One of the best things about summer is spending more time outdoors. The warm weather and sunshine brings everyone outside in droves to enjoy their luscious, green lawns. The last thing you want to deal with are yellow spots on the lawn. Unfortunately, the summer heat isn’t always to blame for these discolorations. There are several reasons a green lawn can turn yellow. What is important is to identify the cause of the yellow spots and correct it quickly to return your lawn to its healthy green condition.
Here are 6 common causes for yellow spots on your lawn along with solutions to fix them.
Soil issues are one of the most common causes for yellow turf in your lawn. These issues typically stem from a nitrogen deficiency but can also be related to a lack of other nutrients. These deficiencies can make the turf susceptible to pests and disease.
Soil issues can be corrected by:
- Amending the soil with compost. This helps fix poor drainage and pH levels in the soil.
- Adding fertilizer which replaces the nutrients that are missing.
- Adding nitrogen or iron supplements to regulate these nutrient levels.
There are several seasonal factors that can cause yellowing of your lawn. Cutting your grass too short leaves yellow or brown grass behind. A low mow should only be done on the first cut of the spring. Mower blades should be raised for all subsequent mows during the summer and fall. Iron deficiency is also a seasonal problem that can cause yellow spots. This often happens after a heavy rain causing the turf to grow faster than it can take in nutrients, making the grass turn yellow. Grasses in their off season can also turn yellow. Warm season turf will turn yellow in the fall and winter.
These seasonal issues can be corrected by:
- Avoiding cutting more than 1/3 of the grass blade when mowing.
- Overseeding your lawn with another grass type.
- Waiting until spring when warm season turf returns to its normal green growth season.
Some environmental factors can cause a lawn to turn yellow. Excessive dog urine, spilled gasoline and other chemicals, and a lack of a strong root system because of previous stress can all cause yellowing.
These environmental issues can be resolved by:
- Soaking areas with excessive urine with water or dish soap to help clean the staining substance off the grass.
- Encouraging the dog to use other areas of the lawn.
- Reseeding or resodding your lawn.
During the summer months several factors combine to increase the dryness of your lawn. Summer often brings drought conditions to many areas, leading to increased water rates on utility bills and water restrictions by local governments. This lack of watering can cause turf to dry out significantly. Decreased watering coupled with the excessive heat and full sun exposure can cause extreme stress to your lawn, causing it to turn yellow.
Dryness can be combated with:
- Watering more deeply and more frequently.
While the nitrogen deficiencies we mentioned earlier can cause yellowing of the lawn, too much nitrogen can have the same effect. Too much fertilizer (and subsequently too much nitrogen) can burn the roots of grass and change the pH of the soil. This makes the roots unable to take up water and nutrients they need to grow.
Overfertilizing can be corrected by:
- Always deeply watering in fertilizer when it is applied.
Diseases & Pests
Fungal diseases can also cause yellow turf. Some common fungal diseases include fairy rings, snow mold, fusarium, and smut. Insects can also damage grass causing yellow spots. Adult insects do not typically cause a problem; it is the larvae of the insects that will eat grass roots causing damage.
Diseases and pests can be avoided by:
- Using a fungicide in the spring combined with the healthy lawn care steps below.
- Using an insecticide or larvacide specifically formulated for the particular pest you are dealing with.
Steps To A Healthy Lawn
Once you have identified the source of your yellow lawn and corrected it, take these steps for lawn care that you can use regularly to keep your lawn healthy and green.
- Mow at the correct height for your turf.
- Use sharp blades on your mower and only mow when the grass is dry.
- Use the proper turf for your region and/or climate zone.
- Check the soil for deficiencies and add fertilizer or nutrients to enrich as needed.
- Have the lawn aerated; this loosens the soil to let more nutrients, oxygen, and water reach the root system.
- Thin out the trees so the turf gets plenty of sunlight.
- Rake up any excess grass clippings and fallen leaves.
- Fill in any low areas with dirt or sand; water can accumulate in these areas and cause disease.
- Improve drainage with the help of a professional lawn care company.