Why does my Zoysia have Brown Spots?

How to Fix Brown Spots on Zoysia Lawn: Causes and Prevention Tips

Brown spots on a Zoysia lawn can be caused by various factors, including fungal diseases (such as brown patch or dollar spot), irregular watering or drought stress, insect infestation (such as chinch bugs), nutrient deficiencies, excessive thatch buildup, or improper mowing practices. To accurately diagnose and treat the issue, it is recommended to consult with a local landscape professional who can assess your specific situation and provide appropriate solutions.

Identifying Brown Spots on Zoysia Lawns

Having a well-manicured lawn with Zoysia grass is a joy to many homeowners. However, brown spots are a common problem that can leave your lawn looking unsightly and damaged. These spots are caused by various factors, including pests, diseases, weather conditions and poor maintenance practices. Identifying the cause of the brown spots is crucial when seeking solutions.

To identify the cause of brown spots on your Zoysia lawn, start by examining the pattern of the damage. For example, if the damage appears as a ring or spot, it may be caused by pests such as grubs or chinch bugs. If the discoloration is appearing in patches or irregular shapes and grows outwards, then it is most likely caused by disease. If you notice chewed up areas along with holes in leaves, small animals like rabbits may be responsible for your lawn’s brown spots.

With this knowledge on identifying brown spots now in our arsenal; let’s explore types of lawn spots.

Types of Lawn Spots

There are different types of lawn spots that you should be aware of when trying to address brown spots on your Zoysia lawn:

Fungal Diseases

Fungal diseases can transform a beautiful Zoysia lawn into a patchy mess. Some common fungal diseases include brown patch, dollar spot and leaf spot. Brown patch usually appears during hot and humid weather while dollar spot occurs in cooler seasons when there is high humidity. Leaf spot diseases typically affect lawns under stress from drought or lack of nutrition.


Grubs, which are beetle larvae, can lead to noticeable dead areas on the zoysia grass. Grub damage typically starts with small patches before growing extensively over time if left untreated.


Insect infestations can also lead to unsightly browning on Zoysia lawns. Insects like chinch bugs and sod webworms are two common culprits. Both pests feed on the grass blades, leaving brown patches behind.

Dog Spots

Dog spots are caused by pets urinating in areas of the lawn frequently. Over time, these spots become visible as brown or yellow with dead grass around them.

Spot and Leaf Diseases

If your Zoysia lawn is developing brown spots, the problem could be a fungal attack. Many fungi attack grass leaves, leading to dead or brown spots on their surface. Common culprits include large patch disease, dollar spot, and leaf spot. Large patch disease mainly affects Zoysia during cooler months of the year and takes hold in areas with poor air circulation, high humidity levels, and slow drainage. Dollar spot is another common fungus that causes small bleached patches ranging from 2-6 inches across. Leaf spot disease symptoms consist of light yellowish-green turf, indicative of damage from infectious fungi.

It’s crucial to identify these diseases early before they spread to other parts of your lawn. To do so, regularly check for any signs generated by these infections. Look out for discolored patches that gradually spread over time, accompanied by fungal growth under ideal conditions or visible mushroom caps.

If you spot any signs of leaf or spot diseases in your Zoysia lawn, act fast to prevent the infection from spreading. You could begin by raking and removing debris from affected areas and providing proper aeration and nutrients for your turf.

Potential Causes of Brown Spots

Brown spots can develop as a result of various factors affecting the health and appearance of your Zoysia lawn. One cause is pet urine; dog urine has high nitrogen content which can burn up sections of grass leaving them brown.

Another potential cause is low mowing height; cutting grass too close could damage its blades from sunburn or make them susceptible to insecticide injury that kills blade tips at the grass base.

Improper watering techniques are also potential culprits leading to brown spots on your zoysiagrass. Overwatering plants leads to shallow root systems making it harder for the plant to withstand drought, while a lack of water accelerates dehydration resulting in dry patches that appear yellowish-brown.

Moreover, compacted soil causes stagnant water pools requiring more fertilization and watering, resulting in oxygen-deprived roots leading to brown spots.

