Why Does Grass Turn Yellow

It’s easy to assume that lawn illnesses are to blame for your yellowing grass. Of course, that is true sometimes, but in others, incorrect lawn care practices cause yellowing. Your grass turning yellow in small places could be because of several factors. Frost burn is the most prevalent cause of yellowing tips, but any dog pees, over-fertilization, and over-watering can also cause it.

If you follow a decent lawn care routine, you may expect your grass to grow into a thick, rich green lawn. Instead, however, you find your lawn looks unsightly as you see it turn yellow and wonder how to remedy the situation.

It can take effort if you have been overwatering, your grass has fertilizer burn, or nutrient deficiency, not to mention the other issues that can turn a lush green lawn yellow.

Common reasons for Yellow Grass

In our guide, you can learn more about what’s causing yellow spots in grass, be it your doing or another factor. By the end, you’ll see how to fix yellow patches in grass before you need to consider laying new sod. You’ll see how to deal with most lawn diseases and quickly have healthy grass again. (Read Will Grass Spread To Bare Spots)

What Causes Yellow Grass

There are lots that can make a healthy lawn change from green to yellow. Here’s a quick overview of common reasons for yellow spots on your lawn.

Soil Issues

  • Insufficient soil nutrients might cause a sick lawn such as dollar spot. This makes grass prone to pests and illnesses that cause yellowing. Springtime nitrogen deficiency is common.

Soil Fix

  • You can correct yellow lawns by adding compost to the soil. This can help with drainage and pH issues.
  • Fertilizer can help a lawn from turning yellow, as a good fertilizer replenishes soil nutrients like nitrogen or iron to turn yellow grass green.

Changing Seasons

Season Solutions

  • After your first cut, don’t cut over 1/3 of the grass blade. Mow heights by season and grass type.
  • A yellow lawn can be fixed by over-seeding with different grass varieties. Or wait until spring, when the grass will turn green again in the spring.

Causes for yellow grass

Yellow grass can also be caused by:

  • An excess of dog urine
  • Spilled chemicals
  • Areas with past stress (foot traffic, drought stress, or others) exhibit yellowing more often as the root system may not handle such stressors.

Solutions to fix yellow lawn

  • If dog urine or spills cause the grass to change color, try soaking the area with water or a little dish soap. These alone may help clean the staining substance off the grass.
  • In extreme cases of yellow grass, you may need to re-seed or re-sod your lawn.
  • Ensure you are watering correctly, and if you have an excess of foot traffic, add a pathway of stepping stones.

Best Practices to Help Prevent Yellow Grass

Several good lawn habits might help you avoid yellowing grass.

  • Fill low parts of your grass with dirt or sand to prevent water from accumulating.
  • Improve the drainage of your yard.
  • Grow turfgrass that is appropriate for your region and environment.
  • Check for deficiencies in your soil and replenish them with fertilizer or nutrients.
  • Always mow your lawn at the proper height and use sharp blades when your grass is completely dry.
  • Grass clippings should be short as not to smother your grass and cause thatching or lawn diseases.
  • Have you had your lawn aerated to allow more oxygen, nutrients, and water to enter the root zone in early summer to help prevent lawn fungus?

Why Does My Grass Turn Yellow So Fast?

When you wonder why is my grass turning yellow, you’ll often find nutrient deficiencies cause yellow lawns, and while you can add nutrients, you can easily add too many. (Learn How Long To Water Lawn With Oscillating Sprinkler)

Here is a bit more detail of why grass turns yellow because it isn’t only too much fertilizer and other nutrients causing issues or lawn diseases.

Over Fertilizing

Lack of can cause similar issues to too much fertilizer and make grass yellow. Fertilizer burn is the most common symptom for grass turning yellow.

While you may be trying to fix a nutrient deficiency, it’s easy to go the other way and add too much, and there, your leaf blades can’t consume all the nutrients, and grass shows signs of yellowing.

Synthetic fertilizers are the common types that lead to chemical burns. It is better to do a soil test to determine the nutrients your lawn lacks or the soil pH. Iron deficiency is common, and you can quickly get an iron supplement for your lawn.

Too much nitrogen leads to excess nitrogen salts and thus leaf scorch.


  • Remove any remaining excess fertilizer.
  • Ensure there’s enough water in the area to dilute the effects of leaf scorch.
  • If the over-fertilized grass has died, replace it with new grass.
  • Maintain the grass like you would for the rest of your yard.
  • Use slow-release fertilizer so your grass gets what it needs over time rather than all at once.

