Why do I have a large brown spot in my yard when it gets hot?

Possible Answer: Too Little Water – As our heat increases, the grass needs more and more water to stay healthy.  If only a single portion of the yard is struggling simply turning up the water may not be enough.  Something could be wrong with the irrigation system. A common problem is bad sprinkler head coverage. 

Sprinkler heads are not 100% efficient, i.e. they don’t put down even amounts of water everywhere.  Properly set up, sprinklers will be spaced close enough that everything is covered properly.  If the irrigation system was installed or modified by an amateur, they can create spaces that are watered, but they get less water than the rest of the yard.  To check if this is the case, you’ll need to get a professional (licensed) irrigator out to evaluate the irrigation system.  They should also be able to fix the problem as well, either by moving sprinklers or installing additional sprinklers to fix the coverage. For more information on our irrigation services, please visit here. 

Possible Answer: Shallow Soil – West Austin is firmly in the hill country.  It is not unusual to have solid limestone bedrock only a few inches under the soil, especially if your house is on a hill.  This limits root growth and the roots are where grass absorbs and stores moisture.  When the heat hits, the grass can’t cope and will die or go dormant.  To check, grab a small trowel or shovel and dig down in the brown spot.  If you hit rock, you found your problem.  To fix this problem you can build up the soil level and re-plant sod over top, or you can gradually build the soil level with repeat Top Dressings over the area each spring and early fall.

Possible Answers: Reflected/Radiated Heat – a plate glass window can reflect and focus a lot of heat, cooking the grass it reflects on.  Concrete and asphalt absorb a lot of heat, and radiate that heat out over long periods, even at night.  This can bake grass along sidewalks or driveways.  These problems are usually fixed with a landscape solution, removing grass or adding in something to shade or protect the lawn from the heat.  Sometimes an irrigation fix can add enough water to counteract the excess heat.