Is that patch of brown getting you down?

If your yard is feeling a bit heat-stressed, follow three simple steps to return your lawn to its happy place.

July 27, 2019 | By: Jessica Kirk

It’s natural to have a few brown spots in your yard during the peak summer months.

Really. It’s OK.

Those summertime blemishes are symptoms of heat stress, and a signal for you to adjust your watering habits.

Use a nozzle if you see a brown spot that needs a little extra TLC.
Use a nozzle if you see a brown spot that needs a little extra TLC. Photo credit: Denver Water.


If you’re feeling wiped out by our recent heat wave, chances are your irrigation system is facing the same exhaustion.

At Denver Water, we don’t even need to turn on the weather report to know what’s going on outside. When it rains, we watch water use plummet. When we hit a string of 90-plus degree days, (16 in the last 30 days) we see irrigation systems working harder.

But working harder doesn’t necessarily mean being smarter. So we turned to our friends at the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado for some watering tips to help quell a heat-stressed yard.

Tip 1: Inspect your yard and irrigation system.
Perform this simple screwdriver test to ensure your yard is getting enough water — especially in the brown areas. Next, visually inspect your irrigation system and adjust your sprinkler heads so they are firing at full pressure and are aligned to cover all areas of your yard. Learn about head-to-head coverage in just 15 seconds. If you don’t have an irrigation system, or need to replace your existing system, we recommend installing a WaterSense-labeled smart sprinkler controller. Denver Water offers up to a $100 rebate for qualifying models. Scared of operating your controller? Take a trip to the Twilight Zone to help ease your mind.

Sprinkler iStock
We offer rebates for qualifying high-efficiency sprinkler nozzles. Photo credit: iStock.


Tip 2: Swap out non-efficient sprinkler heads.
Take advantage of our $3 rebate per sprinkler head and replace them with eligible rotary/high-efficiency nozzles. Rotary/high-efficiency nozzles fit most pop-up spray heads and provide better coverage and larger droplets, helping reduce brown spots in your yard. See how rotary nozzles out-spin the competition in this short video.

Tip 3: Give them a hand.
If temps remain high for a few days, hand-water those brown spots to give them some extra TLC. Avoid running the entire sprinkler system longer just to deal with problem areas because that wastes water and adds to your water bill. Don’t forget to use a shut-off nozzle on your hose to avoid unnecessary watering.

Remember, watering too much does not make brown spots go away. Brown spots can also be signs of grass-sickness, such as necrotic ring spots or ascochyta, both attributable to over-watering.

Learn more from a certified landscaping professional at the ALCC website.

Keeping your lawn healthy and happy is a responsibility that requires constant attention and adjustments, from properly installing and upgrading your irrigation system to keeping up with the routine maintenance,

Have no fear! Visit for more tips, including rebate information.

2 thoughts on “Is that patch of brown getting you down?”

  1. I like your tip about hand watering these types of things. The only thing that I would suggest is not to do this too often if you don’t have to. Your time really is money, and the automatic sprinkler system that you are paying for is meant to rid you of the manual work. Thank you for all of the applicable information!

  2. Another idea is to check the ground underneath the brown spot. With the amount of clay in this region and the propensity of builders to use the cheapest means possible when “landscaping” the yard, there is a good chance the clay has been pushed up through the topsoil over time and is baking in the summer heat (think clay pots and a kiln in grade school art class). Having a tool to “break up this clay while adding better soil and moisture to the area your break up will help, as well as using Revive monthly. I find a simple 1/2” metal rod and hammer do the trick. Just be aware of your sprinkler head and line placement. Finally, raise the mower at least 1/2” inch in the summer months. This allows the grass to shade itself, lessening the suns effect and need for more water as the grass will retain more moisture for a longer period of time.

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