Prevent and Fix Yellow Patches on Grass

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Unsightly yellow patches can ruin the look of any lawn. There are plenty of myths about what causes these ugly, dead patches. Here are some of the real reasons you may get patches, and several ways you can fix them to get your lawn looking lush and green again.

What Causes Yellow Patches?

When yellow patches appear in your grass, dryness is often the culprit. Try watering your grass more often to see if this clears up the problem. Adjust your sprinklers or the way you water the grass using a garden hose. The yellow patches should clear up quickly if dryness is the problem. If you don’t notice a change within two weeks, a different lawn problem may be causing these ugly patches to show up on your lawn.

If underwatering isn't to blame, get a pH kit to test your soil. These are simple and easy to use DIY kits that can be purchased at any home or garden store. Yellow patches can be an indication that you have too much nitrogen in your soil. Confirm it with a pH test that can show you the balance of main soil nutrients in your yard. Make sure you test soil under one of the yellow patches.

yellow patches on grass

Dog urine can add excess amounts of nitrogen to your soil and create yellow patches as well. If the yellow patches are appearing in spots that are frequently being visited by your pet, these areas need extra care and attention.

Fertilizer is a simple fix when your soil pH is imbalanced. Water deeply after applying fertilizer. You can add fertilizer to the entire lawn or focus just on areas with yellow patches. Too much fertilizer can also cause yellow patches to occur, so don't overdo it.

Preventing Patches

Sometimes, yellow patches are an indication of disease. Several types of fungal diseases can cause yellow patches to occur. Rake back some of the yellow grass and see if you can spot anything that looks like it may be a fungus. The area can be immediately treated with fungicide to kill the bacteria and restore health to your lawn.

There are several ways to prevent fungal growth in your lawn that can lead to yellow patches. Dethatch your lawn and aerate it to keep it healthy and prevent fungus. If you see any fungus in your lawn, it’s a good idea to dethatch and aerate the entire yard because that means you’re probably overdue for this maintenance. All grass develops thatch over time. This is a thick undergrowth that can prevent water from reaching your soil. Dethatching rakes can be used to remove this growth.

dethatching rake gloves and boots on lawn with dried grass

Fungus likes moisture and thrives in places where water collects and does not drain well. If you have areas where water tends to stand in your lawn, improve the drainage by aerating your soil. Water in the early morning rather than later in the day, so the water won't sit on your lawn overnight. Keep your lawn free of clippings, leaves, and sticks so moisture doesn't get trapped.

Loving Your Lawn

Treat yellow patches as soon as they appear in your yard and correct the problem that’s causing these patches.

With regular maintenance and good ongoing care, you can prevent yellow patches. Keep your lawn aerated and dethatch it once every year or every few years. Water it well, fertilize it once a year and keep an eye out for any problem areas that need extra treatment. As long as you do this, your lawn will continue to stay green and look beautiful.

Don't forget about human and animal interference. Train pets to use the bathroom in multiple spots, rather than going to the same one or two spots all the time. Try to keep foot traffic on paved areas. Yellow patches can appear in areas that experience heavy walking and may an indication that a new walkway or path is needed.

Keep taking care of your lawn and it will keep looking beautiful.