Why Do I Have Dead Patches Of Grass On My Lawn?

There can be nothing more frustrating than having unsightly dead patches on your otherwise luscious green lawn. 

This is particularly annoying if you have no idea why it has happened or how to prevent it from happening again. 

why do i have dead patches of grass on my lawn

In this article, we are going to be exploring some of the reasons why your lawn might have dead patches of grass. We will be answering the questions on your mind related to bare spots, dead spots, and yellow circles making your lawn look bad.

Table of Contents

What causes bare spots in grass?

Some bare spots could be a result of dead patches of grass that have been caused by an external issue such as animal urine, chemical spillage, or fungal diseases.

However, it could also be a case of the seed just not growing in that particular spot because of lack of moisture, or indeed, lack of seed. 

Grass seeds can be finicky little things, and they need conditions that are exactly right in order for them to grow. If the surface you are growing the grass seed on is hard clay, then the seeds need extra moisture to germinate. 

This is especially true if you are experiencing hot, dry weather. It could be that that particular patch did not receive as much moisture, hindering its growth compared to other patches.

To fix this you can simply water it a little more. We recommend doing it twice a day for 5 minutes at a time. 

If you still have no luck then it is possible that you actually missed that particular area when you were laying down your seed. This is more common than you may think.

Try planting the seed in the bare spots again, watering as needed to ensure a moist environment. 

What causes dead spots in grass?

There could be a number of reasons why you have dead spots of grass on your lawn, from animal urine to lack of watering, to fungal diseases, to salt or fertilizer burn, and even chemical spillages

These issues can all cause dead patches of grass on your lawn, and it can be quite difficult to figure out what issue, in particular, has caused your issue. Let’s take a more detailed look at why each of these situations can cause dead patches of grass on your lawn. 

Animal urine, whether from a pet dog, cat, or rabbit, or from a wild animal that got into your yard can cause discoloration and can even prevent grass from growing. This is because of the high levels of nitrogen in the urine.

If you have a family pet and start to notice these dead patches, then it is likely that they are the cause. To prevent this you could stop them from having access to the lawn, or simply be on hand to wash away any areas with clean water when they have urinated. 

Lack of watering can, of course, cause these unsightly dead patches. Check your sprinkler system to see if it reaches everywhere. Even if you think your sprinkler reaches all areas of your lawn, it is worth double-checking if you notice dead patches, especially if they are in harder-to-reach areas. 

Fungal diseases such as snow mold are very common and are easy to fix. Nonetheless, they can cause those unsightly dead patches on your lawn. Look out for tell-tale signs of fungal diseases such as white webbing, red webbing, and powdery mildew.

The fixes are not usually aggressive and can typically be solved by adjusting environmental factors. Good lawn care can prevent them. 

Salt or fertilizer burn can also cause those dead patches of grass. If your lawn is near a sidewalk in a cold climate then salt burn is likely if the sidewalks have been treated with salt as an anti-ice measure in colder months.

It is common for this salt to get onto the lawn and affect the growth of the grass when spring rolls around. Likewise, fertilizer burn can occur as a result of applying too much fertilizer, or any accidental spillages. The best fix for these two issues is prevention. 

Chemical spillages, like fertilizer burn, can occur as a result of applying too much pesticide or herbicide, or even just an outright spill of them.

Be sure to check the correct amounts of any chemicals you need before applying them, and take extra care when handling them to ensure you do not cause a spillage.

You can wash away any immediate spillages with water. However, if the spillage has already occurred and resulted in dead patches, not much can be done. 

What causes yellow circles in grass?

Yellow circles in the grass can be caused by a variety of different issues.

Depending on the type of yellow circle it could be the product of one of many fungal diseases that can affect a lawn or a result of environmental and cultural factors. Identifying the nature of the yellow circle is vital in finding out the cause of it. 

First, you should identify whether they are circles or rings. Rings are just an outline of yellow, whereas circles are round patches of yellow. 

Yellow rings are most likely to be caused by fungal diseases, such as Necrotic Ring Spot, Yellow Patch, and Fusarium Blight. These can be treated with a variety of fungicides which may differ based on the type of fungus. Treatment is typically non-aggressive and easily fixed. 

Yellow patches in the shape of a circle may well be a result of some of the issues we talked about in the previous section such as underwatering, animal urine, salt or fertilizer burn, and chemical spillages.

These can all be treated in different ways, but you will find that adequate prevention is the best course of action to prevent it from happening in the first place. 


There you have it! All of your burning questions related to dead patches of grass on your lawn were answered. Not as stressful as you thought, right?

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