Finally, insect infestations such as tunneling pests or armyworms can damage blades of grass leaving brown patches on your lawn.

Identifying potential causes can prevent successive damage from spreading and cause the grass to develop new healthy green blades. It’s essential to remedy the underlying issue responsible for brown spots on your Zoysia turf before investing energy and time into reparation procedures like replanting or sodding sections with damaged blades.

Weather Impacts

Zoysia lawn is a warm-season grass variety that thrives well in tropical and subtropical climates, withstanding heat excessively. However, its vulnerability to cold stress, droughts, and high humidity can lead to brown spots on the turf. Extreme weather changes such as unseasonal cold snaps or elongated rainy seasons can impact your Zoysia lawn significantly.

Let’s say your region experienced an unprecedented dry spell in June, which created a water crisis. You might notice that some parts of your lawn started browning off gradually. This pattern may continue over an extended period if you don’t address specific interventions.

To remedy this problem, it’s essential to modify environmental factors within your control to minimize any adverse effects of erratic weather conditions. For instance, watering your Zoysia lawn deeply at intervals of 7-10 days instead of frequent shallow watering is advisable during the dry season. Similarly, mowing the turf higher than usual (3″-4″ mark height) helps reduce scalping while ensuring that the grass stays healthy.

Soil Nutrient Deficiency

Brown spots on Zoysia turf may also occur due to soil nutrient deficiency. Nitrogen shortage is one of the most common soil nutrient deficiencies that affect Zoysia lawns. Nitrogen is essential in chlorophyll production in plants and acts as a growth stimulant. A lack of this essential nutrient leads to gradual yellowing, then eventually browning off of turf.

For instance, suppose you noticed a section of your lawn was displaying yellow patches starting from the leaf tips gradually moving down the blade. In that case, nitrogen deficiency could very well be the culprit.

Soil testing will reveal areas where deficiencies exist; therefore, scheduled soil tests are highly recommended for large-scale maintenance efforts or when introducing new elements into existing lawns like gardening or tree planting activities.

Various commercial nitrogen fertilizers can be used to fix nitrogen deficiency on Zoysia. Granular or soluble fertilizers will work well, depending on the nature of the soil.

Correcting soil nutrient deficiencies is like administering vitamins to your body when you’re feeling under the weather.

Effect of Pesticides

Pesticides can quickly destroy your Zoysia grass lawn if they are not used correctly. Pesticides contain dangerous chemicals that target harmful insects and weeds in the lawn, but they can also cause brown spots on your grass if applied improperly. When pesticides are overused or applied incorrectly, they can accumulate and make their way down into the soil, causing damage to soil quality and plant roots. Also, excessive pesticide usage has been known to kill beneficial insects in Zoysia lawns leading to an imbalance in the ecosystem. Pesticide use should be monitored and done only when necessary and with the strict following of instructions given by manufacturers.

For example, using a broad-spectrum insecticide on your Zoysia lawn will destroy both target pests and useful ones like bees, butterflies, and earthworms, reducing the variety of creatures living in your yard. Furthermore, some pesticides can affect human health leading to respiratory problems, skin rashes or other health complications.

When using pesticides, always make sure you are following instructions provided by manufacturers and applying only what is necessary as per recommended dosages.

Prevention and Maintenance Procedures

Prevention and maintenance ensure that your Zoysia grass remains green and healthy while keeping away or treating any brown spots caused by different reasons such as pests’ infestation or disease among others.

Proper Watering And Sunlight Exposure

Watering and exposure to sunlight are crucial requirements for proper growth of Zoysia grass. Insufficient watering can cause brown patches on the lawn due to lack of moisture where overwatering may suffocate the grass blades leading to decay and eventual browning. Similarly, inadequate sunlight exposure can lead to stunted growth resulting in sparse areas; however excessive light may lead to dryness killing off parts of the grass.

