What is a Burnt Lawn, and How Can I Prevent it?

Burnt LawnWe’ve all heard of lawns being burnt, but very few of us know the science behind it, what it is and how it can be prevented or recovered from. Burnt grass can crop up in small patches, large patches, or it can take over an entire lawn.

What Exactly is “Burnt Lawn”

A burnt or burned lawn is a patch of grass that has turned brown. These patches will vary in size and shape, and will also sometimes be yellowish.

Causes of a Burnt Lawn

The most common cause of a burnt lawn is the incorrect application of lawn fertilizer. High concentrations of fertilization in one spot will introduce more nitrogen into the lawn than the lawn can handle. This usually happens when, during the spread of fertilizer, the unit is stopped in one place or turned, without the feed of fertilizer being stopped. This will cause the deposit of more granules than is healthy.

Another cause is one we have discussed before – pets. Large female dogs who squat and focus their urination in one spot are a particular problem. Urine contains high levels of nitrogen, similar to fertilizer.

The final common cause is having too much direct sunlight on an area of the lawn. An area that receives more sunlight from the rest of the lawn around it – usually due to windows, mirrors, or spotty shading – will brown as you care for the lawn, unless you know of the potential burning beforehand.

How Can I Prevent Burnt Lawn?

To prevent burnt lawn from over-fertilization, make sure to spread the fertilizer evenly after application. If you have applied fertilizer using a machine, go back over the lawn with a broom and find areas where fertilizer has clumped together and spread it out.

With pets, it is hard to prevent them from urinating in the same spot, as it is their nature to continue to mark a spot. You can try taking them for a walk instead of just letting them out to lessen the number of times they hit one single spot in your yard.

Finally, with sunlight it can be as simple as providing a bit of extra shade. Often, burnt lawn due to too much sun is incidental, caused by things like leaving a window on the lawn during a sunny day, so prevention is as easy as being careful where you put mirrors or pieces of glass. If the extra sunlight is due to uneven natural shade, there’s not much you can do there.

How to Fix a Burnt Lawn

Water is the way to fix a burnt lawn – watering it consistently and deeply, sometimes with the addition of a little bit of Miracle-Gro or similar substance mixed in, to rehabilitate the grass. Slow down your fertilization schedule, and reconsider the amount and type of fertilizer that you use on the lawn. Mowing less will also help out, and make sure to let the clippings cycle into the lawn in the brown areas, as it will help to naturally retain moisture. Finally, should nothing else work, you will need to consider re-sodding or re-seeding, but that should be a last resort

A burnt lawn is something that can be recovered, so don’t despair if you see brown spots pop up. Just make sure to start treating them the minute you see them appear, and they won’t be a long-term worry for you.

About AndrewT

Written by Andrew T for LawnEq - The specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable brands.