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What can I do About a Yellow Lawn?

By N. Phipps
Updated May 16, 2024
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While a yellow lawn can be unsightly, it doesn’t have to be a problem. As is often the case, yellow spots in the yard can usually be solved. There are a number of reasons for a yellow lawn. Pinpointing the cause can quickly alleviate, even eliminate, difficulties with yellowing grass.

Seasonal temperatures can often trigger the yellowing or browning of grass, as it prepares for dormancy. Therefore, it helps to become familiar with the type of lawn grass you have. This makes it easier to determine if and when the grass will enter its dormancy period. Generally, warm-season grasses become dormant in late fall or winter. Cool-season lawns, however, may begin to fade in summer. To help minimize discolor associated with dormancy, overseed with another grass type.

Oftentimes, the soil is responsible for a yellow lawn. Poor soil contributes to a variety of problems, including nutrient deficiencies. It can also make grass more susceptible to pests and diseases. Amending the soil with compost can help alleviate many soil problems, from poor drainage to improper pH levels.

In addition to soil amendment, fertilizer may be necessary for repairing a yellow lawn. The most common factor associated with yellow spots in the lawn is a lack of nutrients, such as nitrogen. Additional nitrogen, applied correctly, can oftentimes restore yellow grass's natural green color. Iron deficiencies can also contribute to a yellow lawn. This can easily be corrected by adding iron supplements to the lawn.

Yellow grass can sometimes be the result of pests or disease. Insect pests, such as grub worm infestations, can play a part in the yellowing of grass or formation of brown patches in lawn areas. Diseases, such as yellow patch, can be detrimental to lawns. The best defense for solving these issues is prevention. In some situations, however, a yellow lawn may require reseeding or resodding to fix the problem.

Other factors that can lead to a yellow lawn can include excessive pet urine, especially from dogs. Flushing the area with water can sometimes help. Yellow spots in the lawn be the result of accidental spills as well, such as with chemicals or gasoline. Unfortunately, there’s little that can be done in these instances other than immediate flooding of the affected area with dish soap and water. Reckless lawn care, like mowing too close, can lead to yellowing grass. This can be fixed by practicing proper lawn care guidelines.

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Discussion Comments
By Deeboy — On Jun 12, 2012

Large sections of my lawn have died because I overused a weed killer. I am cutting out lasagna-like sod sections of the lawn and turning them over with the sod on the bottom and the dirt and roots on the top!

The weed killer bottle says a I can re-seed in a few days! Now the question is can I place the seeds over the old sod and fertilizer? Will the seed take?

By Mammmood — On Jun 03, 2011

@everetra - I’d be careful about overdosing your lawn with nitrogen or any of those turbo-charged “greenup” products. A little nitrogen is good but too much puts unnecessary strain and stress on the grass. And of course if you ever spill that stuff you will pretty much burn your lawn.

By everetra — On May 31, 2011

@Charred - I hear that there are some products that really green up your lawn. I think they have a lot more nitrogen in them than your typical fertilizer, and will give you green grass in short order. I have some yellow spots on my lawn and may give that stuff a try.

By Charred — On May 28, 2011

I used to have a yellow lawn, or rather a lawn that was not quite as green as it should be. I have Bermuda grass. I easily pinpointed the problem, however, because the fact is the only thing I had ever done to the lawn was water it and mow it.

So finally I applied some fertilizer, and it began to green up in short order, within a few weeks after we had some good showers. I plan on applying fertilizer every month for the rest of the summer to improve the lawn condition. I have to keep up with the Jones’ yard, after all.

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