You wake up one morning to find yellow spots on your lawn. You’re not happy.

Naturally, you want your grass green again, and fast. But what caused the problem?

What causes yellow grass? How can you fix it?

Photo credit: Grow Green from the City of Austin

There are lots of issues can make a healthy Central Texas lawn change color from green to yellow. Here is what we find most often:

Soil Issues

A lack of nutrients in the soil can lead to an unhealthy lawn. This also makes grass susceptible to pests and diseases, which cause the grass to turn yellow. In the spring, it’s typically a nitrogen deficiency.

A lawn expert can often detect the problem without lab-testing the soil’s composition. See some potential solutions below.


Soil Solutions

  • If soil issues caused your yellow lawn, you can amend the soil with compost. This can help fix problems such as poor drainage and proper pH levels.
  • Adding fertilizer can also help repair a yellow lawn. A good fertilizer product can replace nutrients missing in the soil, such as nitrogen. (For example, Emerald Lawns provides fertilizer treatments throughout the year. We match different fertilizers based on the season, temperature, and your lawn’s unique needs.)
  • Nitrogen or iron supplements can restore yellow grass to green.

Changing Seasons

Seasonal changes can lead a lawn to yellow.

  • Lawn scalping, or cutting the grass too short with a lawn mower, can leave only yellow or brown grass behind. A low mow should only happen that first cut of spring.
  • In the spring, St. Augustine can suffer disease when temperatures are in constant fluctuation.
  • Iron deficiency is another cause. Many times, with heavy rains, turf will grow faster than the turf can take up nutrients and causing some yellowing, similar to inflating a balloon.
  • In fall and winter, Bermuda grass can turn especially yellow, because Bermuda is a warm-season grass.

Seasonal Solutions

  • Avoid cutting more than 1/3 of the grass blade after your first cut of the year. Here is a list of proper mow heights by season/grass type.
  • If dormancy makes your grass yellow, you can try over-seeding with another grass type. Or wait until spring, when the grass will return to its growth-season green.

Other Causes

Yellow grass can also be caused by:

  • excessive dog urine
  • spilled gasoline or other chemicals
  • areas with past stress will exhibit yellowing more often if there is not a strong root system to handle seasonal stressors

Other Solutions

  • 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.
  • If your lawn is being mowed too low, kick your lawnmower up a notch. (Or ask your mowers to raise their machine’s height.)
  • In extreme cases of yellow grass, you may need to re-seed or re-sod your lawn.

Lawn Best Practices to Help Prevent a Yellow Lawn

To avoid yellowing grass, you can practice several healthy lawn habits.

  • Use dirt or sand to fill in your lawn’s low areas, where water can accumulate and breed disease. This way you can make sure your lawn is level.
  • Improve lawn drainage with help from a professional landscaping company.
  • Grow the proper turf grass for your region or climate.
  • Check your soil for deficiencies, and add fertilizer or nutrients to enrich your soil. (of course, we have a team on standby for you)
  • Always mow at the correct height for your grass.
  • Mow with sharp blades and only mow when grass is dry.
  • Have your lawn aerated with new liquid aeration. Aeration will loosen the soil and lets more oxygen, nutrients, and water reach your grassroots.

Need help with any of these techniques?

Want to have professionals caring for your lawn? Our team has an A+ Rated Profile on the BBB and has been controlling weeds and diseases on Central Texas lawns since 2006. We’ll come out for a free, no-obligation estimate. Just call Emerald Lawns today at 512-990-2199 or click here.

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