For gardeners and landscapers, finding a yellow patch in the middle of your lawn can be horrifying. All that hard work you have put into nurturing a green and glorious yard, only to have parts of your grass turn crunchy and yellow!
Not to worry—though there might be unwanted patches where your grass has turned yellow, identifying the root cause and fixing the issue is actually quite straightforward. And once you know what the problem is, the steps to regaining a verdant, yellow-free lawn are doable by gardeners of any skill level.
Read on to find out why your grass might be turning yellow, and what methods you can use to solve the problem and prevent it from happening again!
Why Your Grass Is Turning Yellow And How To Fix It
In order to tackle a yellow grass issue, we must first ascertain the culprit behind the yellowing and the particular steps that need to be taken. Let’s take a closer look at the causes and remedies for grass turning yellow.
Step One: Identify The Cause Of Yellowing
Your first job is to figure out what is making your grass turn yellow. This can be caused by a myriad of things, but gardeners can typically narrow the culprits down to the top six causes of grass turning yellow.
If any of the following issues apply to your lawn and lawn care routine, it might be the root of your yellowing problems!
A top contender for causing yellow lawns is a fungal disease taking hold of your turf. There are a variety of potential fungal causes, including dollar spot, fusarium, and microdochium diseases, each producing a type of yellow patch in your lawn.
The key to identifying potential lawn disease is through taking a close look at the patch itself. Does it feel dry, crunchy, and appear uniformly yellow?
Or can you see variations in the discoloration and spores? The latter will alert you immediately to the presence of fungal lawn disease.
If your grass is struggling to get the proper nutrients it requires, it often results in yellowing and patchiness. This is primarily due to a lack of iron, nitrogen, or potassium, which are needed to keep the blades bright green and healthy.
Iron deficiencies will manifest in spots and yellowed patches within your lawn. It will also feel crunchy to the touch.
If your yard is low on nitrogen, the grass will appear to lighten in color until it is yellow, and you will notice a significant slowing in growth.
Lawns that require more potassium tend to be the easiest to identify. Each individual grass blade will turn yellow around the periphery, and subsequently, give your entire yard space a distinctive tinge of yellow.
If you became too vigorous in your fertilization process, you might have accidentally scorched your lawn. Too much fertilizer can lead to chemical burns that turn your grass yellow, which could be the cause of your grass turning yellow.
If you alter the pH of the soil too much with fertilizer, you risk a range of issues with the grass root systems, plant stalks, and the blades themselves. This will show up in large patches of yellowed grass after the fertilizer has had time to sink in and be absorbed by the soil and turf.
An invasion of bugs or other pests could also be to blame for your grass turning yellow. Between grubs and mature insects, the damage they do over their lifespan is incredibly harmful to turfgrass, and to the root systems in particular.
Because pests tend to feed off the roots of your grass and deprive it of nutrients, it results in noticeable yellow patches forming over the areas of serious infestations. Look out for the most common lawn pests, including sod webworms, ants, and bees.
Even the most conscientious gardener can sometimes inflict accidental damage to their lawn. Whether this involves spilling a chemical on the grass, mowing it too short, or allowing the dog to do its business on the lawn, even a small thing can hurt the grass.
While it might be tempting to water your grass often to keep it healthy, it can actually have the opposite effect. You can accidentally remove the oxygen supplies in the soil by waterlogging the grass.
This causes the roots to become shallow, as they cannot gain a good enough hold on the spongy soil, and the entire turf will face a lack of nutrients and oxygen, leading to yellowed grass with thin and drooping leaf blades.
Step Two: Fix The Problem
Now that you have figured out the root cause of your grass turning yellow, it’s time to address the issue. Using this list of the most common reasons for the discoloration, the following are some easy steps to take to combat your yellowing yard problem.
Treat The Diseases
If your yard is suffering from a fungal disease of some sort, it will need to be treated properly to eliminate the issue.
Any reliable, commercial fungicide will generally do the trick, and can be found at your local hardware store or garden center. These sprays can be specially formulated to deal with particular diseases, such as grey spot, rust, and others.
However, do be cautious when using these fungicides, as they can be toxic to children and pets. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use, and store the product securely, away from high traffic areas where there is a risk of accident or spillage.
Test The Soil
If you suspect that your yard is suffering from nutrient deficiencies of some kind, the best way to ascertain what element is lacking is by testing the soil. You can find these tests at your local garden center, as well as supplements that you can simply water into the sod.
Overfertilization is easy to do, but thankfully, it is also simple to correct. You should only be fertilizing the yard when it is necessary, which doesn’t need to be done as often as some might expect—even fertilizing the lawn just twice a year might be sufficient.
In addition to calculating your fertilizer schedule, you can prevent a mass dump of nutrients into the soil after each application by changing to a slow-release formula. These fertilizers are ideal for long periods of grass nourishment, without overloading the roots or the soil.
