brown spots in our lawn

Asked June 24, 2016, 1:40 PM EDT

We put in a new lawn in our back yard this year. Everything was going well until a few weeks ago when brown/dead spots started appearing in blotches throughout the lawn (see photo). Not sure what to do. Someone suggested we might have grubs. Can you figure it out by looking at the photo and recommend a solution? Many thanks

District of Columbia County District of Columbia

1 Response

We cannot say for sure what the problem is. We do not have enough information how the turf has been managed. Some reasons for the brown spots may be planting the wrong turfgrass species, poor soils, possible dog urine injury, fertilizer injury, close mowing, etc. Grubs are more of an issue in late summer to early fall not now. You can pull the turf back like a carpet. In general, adult egg laying begins in July and root feeding begins in August.
See our website for more information
You did not mention the type of grass you planted. Turf type tall fescue is the recommended grass species and grows best in full sun to part shade. If you planted a contractors mix of different species some of the grasses may be dying out. Perennial rye is susceptible to diseases and it declines. Also, Some grass species can go dormant at different rates during hot, dry weather. If you have dogs, may be dog urine injury. Poor soils - not enough organic matter in the soils to promote root growth, or close mowing.
At this point you will have to do some spot renovation or overseeding in early fall.
Test your soil if not done in the last several years. Results give pH, liming, and fertilization recommendations. You may want to test for organic matter in the soil.
See our publications on lawn renovation and overseeding and our turfgrass maintenance calendar for more information on maintenance and care throughout the year.