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SALT LAKE CITY -- Gardening experts say this weekend's weather is expected to be perfect for putting down a layer of fertilizer or other chemicals to make your lawn look better and possibly reverse some of the damage to your grass over the summer.
If there are brown spots on your lawn, there could be several different reasons, and each reason has a different way to fight it.
One of the best ways to figure out what's wrong with your lawn is to get down and pull some of it up.
John Bass, IFA turf and ornamental products category manager, says, "If they come up in handfuls, you'll see a caterpillar in there. That's sod webworm. You've got to do something for that."
If you don't, Bass says you'll have bigger brown spots later. The worms are eating the roots of the grass. If they're allowed to keep eating before the winter, you won't be able to fix the brown spots when you see them in the spring or summer.
The most frequently seen fungus that causes brown patches causes something called necrotic ring. Bass describes it as looking like a donut with a dark green center.
"That attacks the root of the grass and then the lawn can't take the water up," he explains.
You can lay one application of fungicide down in the fall, but Bass says it should be followed up by another application in spring.
Two different kinds of grasses
It's not uncommon for homeowners to have two different types of grass growing and they just don't know it. Some grasses go dormant earlier in the year than others. For instance, Bass says Bermuda and bent grasses will turn brown pretty early.
"Both of those grasses sometimes just get in our lawns," he says. "Maybe there was an impurity of the seed, or whatever, but they'll go brown a little bit earlier. Eventually, you may want to spray that out, reseed or sod that area to get rid of that brown."
Usually, these will be concentrated in one area of your lawn. These spots will frequently have a dark circle of green on the outside of the brown area. Bass says this is because the pet urine may partly fertilize the lawn, while at the same time damaging it.
Bass says the best tool to get rid of pet stains is gypsum. You can lay it down the same day you apply the fertilizer, but don't mix the two bags together.
Lack of water
Bass says this is most likely the least of your problems this time of year. But if you pull the grass up and the soil is solid, you probably need to water that part of the grass.