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Ah, the ever-elusive quest for the perfect lawn – a vibrant, lush carpet of green that would make even the pickiest garden gnomes beam with pride. But alas, you’ve been struck with the dreaded “Yellow Grass Syndrome,” and it seems that no matter what you do, your once-thriving lawn has transformed into a patchy, unsightly mess that even the most determined dandelion would think twice before calling home.
Grass turns yellow primarily due to nutrient deficiency, drought stress, or disease. The soil typically has less nitrogen, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and even moisture.
Fear not, my grass-loving compadres! As a seasoned lawn care expert of 15 years, I’ve seen it all – from Bermuda grass blues to fescue fiascos and everything in between. Throughout this blog post, I’ll guide you on a whimsical yet highly informative journey through the wild world of yellowing grass, leaving no stone (or sod) unturned.
Together, we’ll uncover the myriad reasons behind this grassy conundrum and arm you with easy-to-implement solutions and prevention steps to make your lawn look greener than a leprechaun’s wardrobe in no time. So, buckle up, grab your favorite gardening gloves, and prepare to embark on a light-hearted yet super informational adventure as we bring your lawn back to life with a touch of humor and a whole lot of know-how. Trust me, by the end of this post, even your grass will be ‘green’ with envy!
Main Reasons Why Grass Turns Yellow
There are many different causes why grass can turn yellow. From overwatering to nutrient deficiency to pets and pet attacks. I’ll go over each below and how you can get your grass green again.
Next are the main causes of yellowing in grass that you need to know:
Nutrient deficiency is a common cause of yellowing in the grass. Your lawn’s primary nutrients for good health include nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. Of course, iron, among other vital micronutrients, is also required in the right quantities.
If one of these nutrients is lacking, the grass on your lawn will likely yellow. Besides yellowing, nutrient deficiency also makes the grass have inconsistent growth that can be unsightly.
That said, soil tests must know which nutrient is missing. At this point, seek the services of a lawn care professional, and don’t just make assumptions.
Notably, nitrogen and iron deficiencies account for most problems of lack of enough nutrients in the soil. When the problem occurs in patches, that’s possibly an iron deficiency. If it’s the entire lawn, nitrogen is the big culprit.
Excess or Less Fertilizer Application
As much as it’s a textbook practice for lawn maintenance, fertilizer application might be the undoing. If applied in excess amounts, nitrogen fertilizers could burn the grass before it yellows and dies.
Excess nitrogen fertilizer increases soil acidity. What happens is that a pH imbalance that doesn’t favor proper lawn growth is created. Too much acidity leads to the yellowing of the lawn. In the end, areas that received excess fertilizer experience unpleasant yellowing spots.
In the same way, less fertilizer application means fewer nutrients are added to the soil, hence yellowing.
Excess Water in the Lawn (Overwatering)
The grass on your lawn can turn yellow due to over-watering. Too much water in the lawn leads to waterlogging conditions.
Under such conditions, the grass won’t have enough oxygen to respire, hence poor root development. If this happens, the grass won’t be able to uptake essential nutrients and water, and this causes yellowing.
If there’s too much water on the lawn, the likelihood of disease is high. Fungal infections are prevalent in conditions of excess moisture.
As I’ll explain later, lawn disease is another leading cause of yellowing. So you want to strike a good balance of water on your lawn.
Another cause of yellowing features damage to the grass by pests. Insect pests eat grass leaves and roots.
If these insects start feeding the grass from the base or roots, it yellows, turns brown, and eventually dies off. Common insects that cause this damage include grubs, clinch bugs, and armyworms. You need to scout the lawn and see if these insects are the problem. You can undertake simple DIY tests to determine whether they’re causing the issue or not and take measures to eliminate them.
Remember that some insects are tiny and can’t be easily seen. So, your inspection must be thorough when identifying such insects or bugs.
Sometimes, your grass could be yellowing due to a disease invasion. The big suspect when it comes to diseases in the lawn is fungi.
