grass, and these spots show where your lawn is drying out first. It is not a bad thing to see a few brown spots here and there because it lets you know you are not over watering. In new sod, even if the soil is damp, the top can dry out and the grass blades can wilt, thus creating brown spots. New sod does not have an established root system, so more frequent waterings are necessary.

Clogged sprinkler nozzles

Brown spots often result from a poor irrigation system. If brown spots start to appear, check your sprinkler heads for clogged nozzles and even coverage. You can test your sprinkler system by placing the same size cans, bowls or rain gauges in the good lawn area and in the area with the brown spots. Run your system and compare the collected amounts of water to see if the areas are receiving the same amount of coverage. You may find that specific zones need to run for different lengths due to shade, sun, slope and exposure.

How to water fix

To revive brown spots, hand water these areas in the afternoon and increase the watering time in this area of the lawn. Be sure not to over water. Flooding the area will not make it recover any quicker. Remember, that the most effective time for summer watering will be in the early morning or later evening when temperatures are cooler and less of your water will evaporate. Watering adequately this summer may mean watering 2-3 times each week and long enough to penetrate 2-3 inches into the ground. Your goal in watering should be to reach as far into the root zone as possible. Avoid runoff by not watering too much, too quickly. To do this, water your lawn for half of the usual time and let it soak in for an hour before running the second half of the cycle. Make sure to take advantage of the rain we have been getting in Colorado and skip watering until your lawn needs it.