How to fix yellow spots on your lawn

Water conservation efforts, especially during summer months, can often lead to unattractive yellow grass. But there are several other reasons why your once beautiful lawn looks less than desirable now. Don’t despair though! We’ve got some tips to share that will have your lawn green and in tip-top shape in no time.

What causes the yellow spots in the grass?

In addition to dry weather conditions, here are some of the most common issues that homeowners battle to maintain a healthy yard.

  • Excess nitrogen. Sometimes less is better. That’s true when it comes to fertilizing your lawn. Over fertilizing will produce too much nitrogen, which upsets the pH balance of the soil and burns the roots of your grass. This can cause it to turn yellow. Be sure to heavily water your lawn after applying fertilizer.
  • Dog urine. As much as we love our four-legged best friends, their pee can do a number on the lawn! This is because their urine contains high levels of nitrogen. It’s probably best if you train Rover to go in another area, such as the garden.
  • Pests and diseases. Take a close look at your grass to see if you notice any insects or pests near the roots. This could be the source of your problem. Your yellow grass could also be the result of some type of fungal disease.
  • Heat and sunlight. Sometimes it’s just Mother Nature herself that’s the culprit. If your lawn receives direct sunlight all day long — in addition to extremely hot, dry weather – it can become stressed and dry out quickly. The result is a lawn that is now an eyesore.
yellow patch on lawn
Duntrune Studios/Shutterstock

How do I fix the yellow spots in my lawn?

There are many methods available to fix yellow grass. Here are some suggestions for you to try:

  • Make sure your trees allow plenty of sunlight to get to your lawn. You may need to consider pruning or thinning your trees.
  • Keep your lawnmower blades sharp and only cut your grass when it is dry. Also, check to make sure your blades are not cutting your lawn too low.
  • Use dirt or sand to fill any low areas in your yard that could be potential breeding grounds for disease. Improving the drainage in your lawn is also beneficial.
    Aerate your yard so the soil can receive more oxygen, water, and nutrients.
  • Rake up any leaves or grass clippings immediately after cutting your lawn. These are great places for unwanted pests to make their home.
  • And, of course, water your lawn carefully. If you water deeply (for about 10 minutes), you should not have to water your grass that frequently. A good indicator that your lawn needs water is cracks in the ground. That means water, water, water! The optimal time to water is between 6 and 10 a.m. before the hottest part of the day.
  • If dog urine is the problem, you can try soaking the affected area with water and a bit of dish soap. This should help remove the staining substance from the grass.
  • Performing a soil test is a good idea to determine what nutrients are missing in your yard. For example, if you see a large patch of clover, chances are your lawn is nitrogen deficient. If the grass near your sidewalk or driveway is yellow, you’re probably dealing with an iron deficiency. This is because concrete soaks up the iron in the soil around it.
  • In extreme cases of yellow grass, it’s probably best to start over and simply reseed your lawn in the fall. It could also be time to call in a lawn care professional.
yellow patch on lawn
Ihor Bondarenko/Shutterstock

Maintaining a healthy lawn

Once you’ve eliminated your lawn’s yellow spots, it’s time to think about maintaining a yard that will be the envy of your neighbors. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Feed your lawn regularly to keep it nourished and healthy. Just like with humans, a healthy lawn can fend off diseases and other maladies. Be sure to purchase the correct fertilizer for your soil and follow the recommendations listed on the bag. Organic fertilizers do a better job of improving the health of your soil over synthetic fertilizers. At the first sign of weeds, attack them in the early spring and summer before they develop deep roots.
  • Now that you have a beautiful lawn again, be sure you continue to water deeply and infrequently. A good rule of thumb is 1 to 1 ½ inches every week during the growing season. During hot and dry weather, increase your watering to 2 inches per week. Make sure you’re mowing your grass at the proper height. If your grass is too short, it becomes receptive to infection.
  • Do a soil test every three to five years and follow the recommendations.
    Aerate and de-thatch your lawn in the fall or spring. This will help prevent disease, pests, and compacted soil.

If you notice a few bare spots, go ahead and overseed with cool-season grass seed in the early spring or fall. Popular varieties include rye, fescue, or Kentucky bluegrass.

If you still have questions, talk to a lawn care expert in your area who can advise you on the correct grass care routine. They can help your put together a game plan so you can maintain a healthy lawn year-round.

Editors' Recommendations