They cause leaf spots, fairy rings, mold, and smut on the lawn. Fungal infections thrive in wet conditions when the grass has too much moisture. Yet, this is a ripple effect of overwatering the lawn.
You need to water your lawn, especially in the dry season, but fungal diseases come on board if it’s overdone.
It’s important to note that fungal infections on the grass spread very fast. If not controlled in time, they could infect the whole lawn, which would mean a lot of work eliminating the problem.
As mentioned earlier, grass needs enough water to grow healthy and strong. If the supply of water is limited, there’s poor growth. Eventually, the grass becomes weak and unable to uptake nutrients efficiently.
Ultimately, it turns pale green and yellow, indicating inadequate water and nutrients. The rains may not be enough, especially in the summer when hot conditions prevail the most.
If these conditions persist and the grass isn’t receiving enough water, the grass becomes dehydrated. It then loses its greenish hue and turns yellow.
This means water is required to supply moisture for the grass. If you don’t water the lawn, it dies sooner than later.
Another likely cause for the yellowing of grass in the lawn is animal urine. Generally, animal urine has a lot of nitrogen compounds.
If your pouch and mules keep peeing on the grass every other time, the spots can eventually change color to yellow. Notably, the nitrogen in the urine increases acidity in the soil at that specific spot.
Lawn dormancy is yet a possible cause of this problem. As winter’s harsh freezing conditions and scorching summer conditions set in, the grass can switch into a ‘sleep mode’ to avert them.
The grass starts to yellow by lying dormant, keeping a low profile of growing activity limited to root growth. During this time, the grass uses water in measured quantities and efficiently to ensure it isn’t running dry.
Don’t stop watering if you notice this is the state of your lawn. If you cut off the water supply, you make it hard for your lawn to survive through harsh spells.
Soil compaction is another severe cause of yellowing in the lawn. It comes as a result of walking on the grass frequently.
When this happens, the soil particles are packed close to each other. This reduces soil porosity and aeration.
Roots find it challenging to penetrate the compacted soil. So, they don’t grow well to absorb essential nutrients. What happens from there is yellowing since grass won’t uptake these nutrients.
How Do You Fix Yellow Grass?
Fast forward, diagnosing the yellowing in your grass is super important before you implement any control measures. To solve the problem, you must be sure of it.
Sometimes if you find the diagnosis process difficult, you’re better with a professional. The lawn care professional may differentiate one cause from another and detect when the yellowing is from a single trigger or multiple ones.
Generally, these are the steps for fixing yellow grass:
- Add Suitable Fertilizers
If the problem is nutrient deficiency, get a good fertilizer and apply it. Fertilizer treatments must be carried out according to the instructions provided by experts and on the label.
Don’t over-fertilize the lawn. If you do this, you’ll make the problem even worse. Also, nutrients should be applied in the correct quantities. You must buy a fertilizer that suits the environment and the season.
If you don’t want synthetic fertilizer products for your lawn, you could engage with organic products like Milorganite Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer. This isn’t just a nitrogen fertilizer and contains essential iron and phosphorus.
- Slow Release, feeds up to 3 months
- Aids in root development
- Contains non-staining iron
- Fertilizer Analysis is 6-4-0
Organic fertilizers can spare your blushes. If you use the wrong application method, you may escape any consequences you usually get from synthetics.
Fertilizer applications should be made at the recommended rates. After applying it, ensure you water the grass to help the granules dissolve into the soil for plant uptake.
- Use The Right Amount Of Water
When applying water to your lawn, consider how much it goes into the process. Too little or too much can harm your lawn.
You need to water your lawn depending on moisture status. You don’t have to water the lawn if there’s enough moisture in the soil.
|Water requirements per week
|St. Augustine grass
Regular watering is required to avoid sunburn if there’s a severe drought. The best time to water is in the early mornings. Late evenings can be tricky given the accumulation of dampness and wet conditions at night.
