Are you tired of looking at brown Bermuda grass after mowing? If so, you’re not alone. It’s a common issue that homeowners face. Luckily, there are several reasons why this could be happening, and even more ways to fix it.
- Why Bermuda Grass Turns Brown After Mowing
- Dull Mower Blades
- Mowing Too Short
- Regular Mowing Schedule
- Brown Stolons
- Scalping: Adjust Mowing Technique as The Season Progresses
- A Useful Video on Mid-Season Bermuda Grass Scalping
- Your Grass Might Just Be Dormant
- Thatch Buildup
- Soil Compaction
- Soil Temperature
- Sufficient Sunlight
- Does Your Bermuda Grass Have a Disease?
- How To Make Your Brown Bermuda Grass Turn Green Again?
- Still Stumped? You may need to have a professional look at it
- Frequently Asked Questions related to why Bermuda grass turns brown
Why Bermuda Grass Turns Brown After Mowing
It doesn’t make sense that mowing your bermuda grass lawn would turn it brown, right? Turns out there’s probably a good reason for it and some easy things you can do to keep it looking nice and green.
First I’ll talk about mowing. If you’re only noticing the brown after mowing, it definitely could be a mowing issue. However, it may also be that the lower half of your grass blades are brown and you just can’t see it until you mow. If that’s the case, it could be an issue unrelated to mowing, which I will talk about further down the page.
Keep in mind that these are general guidelines for Bermuda grass. Hybrid varieties of Bermuda grass as well as zone variations may require slight adjustments in care.
Here’s the explanations for your brown bermuda grass after you cut it.
Dull Mower Blades
One of the main culprits of brown Bermuda grass after mowing is dull mower blades. When blades are dull, they can tear the grass instead of cutting it. This causes the grass to turn brown at the tips, giving it an overall dull appearance. To prevent this, make sure to sharpen your mower blades regularly.
Mowing Too Short
Mowing Bermuda grass too short can also cause it to turn brown. This is because the grass needs some length to produce enough chlorophyll to stay green. Try adjusting your mower height to a higher setting and see if that helps.
Bermuda grass is best cut at 1-2 inches in length. It is best to avoid removing more than one-third of the grass blade at each mowing to prevent stress on the plant.
Regular Mowing Schedule
Regular mowing can also help keep your Bermuda grass from turning brown. When grass is allowed to grow too long, it can become stressed and turn brown.
For most Bermuda lawns, mowing once a week is sufficient, but during periods of rapid growth, mowing twice a week may be necessary.
Bermuda grass blades are thin and flat, with a pointed tip and a sharp edge. They grow in a V-shaped pattern and have a rough texture on the upper surface. Bermuda grass spreads through stolons, which are horizontal above-ground stems that grow along the soil surface and can root at the nodes to form new plants.
The stolons of Bermuda grass tend to be brown rather than green because they are typically closer to the soil surface and have less access to sunlight, which is needed for photosynthesis and chlorophyll production. Additionally, the stolons may become brown and woody as they age, especially if they are not regularly mowed or trimmed. The brown color of the stolons can give the appearance of brown grass, even if the leaves themselves are still green.
Scalping: Adjust Mowing Technique as The Season Progresses
Adjusting the mowing height of your Bermuda grass is important in preventing it from turning brown after mowing. As the season progresses, the grass tends to develop brown legs & stolons underneath, which gradually work their way up.
Raising the height of cut provides a temporary solution by keeping the brown grass a little further away, but it will eventually catch up again. For this reason, some gardeners perform a mid-season scalp by resetting the height of cut during mid-late summer to bring the grass back down.
A mid-season scalp is a technique used to reset the Bermuda grass after it has turned brown due to the accumulation of thick stolons. The idea behind a scalp is to cut the grass low enough so that the base of the stolon is also removed, which encourages the grass to start over and regrow fresh green blades. The process involves mowing the lawn 1-2 notches lower (on your mower) than the usual height and collecting all the debris.
Once the scalp is done, you can increase the mowing height back to your desired level and enjoy the deep green color of your Bermuda grass for the rest of the summer.
By mid-season, I mean right in the middle of growing season. So If your bermuda grass comes out of dormancy in mid-April and goes dormant again in October, you could conduct a scalp in early to mid-July.
A Useful Video on Mid-Season Bermuda Grass Scalping
Your Grass Might Just Be Dormant
Another reason your Bermuda grass may be turning brown after mowing is that it’s dormant. Bermuda grass goes dormant during the winter months and turns brown. Once the weather warms up, it will turn green again.
As Bermuda goes into dormancy, the grass will also stop growing or grow very slowly. In some cases, the grass may appear dead, but it will usually recover once the growing season returns. You can also check the soil temperature, as Bermuda grass typically goes dormant when soil temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Thatch buildup can also cause Bermuda grass to turn brown after mowing. Thatch is a layer of dead grass and other organic matter that builds up on top of the soil. When it gets too thick, it can prevent water and nutrients from reaching the roots of your grass.
Try reading my article on how to dethatch Bermuda grass for detailed instructions.
Soil compaction can also be the reason your Bermuda grass is turning brown. When the soil is too compacted, it makes it difficult for water and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass. Consider adding a new best friend to your lawn in the form of aeration.
