How can I fix my yellow garden lawn?

Summer is here, and although sunshine is unreliable here in the UK it’s finally time to get outdoors and enjoy our gardens. But as you get out in your garden to BBQ, sunbathe and enjoy the British summertime you may notice your lawn is not looking it’s best.

Yellow or dry grass is a common problem with many different causes. Read on to learn what is troubling your lawn and what you can do to fix it.

1. Heat on Garden Lawn

Hot weather can quickly dry out your lawn and make it turn yellow. If this happens constantly it could be a sign that the root structure of the lawn is quite shallow.

How to fix this

Watering your lawn will bring back its colour however to tackle shallow roots you actually need to water less frequently to encourage your lawn to root more deeply. By watering thoroughly but less often the roots will grow downwards looking for additional hydration and as a result, be more able to withstand periods of drought. It’s best to do this early in the morning so that it reduces the amount of water that evaporates.

2. Dog Urine on Garden Lawn

Your dog may be your best friend but the same can not be said for your dog’s relationship with your garden lawn.

Nitrogen is important for green, healthy growth in garden lawn turf however too much of it can cause a lawn to yellow. Yellowing happens because the nitrogen burns roots and alters the pH balance of the soil.

Dog urine is the main cause of nitrogen-based lawn damage, although using too much fertilizer and not watering it deeply can also have a similar effect, as nitrogen is a component of fertilizer.

It will be obvious if dog urine is the cause as the yellow patches surrounded by greener borders are very distinctive.

All dogs that squat to urinate can cause significant grass burns as the urine is concentrated in one area. Male dogs tend to do less damage as they lift a leg and spread their urine over a wider area.

How to fix this

Fortunately, it’s usually a quick and easy fix to repair damage from dog urine – and if you wait long enough it can even resolve naturally on its own. Where there are areas of dead or dying grass: water the area deeply to flush out the extra nitrogen and salts from the surrounding soil.

3. Garden Lawn Diseases

Unfortunately, diseases affecting garden lawns are more common than people realise. If your garden turf is affected by a disease the telltale symptoms are a small yellow patch that keeps expanding into irregularly shaped patches.

How to fix this

If your lawn has been badly damaged by disease this can be one of the most difficult issues to resolve. You may need to completely renovate disease-ridden areas of the lawn with methods such as scarifying, aeration and over-seeding.

We have other guides with more detailed information on specific lawn diseases and general damage to your lawn:

How to reduce nectrotic ring spot
How to repair damaged turf

4. Lack of Nutrients for Your Lawn

One of the most common reasons for a lawn to turf yellow or brown is a lack of vital nutrients in the soil.

Garden lawn turf needs more than just water and sunlight – it also needs a mixture of nutrients to thrive.

How to fix this

Lawn fertilisers are the key to topping up your lawns nutrient levels, but be careful not to overdo it or you could risk damaging the roots with too much nitrogen.

It’s important to apply fertiliser all year round, a good system is to do it once per season following the manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Compacted Soil

If your garden lawn is discoloured is high traffic areas or where children play frequently the cause of the yellowing could be that the soil underneath your lawn has become compacted.

This prevents water from permeating the soil and getting to the roots, causing it to dry out.

How to fix this

The most straightforward way to loosen the soil is to prod it with a garden fork at regular intervals. If you have a large area with this issue or need to aerate the soil frequently you can get a specialised aerator to make the job easier for around £20-30.

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