- Control Lawn Pests And Diseases
Proper regular maintenance is the best way to prevent pests and diseases on the lawn. If you scout your lawn frequently, you can identify any budding pest problems like eggs in the grass.
To help your grass recover much quicker, address the pest and disease problems immediately. Once you see the symptoms, don’t waste more time but control them.
Primarily, suitable insecticides are used to control bugs such as chinch bugs. Ensure the insecticide you’re using to kill the harmful bugs is safe.
Good examples of these chemicals include Ortho BugClear Insect Killer for Lawns. Alternatively, you could use Talstar XTra Granular Insecticide. The two insecticides are excellent killers of chewing insects.
- Kill all listed bugs, including ants, ticks, armyworms, sod webworms,…
- Use on lawns, around a home’s perimeter, and on ornamentals, in…
- Fast-acting, kills above and below the ground, and creates a barrier…
- Apply using a Scotts Drop, SpeedyGreen, or EdgeGuard spreader, then…
- Provides up to 20,000 sq. ft. of coverage
Grubs are hard to control, though. But chemicals like Scotts GrubEx1 effectively eliminate them thanks to the chlorantraniliprole ingredient that’s friendly to the environment and safe for humans.
Fungal infections are much common on the lawn. These could be a brown patch, or grey spot, among others. To treat these conditions, ensure no damp conditions are on the lawn. Above all, apply suitable fungicides like DiseaseX and Spectracide Immunox Fungus Plus.
- Improve Lawn Drainage
Too much water in the soil can cause serious problems, as we have already seen in earlier sections of this post. It prevents root respiration, leading to poor root development. This means that your grass grows weaker.
If good drainage is implemented on the lawn, you’re less likely to see these problems. However, make sure to seek the services of a lawn care professional to help you with implementation.
- Regular Lawn Maintenance
The ultimate support you can give your lawn is to prevent the causes of yellowing. This can easily be achieved when frequent maintenance is enhanced.
Scout regularly for any potential issues. Check for nutrient deficiencies and use the right equipment to mow your lawn. You can aerate your lawn with aeration products to help compacted soil loosen up.
Any excess grass trimmings and leaves on your lawn should be removed. Keep the lawn as clean and free of foreign material as possible.
If there is any competition on the lawn, remove them. These could be common lawn weeds. They compete with grass for critical resources such as moisture and nutrients. Make sure to thin excess trees. This exposes the lawn to enough sunlight.
- Mow Grass With Sharper Blades
The grass can turn yellow right after you’ve mowed it, mostly during spring or autumn. This is widespread, and when you see it happen, check your mower blades because they’re blunt.
You can control this problem by sharpening the mower blades to get clean cuts.
- Use Professional Service
Some things can only be acceptable when using professional services. In that regard, getting a lawn care service provider can greatly help.
These are experts that can help on diverse issues that affect the lawn. They’ll spend time analyzing your lawn and even provide you with an actionable plan on how to care for it the best way.
If there are potential issues on your lawn, the lawn care expert can also help forecast them and give you appropriate advice.
Can Yellow Grass Become Green Again?
When your lawn turns yellow, it can be a huge letdown, especially if you don’t know how to handle the negative process. But can yellow grass become green again?
Generally, yellow grass can become green again if mitigation measures are implemented immediately during the initial stages. If you can reseed your lawn in the patched areas and adjust the watering regime to favor proper growth, your grass can become green again.
It doesn’t end there, though. Fertilize the lawn well and treat lawn diseases. You’ll be surprised after a few days because your lawn can regenerate and look green like before.
All these practices should be implemented as soon as you start seeing yellowing symptoms. So, don’t wait until the entire lawn is discolored. There’s a higher cost implication if you delay these amendments.
There’s something about mowing grass with sharper blades. For some reason, sharper blades leave neat cuts on the standing grass. This grass regenerates with great vigor. Blunt blades leave open injuries on the grass, making them vulnerable to infections.
