The fix for yellow grass is entirely dependent on the cause. Your yard may need more fertilizer or water, or it may be getting too much. The problems could be caused by animals or over-use. Here are a few reasons your grass may be turning yellow and what to do about it:
Too Much Fertilizer or Fertilizing Incorrectly
If you think you've been taking wonderful care of your yard, providing plenty of fertilizer, water, and regular mowing, you may be thunderstruck when your yard turns yellow. However, all of your careful attention may actually be the cause of the problem.
Fertilizing too much increases the nitrogen content in your grass, making it impossible for your grass to properly absorb other nutrients. Excess nitrogen can also change the pH of the soil, killing the roots.
Even if you're using the correct amount of fertilizer, you are still likely to have problems if you are not fertilizing correctly. Fertilizer must be thoroughly washed into the roots of the grass. If you only briefly water or don't water at all after fertilizing, that could be causing the problem.
Using the right kind of fertilizer is essential. Use a fall lawn fertilizer in the fall and a spring and summer fertilizer during those months. Unless you live in a very hot climate where there is little change between the seasons, you likely will not need to fertilize during the winter.
Using the right kind of fertilizer for the season helps to protect the lawn from damage and keep it from getting too much nitrogen at the wrong time.
If you're noticing yellow spots instead of overall yellowing, animal urine may be to blame. If you have a dog who urinates in your yard, the chances are even higher. Even if you don't have a dog, other types of animals like possums or raccoons may be regularly urinating in your yard and causing nitrogen spots.
You can tell whether spots of yellowing are caused by excessive nitrogen from urine because there will be a brighter green circle around it where the nitrogen from the urine is feeding denser grass. If you are having damage from animal urine, train your dog to pee in a designated area or prevent wildlife from getting into your yard.
Hot Weather and too Little Water
Hot weather and drought are classic causes of yard yellowing. Grass begins to die without enough water in the heat, causing it to turn yellow. Without sufficient water, it will turn brown and die.
Many areas have restrictions on how much water you can use to water your lawn. Watering early in the morning before the heat of the day and using a low watering system instead of overhead sprinklers can reduce the amount of water it takes to keep your lawn healthy. You may also consider adding moisture-holding components to your soil so that the water lasts longer.
Grass will yellow if it gets too much water or is waterlogged. Compacted areas that allow water to stand around the roots will kill the roots. The soil may hold water or compact, killing grass.
If your soil has high clay content or is dense and compacted from lots of foot traffic, this may be the problem. If you notice yellow spots in the lowest areas of your yard, over-watering may be the culprit. Consider aerating your yard or using a product to chemically loosen the soil to prevent yellowing due to over-watering and poor drainage.
Grass is a very robust plant. Most of the time, it can be saved even when it has started to yellow. However, in some cases, it will be too far gone.
The only way to tell whether you can save your yellow grass is to begin treating the problem and see if you see a recovery. Often, even if part of the grass does die off, the rest will be able to re-sod the area.
If you're having a party or trying to sell the house, you may not want to wait around for the solution to your yellow grass problem. If you want a fast fix for yellow grass, it's important to address what's causing the problem and get started fixing it immediately.
If the grass is extensively yellowed or you believe the problem is in the soil, it may be best to tear out the yard and address the problems with your soil before resodding. If only certain areas are yellow due to drainage issues in the yard or urine spots, removing those patches of grass, address the issue, and resod or planting grass plugs.