Dog urine spots turn Yellow Grass

Dog Urine

Let’s start with a well-known offender. It can be frustrating if your dog or neighbor’s dog pees and creates dog urine spots. It doesn’t take long to see the grass eventually turn yellow. Salt is found in dog urine, and in high concentrations, salt kills grass.

It may not happen immediately, and once winter has gone and snow melts in the spring, you see most of your grass green except for where dogs pee. You can see this as a form of snow mold, although it does differ. (Read Ironite Vs Milorganite)


  • Remove dead grass.
  • Work the exposed soil.
  • Apply generous amounts of gypsum, and work into the top two inches of soil to act as a dog urine neutralizer.
  • Flush with plenty of water as quickly as possible to get the gypsum deep into the soil.
  • Once your soil is workable, overseed your yellow lawn using a quality grass seed mix.

Soil Compaction

Compacted soil leads to various lawn issues: vehicles, foot traffic, and even lawnmowers taking the same path to contribute.

Compaction reduces pore space in the soil, preventing grassroots from spreading and absorbing water, nutrients, and oxygen. As a result, the grass quickly suffers, and you’ll end up with yellow lawn grass blades that are flattened as a result.


When the soil is moist, not wet, aerate it as coring tines penetrate deeper. Make many rounds through the yellow grass blades and poke as many holes as you can.

  • Aerating won’t harm your grass, so carry on until you have at least 12 holes per square foot.
  • Carefully break up soil cores and work them into your grass after drying.
  • Re-seed the area with a high-quality seed mix appropriate for your climate and site.
  • If you have a yellow or brown patch from this poor soil condition, you can add a top dressing of weed-free soil or compost.
  • Once your lawn grass seed germinates and grows, water lightly and often.

Spilled Chemicals

One way to get major yellow spots on your lawn is to drop weed killer or mower gasoline on it by accident. Many can damage your grass, but you can prevent too much grass turning yellow if you act quickly enough. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Clover In Lawn)


  • If possible, use a very absorbent material like kitty litter, sawdust, or calcined clay to soak up any remaining liquid on the surface. Place them in a plastic bag and dispose of them.
  • You may be tempted to water your lawn to weaken the solution. Don’t do this as you spread the chemical over a larger area.
  • Dig out any contaminated soil between six to ten inches.
  • Backfill the hole using weed-free soil.
  • Re-seed your lawns using the same methods as before.

Grub infestation on Grass

Grubs and Insects

Yellow grass can be caused by grub infestation as the larvae stage of many beetles eat away at grass roots. Other insects, such as chinch bugs and sod webworms, feed on grass blades rather than roots, killing grass from above.

Grubs and surface-feeding insects can quickly turn lawns yellow when you have a severe infestation.


  • If left untreated, grubs can inflict severe damage. So, early in the summer, use prophylactic insecticide to keep them at bay.
  • Chlorantraniliprole-based grub control treatments work well and are pollinator-friendly, meaning they won’t harm bees, butterflies, or other beneficial insects.
  • It’s difficult to see tiny insects, so cut the bottom out of an empty coffee can and push it into the grass. Fill the can with water and a few drops of liquid dishwashing to allow the water to sink into the soil quickly.
  • Bugs float to the surface of the remaining water in the can as the soapy water soaks into the soil of the lawn. The number of bugs you see can show if you have a significant insect problem on your lawn or not.

Lack of Nitrogen

Your lawn needs to be fed, and signs of lawn turning yellow mean it may be hungry. Nitrogen takes your grass from pale green to make your lawn green, so it is essential. However, too much of a good thing, so


Use a lawn food that offers the right amount of nitrogen content yet is slow release. In addition, you can find some mixes containing iron to help turn your grass green.

Milorganite Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer can green up a lawn if you prefer an organic approach.

It is worth noting that Milorganite contains phosphorus, and some states prohibit such lawn fertilizers. Before applying any lawn fertilizer containing this, check in your state of any local regulations.


Over-watering or under-watering can cause issues. Too much water and you can have root rot, which leads to fungal diseases, or lack of water leaves your lawn grass scorched from the sun and heat.


Using a water irrigation system or timed sprinklers means you can water to the exact amount without chances of over-watering your lawn.

Why Does Grass Turn Yellow

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