It’s best practice to water your Zoysia grass early; preferably before 10 am or after 5 pm to prevent quick evaporation of water and allow the grass to absorb moisture better. Ensure you water deeply and infrequently rather than frequent shallow watering to encourage deeper root growth. A good rule of thumb is to provide one inch of water per week during the growing season.

Regarding exposure to sunlight, Zoysia grass requires a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight per day for optimal growth. Trees and other structures casting shadows on your Zoysia lawn should be adequately trimmed to allow some natural light flow.


Taking good care of your Zoysia lawn requires effort, attention, and proper maintenance procedures as highlighted above. Prevention is always better than cure, so ensure that you follow these helpful tips to prevent any brown spots from developing on your beautiful green lawn. Nevertheless, it is essential to note that taking immediate action immediately after spotting any brown patches helps in controlling further spread while disease prevention practices reduce recurring outbreaks.

Proper Watering and Sunlight Exposure

Proper watering and sunlight exposure are essential for preventing brown spots on your Zoysia lawn. One of the significant reasons for brown spots is a lack of adequate water supply to the grass, leading to drought stress. Generally, Zoysia grass requires around one inch of water weekly during warm seasons. However, this amount should be adjusted during rainfall to avoid over-watering, which can lead to fungal infections that cause brown spot diseases.

Also, Zoysia grass needs abundant sunlight exposure for healthy growth. Therefore, ensure your lawn receives adequate sunlight by removing any objects or trees blocking the light. Avoid mowing the lawn too low as it may inhibit its ability to absorb nutrients and reduce the ability to fight off pests, diseases, and environmental stressors.

Imagine you have a large tree in your yard that reduces sun exposure to your Zoysia lawn daily. One solution is to take advantage of trimming seasonal dormant branches or limbs which allows more sunlight to reach the groundcover.

By following proper watering and sunlight practices, your Zoysia lawn will receive adequate nutrients for growth while remaining lush and healthy.

Effective Fungus Control

Effective fungus control is crucial in preventing brown spot diseases on your Zoysia lawn. Fungi can thrive under various conditions but prefer damp environments. To prevent fungus growth, ensure sufficient drainage around your lawn areas so that rainwater does not accumulate on the surface leading to an increase in humidity levels.

Another effective fungus control measure is aerating your soil regularly. Aeration increases the movement of air and water in soils bringing about a drying effect of excess soil moisture, which discourages fungi growth.

Fungus control chemicals can also be used for prevention against certain types of fungus resulting in brown spots on Zoysia lawns. However, it is best advised only after diagnosing what type of fungus has caused the issue rather than a preemptive measure.

Remember that fungicides should only be used according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. It is also important to note that continuous use of fungicides can create resistance in fungal populations leading to long-term problems.

Using excessive amounts of fungicide can hurt your desired green lawn and become similar to taking too many antibiotics, where they lose effectiveness over time with overuse.

A healthy Zoysia grass will push out any unwanted weed growth or diseases that may impact its aesthetic beauty during those summer months. Follow the above tips for proper watering, sunlight exposure, and effective fungus control to protect your investment and enjoy a beautiful Zoysia lawn worth envy.

Solving the Brown Spot Problem

Zoysia grass is known for its lush green color and the unique texture it adds to any lawn. However, this beautiful turf grass can become infested with brown spots that ruin the overall aesthetics of your landscaping. Discouraging as it may seem, fixing the brown spot problem on your Zoysia lawn is surprisingly simple with a few proven approaches.

It all starts with identifying the possible reasons why your lawn is experiencing these patches in the first place.

For instance, one reason could be poor mowing practices. Have you ever cut your Zoysia too low? This act alone can cause damage to your Zoysia lawn, leading to brown spots. Another reason could be soil compaction, which happens when there is foot traffic from children playing or heavy equipment driving across the yard. Nurse trees like oaks or late freezes could also affect zoysia growth, leading to brown spots.

Once you have nailed down the root cause for brown patches on your Zoysia lawn, it’s now time to consider a solution.

Common Solutions

The first thing you can try is giving your grass a deep soak with proper irrigation techniques during dry periods of hot weather. Zoysia thrives best under a moderate amount of water; over-watering will only lead to more problems like fungus and disease.

