Dryer Weather Can Cause Brown Spots in Your Lawn

While some parts of the country are dealing with excess rainfall, other regions have been especially dry. The dryer weather can make the slightest irrigation deficiencies or root system deficiencies show up as wilted, browning areas of turf.

dryer weather

For the next month or two, dry soil is a likely cause of brown spots in turf; dry soil is not the only potential cause, but it is a highly likely cause.

Determining if dry soil is the cause of brown areas of turf can be simple, but is commonly overlooked. Landscape professionals will dig through the turf and determine if the soil is dry in the root zone area. They will also look for other potential causes, such as chinch bugs or grubs. Then, they will check the irrigation system to determine if there is a deficiency.

The only soil moisture that benefits a plant is the soil moisture in the root zone area. Moisture below the root zone does not benefit the plant. If the root system is short, watering will need to be done more frequently. Many factors can inhibit good root growth. It could be a problem for the entire lawn or just localized areas. If the soil moisture in the root zone area is depleted, wilting and brown spots will be the result. With dryer weather, localized dry spots can occur even with the best of irrigation systems, and spot watering may be needed.

Moisture Needs Of Your Lawn:

  • dryer weatherPlant use of water is called transpiration. The vaporization of water from the soil is called evaporation. The combination of the two (evaporation and transpiration) is what causes moisture in the soil in the root area to be used. The combination of transpiration and evaporation is called evapotranspiration and is often referred to as “ET”. At this time of year (warm dry spring and in an open sunny area), it is common for ET to deplete about 0.15 to 0.2 inches of water from the soil per day.
  • Sandy soil will typically hold ½ inch of water in 6 inches of soil. If the plant’s root system is 6 inches long, the plant has access to ½ inch of water. If the plant’s root system is 3 inches long, it only has access to about ¼ inch of water.
  • Turf begins to wilt when ½ of the plant available water is depleted.

So, if “ET” is 0.15 inches per day and the plant has a root system 6 inches deep, ½ of the plant available water (0.25 inches) will be depleted in just under 2 days (0.25 divided by 0.15 = 1.67). With the same amount of soil moisture and the same “ET” rate, a plant with a root system depth of only 3 inches would deplete the plant available water in less than one day.

 

dryer weatherHaving a good understanding of this rather complex issue is important to keeping your lawn healthy and green. For additional information or for a free landscape inspection, contact Massey Services today!
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That Brown Patch Is Called Brown Patch?

What relief the cooler weather brings, but along with it comes the season for Brown Patch. Just as the name implies, this disease, caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani,causes expanding brown patches in the lawn.

Our Massey GreenUP Landscape Program is very effective at treating and stopping this disease before it gets out of hand. Once a treatment is applied, recovery usually starts within 1 – 2 weeks, depending on weather conditions.

If brown patch is an ongoing problem, it may be possible that the lawn is receiving too much water. Lawns need less water during the winter because it doesn’t evaporate from the soil as quickly as it does during the summer and plants aren’t using the water up as quickly. Watering once per week is generally sufficient in the fall and winter months.

If you see a brown patch in your lawn, contact Massey Services for a free landscape inspection. We’ll be able to identify your problem and provide recommendations to make your lawn green, healthy and beautiful.