Patches of discoloured grass, brown dead grass or completely bare patches of lawn can be unsightly and are always a sign of a problem. Identifying the problem is key to providing the correct solution. We’ve listed several different lawn problems, their causes and the solutions available to fix them below, but as patches are often difficult to completely diagnose, it is usually best to get a Green Man Lawn Care lawn expert to take a look and offer the correct advice and solutions.

Problem: Irregular random patches that appear after mowing.

Possible Cause: If using a petrol lawn mower, this could be a fuel or oil leak

Solution: Ensure your mower is serviced regularly and check for any loose pipes around the engine. Never refill your lawn mower whilst stood on a lawn as petrol will kill the grass plants.

Repair Work Required? In most cases, fuel will burn the grass plants and often kill them completely. A patch repair would be required to recover the area.

Problem: Irregular brown patches, especially during dry weather.

Possible Cause: Low soil moisture – localised compaction and/or dry patch

Solution: Maintaining a sufficient level of soil moisture is key to maintaining a healthy lawn. For advice on watering, please click here.

Repair Work Required? If left untreated, localised compaction will get worse and worse. In severe cases, patch repair is required following treatment of the initial cause.

Problem: Brown patches, with unnaturally straight or round edges.

Possible Cause: Buried septic tanks, drainage pipes, builder’s rubble or compacted soil from machinery or garden furniture.

Solution: If the cause is builder’s rubble or compacted soil from machinery or garden furniture, then repair work is almost always the easiest fix. However, buried pipework or septic tanks will need a better solution. The best advice would be to contact us and allow us to take a look and offer a solution where available.

Repair Work Required? The level of repair work required is dependant on the initial cause of the patches.

Problem: Round patcheswith lush green edges on lawns to which dogs have access to.

Possible Cause: Animal urine burn

Solution: Animal urine burns can become unsightly. There are several methods of fixing the issue. Click here for more information.

Repair work required? Depending on the severity of the dead patches, patch repair is required to recover the areas.

Problem: Brown stripes or patches appearing after feeding the lawn. Particularly yellow, orange, brown or black.

Possible Cause: DIY feed and weed

Solution: A common problem we see very often is discolouration of the lawn caused by an over-application of DIY feed and weed. Different chemicals and compounds within these packages will cause the grass to turn different colours. Even if they are applied at the correct rate, weather conditions and incorrect aftercare can still cause damage. The best solution is to diagnose which chemical has caused the damage and apply the correct methods to deal with problem. This can be anything from a heavy watering and a WaterSave treatment through to a patch repair or renovation.

Repair work required? DIY Feed and weed burns can cause all sorts of damage. These packages often contain a mix of different chemicals, ranging from nitrogen, phospherous and potassium through to different combinations of active chemicals in weed killers and moss killers. It is often best to allow the excess chemicals to leach or dilute away before deciding what form of repair work is required.

Problem: Dead patches spreading rapidly, often associated with birds pecking the surface.

Possible Cause: An insect infestation. Most likely leatherjackets or chafer grubs.

Solution: See leatherjackets or chafer grubs.

Repair work required? Grubs can be a real nuisance on lawns and without effective chemicals to control specific insects, they can cause anything from a small dead patch to obliterating an entire lawn in a matter of weeks. The key is to diagnose the insect, apply the correct solution, then deal with the repair work when we know the cause has been dealt with.

Problem: Dead, brown or discoloured patches spreading throughout the lawn, most often in humid conditions.

Possible Cause: The most likely cause is a fungal disease.

Solution: Fungal diseases strike mostly in spring, autumn or winter, but fungal diseases can also thrive during humid summers. See below:

Red Thread



Slime Moulds

Repair work required? Fungal diseases rarely cause irrecoverable damage to grass plants and in most cases, repair work is unnecessary.