Once pests have worked their way into your lawn, they need to be dealt with quickly so the rest of your yard and garden do not get invaded as well.
Treating pests in your grass can be easily accomplished by using a variety of insecticides, including formulas that specifically target lawn pests like armyworms, cutworms, sod webworms, and many other species.
If you select a non-toxic insecticide that won’t harm the surrounding grass or other plants, you can continue to use it for garden applications if the pests have spread past the edge of the grass.
If your lawn seems to have been damaged by mowing, spillage, or pet waste, you can put proper lawn care practices in place to prevent it from happening again.
For example, avoid mixing chemicals or other harmful substances on or near your lawn. If they spill and travel onto the grass, the roots will soak up the solution very quickly.
Or, if you have pets that cause yellow patches because of their urine, try finding an alternate way to incorporate toilet breaks into your landscaping. You can also purchase lawn seed filler that works to reinvigorate small yellow patches caused by pet urine.
Additionally, you should always make sure that your lawnmower blades are at the proper height for the type of lawn you have, and that they are always sharp. Blunt blades can scalp the grass and damage its ability to photosynthesize effectively, leading to yellowing and nutrient deterioration.
Deal With Drainage
If waterlogging is your issue, you can address it in a few different ways. First, try cutting back on the watering in that particular area. Only water in the morning, when the soil is best able to absorb the moisture and will dry excess water in the afternoon sun.
Typically, lawns are happy to be watered around 2 or 3 times weekly, or an amount equal to one inch of water each week. You will notice if the grass looks like it requires hydrating— it’s always easier to add more water to the soil than to try to take it back out!
Two more tips for dealing with waterlogged turf include more frequent scarification and aeration, both of which are techniques for optimizing lawn drainage. You can do this by yourself by renting the necessary tools, or you can hire a good landscaper to address the issue.
Yellow grass is the perennial bane of the gardener. But with the right methods, you can combat the problem right at the root! But before you head to the yard and address your grass, let’s take a moment to recap the information.
How Do I Fix Yellow Grass?
Even if your lawn has turned yellow, there is still hope for a return to lushness. Fixing yellow grass essentially requires you to figure out the cause and reverse the effects.
This can take the form of watering less, fertilizing more, or even adjusting the blades on your lawn mower. And in most instances, the treatment options discussed earlier are some great ways to begin fixing your yellowed grass!
Why Is My Grass Turning Yellow?
Yellowing grass can be caused by a variety of things. Grass can be surprisingly fragile, so problems such as disease or pests, nutrient disruption, overwatering, and others are all highly disruptive to your grass’s health and physical appearance.
In problem-solving for what could have affected your yard enough to yellow it, it’s important to remember that human error can play a part. Perhaps you were too vigorous with the watering schedule, or the lawnmower blades were too low.
But once you have figured out the issue that turns your grass yellow, it will be easy to remedy and prevent in the future.
Can Grass Recover After Turning Yellow?
Luckily, your grass can absolutely recover after yellowing! In most cases, the cause of grass turning yellow is easily remedied, such as adjusting your watering schedule or altering the amount or type of fertilizer.
Even lawn problems that are more invasive such as pest infestations or fungal diseases are able to be remedied effectively, and after repair can turn your yellow grass back to green.
However, if you are dealing with a soil issue, such as unbalanced pH or compaction, it can take more time for the grass to return to its original, vibrant color.
Does Overwatering Turn Grass Yellow?
If your grass starts turning yellow after you have amplified the watering schedule, then overwatering can be the cause. Too much water in the soil from a garden hose, sprinklers, or runoff will cause the grass to yellow and become nutrient-deprived.
Overwatering the grass not only turns it yellow, but also can cause deeper damage. Because saturating the roots too much causes a lack of oxygen in the plant itself, the grass’s ability to protect itself is redacted and it becomes susceptible to fungal diseases and insect invasions.
How Do I Fix Yellow Grass In The Summer?
Outside of underlying issues with the soil or the health of the turf itself, grass will commonly turn yellow or brown over the course of the summer.
This might not be caused by anything necessarily wrong—depending on your location, it might just be the summertime heat and possible arid conditions that cause such a transformation.
To fix a baked, yellow lawn in the summer, try supplementing your normal watering schedule and opting for a less frequent, deeper irrigation routine. You can also get nutrient supplements such as iron, potassium, and nitrogen that will elevate the minerals in the soil and help feed the grass right at its roots.
Even if you may be faced with unseemly patches of yellow in your yard, fear not—they can be overcome! In fact, by questioning the root cause and figuring out why your grass is turning yellow, you can discover any underlying issues within your yard and the soil itself.
From overwatering to pests, dog pee to nitrogen deficits, grass turning yellow is not a death sentence for a green lawn, and can be remedied quite easily!