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Brown spot on grass lawn

Maintaining grass

It can be a challenge to maintain healthy and green grass in the climate and soil of the Mojave Desert. That's why it's important to ensure your irrigation system is in proper working order, and regular lawn maintenance being conducted to keep your lawn healthy.


Aerating your lawn every spring and fall by punching holes in your soil reduces runoff, increases fertilizer effectiveness and aids root growth. It also boosts water penetration, helping water and fertilizer nutrients get down to the roots.

Moisten grass a day or two before aerating to soften the soil. Finding the right balance is helpful because if the soil is too wet, it will compact more around the holes. If it is too dry, the aerator will bounce off the sod.

Using a coring aerator, make two to three passes to aerate severely-compacted soil to its proper depth of at least 3 inches. Space aeration holes about 3 inches apart.

Leave soil cores on the grass after you aerate. Your mower will spread them around and back into the soil with the next mowing.

Brown spots

Most brown spots are caused by faults in the sprinkler system. Mixed types of sprinkler heads, blocked spray patterns, improper spacing and the system's pressure can all affect your lawn.

Check that your sprinkler heads are level to grade, perpendicular to the slope of the lawn and not watering sidewalks, walls or patios. If grass blocks the spray, trim around the sprinkler head or install a taller 3- or 4-inch pop-up.

If your lawn looks great except for stressed areas in front of the sprinkler heads, the heads are too far apart. A device called an undercut nozzle can help. Talk to an irrigation specialist, if you decide to change out the nozzle.

Watering-system pressure also can cause brown spots. If your sprinkler system mists or has excessive water, the pressure could be too high. If the sprinklers display short spray patterns and reduced coverage, your pressure may be too low.

You also may hand water brown spots until the area improves.