In fact, watering early in the morning allows excess moisture on blades to evaporate during sunlight hours and fosters roots’ growth at night, making it stronger and healthier.

Another solution involves performing aeration. By punching tiny holes into compacted soil, this technique enhances air exchange between soil and atmosphere allowing better nutrient uptake and water dispersal. Aeration should be performed right before peak growing seasons normally April or May.

Fertilization can also lessen brown spots as it adds nutrients essential for healthy grass growth while ensuring a uniform green hue. However, mis-applying the fertilizers might lead to further brown patches and need precise application. You can get professional advice on how best to apply fertilizers.

It’s like feeding your body with vitamins, ensuring that you take the optimal nutrients for your body type to promote growth and prevent physical ailments.

If natural techniques don’t yield good results, pre-emergent herbicides like crabgrass control might be considered. Prevention is key here as this herbicide will stop the weeds from growing near with Zoysia’s roots, avoiding competition for water and nutrients which leads to brown spots.

The professional services consider becoming essential when mowing, irrigation, and fertilization have been well addressed but brown spots still linger. Consider these tips when evaluating professionals:

Professional Services Considerations

While fixing brown spots on your Zoysia lawn might seem like an easily manageable task, sometimes professional expertise is necessary to identify and tackle the root cause of the issue. Professional help can save you time, minimize damages, and ensure the proper recovery of your lawn. Some aspects to consider before seeking professional services include:

First and foremost, identify the symptoms that need attention and choose a reliable local service provider with a good reputation. It’s integral to pick someone who understands how Zoysia lawns grow in your specific region. For instance, if you reside in areas like Florida or Texas, where the climate is hot and humid, your choice of specialist should have prior experience with tackling related issues.

Secondly, consider your budget before making any decisions. Researching reviews and comparing costs from different vendors could save money in the long run. Choosing an expert with specialized equipment and knowledge will lead to faster identification of problems and speedier solution implementation.

Thirdly, communicating with your chosen service provider is essential for fixing your lawn effectively. Explain the problem thoroughly during initial consultations and inquire about the duration of each consultation. Select a provider who takes time to educate you on preventive tips and also has excellent communication skills with respect to proactive support.

Finally, here are some benefits that come with hiring a professional:

Time-SavingWhile DIY efforts may take up additional time researching solutions online or conducting experiments that may result in further damage to lawns, a specialist will fix the problem promptly without compromising quality
ExpertiseProfessionals come armed with years of experience dealing with similar cases giving them exposure to identifying problems early enough before they escalate into larger issues
Customized SolutionsA specialist analyzes each case individually and proposes unique solutions tailored to each lawn’s specific needs
Quality ControlWith a professional, you are guaranteed the quality of materials used and the work done as compared to relying on an opinion from a random online source

Professional services come in handy when DIY efforts do not yield desired results. Hiring a specialist assists in identifying an issue’s root cause and its subsequent resolution without causing further damage or loss of time. Ensure chatting with your chosen provider extensively before hiring and shop around for vendors with competitive pricing. Benefits such as customized solutions, expert knowledge and quality control make obtaining professional guidance worth the investment.


Zoysia sod is very durable but is slow to come out of winter dormancy as compared to St. Augustine. No need to be concerned. Zoysia grass conserves its energy until the temperatures are consistently warm, which occurs in mid to late spring. This often falls in May or early June, then grass will stay green until late October. Fertilize in April and irrigate lawn no more then 3x per week. Zoysia is very drought tolerant. 

Be on the look out for Zoysia brown patch which usually develops on lawns that are too wet. Make sure lawn areas are properly draining and MOST IMPORTANT DON’T OVER WATER. In spring we recommend that  you Aerate your lawn which helps with thatch buildup and loosens base soil to allow fertilizer to properly reach root system. 

If you suspect Lawn fungus is causing issues we recommend Scotts Lawn Fungus Control. Spread once per month especially during spring / summer.

Any questions give Mario a call @ 504-415-1438

Clean Cut Landscape Co


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