So, making clean cuts allows the grass to grow greener. If you can get a reel mower to cut grass on your lawn, you’d get better cuts that eventually result in greener grass sprouting.
Is Yellow Grass Dead or Dormant?
It’s probably confusing when you see yellow grass on your lawn. Is the yellow grass dead, or is it just in some dormant state that will return to green sometime later?
Yellow grass isn’t necessarily dead, but it could be dormant. If the grass is dead, its color usually turns brown. Also, it doesn’t hold the upright posture of healthy grass.
The yellowing may only affect a few areas on the lawn. These patches may signal dying grass, more so if the entire lawn has been receiving standard uniform care.
However, the grass might be in a state of dormancy. Grass takes this state when surrounding conditions aren’t favorable for its growth. It could be due to limited water supply or nutrient deficiency, among other things.
All said, it’s essential to undertake tests to determine whether the grass is dead or dying or is just in a dormant state. You can try to perform the tug test. This is done by simply grabbing one strand of grass and pulling it.
If it comes out quickly, that grass is dead. If it provides a form of resistance, it somehow has life. That means it might just regenerate if watered and nourished well.
How Long Does Yellow Grass Take to Turn Green?
One of the biggest concerns for homeowners is how long yellow grass takes to start turning green. It doesn’t matter whether yellowing resulted from poor maintenance, insect damage, accidental chemical spills, lack of water, or lawn disease; many people want to be sure with timelines.
It would take one week or two for the yellow grass to turn green. However, you need to water the grass regularly if it’s a dry season and maintain the lawn without fail to see any changes.
The regeneration process may take more time than indicated above. Many factors can cause this, including temperature, day length, grass species, weather, and more.
Sometimes, you’re doing what’s required, but it doesn’t change. Probably the grass is dead and cannot grow again no matter what you do. In such cases, you’d better reseed with a suitable grass variety. Dead grass cannot grow again, so the best way is to plant new ones.
Is It Okay to Mow Yellow Grass?
The situation on the lawn can be harmful. To control such conditions, different people take different measures. Some can be soft, and others quite radical. But is mowing the yellow grass part of a great solution?
Well, check whether the grass can regrow before cutting it back. Sometimes, the yellowing can be reversed with the correct practices. Cutting the grass because it’s yellow isn’t the best way to go.
More often than not, yellow grass grows back into an appealing green color when proper remedies are taken. But it’s a gradual process you must exercise patience.
The entire process of making the grass green again has already been outlined in the earlier sections of the post. You’ll find them helpful.
Why Does Grass Turn Yellow After Rain?
Rain comes with too much water that creates saturated conditions in the lawn. With too much water and dampness, roots don’t breathe well to support plants.
In most instances, the roots rot due to a fungal attack. The result is yellow patches in the lawn, spreading on the entire lawn as time goes by. Carrying out proper drainage of the yard to reduce water levels can help.
Why Is My Newly Laid Turf Turning Yellow?
The newly laid grass is turning yellow because you’ve probably not watered it regularly. So, after installing it, make sure to water the little grass as soon as possible.
Be sure to follow the instructions of use regarding how frequently you’re supposed to water the new turf.
Why Is My Grass Turning Yellow in Winter?
The main reason why grass turns yellow in winter is dormancy. Some tolerant grass varieties can withstand winter conditions; hence turn yellow to conserve energy and put resources where they’re most needed – in the roots.
Once the winter season is off, the grass starts to grow green again. The main reason is the onset of better, more favorable conditions.
There are many reasons why your grass is turning yellow. From drought stress to nutrient deficiency and pests and diseases, yellowing in the grass is a word most homeowners are familiar with.
The process can be confusing when you don’t know how to differentiate one cause from another. However, careful diagnosis is needed to help you understand the exact trigger. You can implement proper methods to prevent further damage due to yellowing.
Even more, if you involve a lawn care professional, you may have fewer things to worry about.