Yellow grass ruining your lawn's looks? Here's how garden experts fix this summertime eyesore

Lawn experts explain how to avoid the dreaded yellow grass and what to do once you have it

a modern house with expansive lawn
(Image credit: Parsonson Architects Photo credit Paul McCredie)

Yellow grass seems to be spreading, everywhere you turn another patch has cropped up. Nothing stands out more than a sickly yellow lawn against a well-manicured border and a slick patio. It seemingly arrives out of nowhere for no apparent reason, with little understanding of why it occurs we have been left powerless against this invasion.

Thankfully there are more knowledgeable people out there who can shed light on how to prevent yellow grass, as well as how to treat it once it occurs. Yellow grass will be a thing of the past once you incorporate these techniques into your lawn care. Discover what these experts suggest to keep up with a luscious lawn without a hint of yellow.

What causes yellow grass?

There's a whole host of reasons your lawn might be looking a little yellow. 

'Yellow grass can be caused by various factors,' says the plant bibles gardening expert Zahid Adnan, 'nutrient deficiencies (particularly a lack of nitrogen), compacted soil, overwatering, and pest infestations can be the trigger.'

'Like any other plant, grass needs nutrients to thrive,' explains Bryan Clayton CEO of Greenpal, and while you might be thinking underwatering is the cause when looking at how to grow grass in hot, dry weather, it might also be the opposite.  'Improper water can also cause problems, both over and underwatering can cause problems,' he says.

The last reason is slightly unpleasant and uncontrollable. Dog Urine. 'This is something most people don't know, but dog urine is highly acidic and can cause yellow spots on lawns,' says Bryan. So if you follow all the right steps to keep yellow grass at bay but still find there are trouble spots, it's likely your dog is to blame.

How can I prevent yellow grass?

Prevention is always the best course of action in gardening, and yellow grass is no different. Getting rid of yellow grass once it arrives can be quite a process, so hitting it before it arrives is the ideal way to deal with the issue. 

'In my experience, regular maintenance in the form of mowing, watering, and fertilizing go a long way in maintaining a healthy, green lawn,' advises Bryan.

'Keeping grass at an appropriate height ensures better health and helps avoid yellowing,' agrees expert gardener Tony O'Neill. 

General maintenance is the top tip for preventing yellow grass according to experts, including proper irrigation that ensures your lawn gets a deep watering once or twice a week. 

Other than training your dog to do its business in one area, it is important to encourage aeration. 'Over time, soil can become compacted, especially in high-traffic areas. Regular aeration allows water, air, and nutrients to penetrate, promoting a healthier lawn,' explains Lawn expert Bryan. there are multiple ways to aerate your lawn, one is using a fork to penetrate and gently loosen compacted soils.

What do I do if my grass is already yellow?

The bit you've all been waiting for. If you weren't able to prevent yellowing grass and are now looking at a lawn littered with discolored patches this bit is for you. despite our previous assumptions, there are in fact ways to treat yellow grass that will reinstate your gorgeous green grass in no time.

'To address this issue, you should first identify the cause,' says Zahid. 'If it's due to nutrient deficiency, consider applying a balanced fertilizer with nitrogen,' he explains. 

Bryan echoes Zahid's suggestion. 'If you suspect a pest or disease is causing the yellowing, it's important to identify the exact issue and apply the appropriate treatment,' he says.

'The first step is to make sure your lawn is getting the right amount of water. On average, lawns need about one to one-and-a-half inches of water per week,' Bryan advises. Adjust your watering pattern accordingly to ensure you aren't over or under-watering.

Unfortunately, if it is your dog causing the issue there is little to do, other than rinse the area immediately once you notice what is happening to dilute the urine. 

Everything you need to maintain green grass

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.