The easiest way to aerate a lawn is with an aerator machine, which can be rented from a local lawn care company or home improvement store. Begin by mowing the grass and removing any debris from the lawn. Then, run the aerator machine over the lawn, making sure to cover the entire area. Finally, water the lawn thoroughly to promote healthy growth.
I have a full article on bermuda grass aeration to help you with that process.
Soil temperature can also play a role in the health of your Bermuda grass. When the soil is too cold, it can slow down the growth of your grass and cause it to turn brown.
Ideal soil temperature for bermuda grass is around 65-70°F although it will continue to grow in soil temperatures as low as 55°F. When the soil temperatures drop below 55°F. it will start to go dormant.
Bermuda grass needs plenty of sunlight to stay green and healthy. If your grass isn’t getting enough sunlight, it may turn brown after mowing.
Bermuda grass requires at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to thrive, so if your lawn is shaded, it may turn brown. Consider trimming back trees and bushes to allow more sunlight to reach your lawn, or consider planting a shade-tolerant grass species in the affected areas.
Some shade-tolerant grasses that can be planted include St. Augustinegrass, Zoysiagrass, and Buffalo grass.
Does Your Bermuda Grass Have a Disease?
If you’ve ruled out dull blades, mowing too short, and dormancy, then your Bermuda grass may have a disease. One common disease that causes brown spots on Bermuda grass is brown patch disease. This fungal disease thrives in warm, moist environments and can quickly spread throughout your lawn.
Diseases that cause Bermuda grass to turn brown
If you suspect that your Bermuda grass has a disease, there are several types that can cause it to turn brown. Brown patch disease is one of the most common, but there are other diseases such as Pythium blight and dollar spot that can cause brown spots as well.
Here are the typical symptoms of a fungal disease in your bermuda grass:
- Circular patches of brown or dead grass that have a diameter of 6 inches to several feet.
- The outer edge of the patch is usually more yellow or bronze in color, with a dark brown or black ring surrounding it.
- The blades of grass within the patch will easily pull away from the roots since they are rotted.
- In humid weather, a white or grayish-brown fungus can also be observed on the infected blades of grass.
- The affected area will have a slimy feel
- May be a musty smell
Fungicides for Bermuda grass
Fungicides can be used to treat brown patch, pythium blight, and or dollar spot diseases on Bermuda grass. However, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and apply them at the right time to get the best results.
Also note that certain fungicides only treat specific fungi, whereas others have a broader application and are able to kill many varieties. The general rule is that if you can pinpoint the fungus and apply a specific application, that will be better for your lawn’s health than a broad application.
Do your best to identify the fungus attacking your lawn before you purchase a fungicide. Sometimes it’s hard to do especially because often more than one fungus is present. Consider having a lawn care professional come to help. Look for landscapers in the area who brand themselves as lawn care experts.
You should also avoid overwatering and fertilizing during humid conditions, which can encourage fungal growth. Water in the morning rather than the evening allowing the sun to evaporate moisture off the blades, making it less likely for fungus to grow.
How To Make Your Brown Bermuda Grass Turn Green Again?
If you’re wondering how to make your brown grass turn green again, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure you’re watering your lawn deeply and infrequently, rather than frequently and shallowly.
Second, fertilize your lawn regularly to provide the nutrients it needs to thrive. There are some great fertilizers specificallyThird, aerate your lawn to improve soil compaction and allow air and water to reach the roots. Finally, consider overseeding with a new variety of Bermuda grass to help fill in any bare or brown spots.
Still Stumped? You may need to have a professional look at it
If you’ve tried all of the above steps and your Bermuda grass is still turning brown after mowing, you may need to have a professional look at it. A lawn care specialist can diagnose any underlying issues and provide tailored recommendations to help your grass thrive.
Frequently Asked Questions related to why Bermuda grass turns brown
Here are some often asked questions by folks who have issues around browning Bermuda grass after mowing.
When Should You Stop Cutting Bermuda Grass?
You should stop cutting Bermuda grass when it stops growing, typically in late fall or early winter.
So when you start to notice that there are little to no trimmings left over after a mow and you’re in the late fall, it’s probably about time to stop mowing.
Is it normal for Bermuda grass to be green on top but brown underneath?
It’s normal for the lower half of bermuda grass blades to brown, but it could be a sign of excessive thatch buildup or disease, and you should investigate the underlying cause.
Does bermuda grass need to be top dressed?
Bermuda grass benefits from topdressing with a thin layer of soil or compost to improve soil health and provide nutrients.
Can you water bermuda grass at night?
Watering Bermuda grass at night can encourage fungal diseases, so it’s best to water in the morning or early afternoon, which gives ample time for the sun to evaporate moisture from the blades. This can discourage fungal growth which tends to prefer moist, warm conditions.
Bermuda grass can turn brown after mowing for a variety of reasons, including dull mower blades, mowing too short, disease, thatch buildup, soil compaction, excessive shade, and pests. By following the tips outlined above, you can help prevent browning and ensure your Bermuda grass stays healthy and green.
Remember to sharpen your mower blades, fertilize regularly, and consider over-seeding with a new variety of Bermuda grass to help fill in any bare or brown spots. If you’re still stumped, don’t hesitate to call in a lawn care professional to diagnose any underlying issues.