The hot weather can dry your lawn out and make it turn yellow at certain times during a year, making it unsightly – even if you have a stylish garden with beautiful plants and outdoor rattan garden furniture. This could potentially happen in just a few days, depending on the type of grass you have and the temperature.
This could also show that past overwatering has given your grass shallow roots.
But how do you repair it?
Get out and give your lawn a deep water. It is best to reduce the amount of water when it gets hot later in the day as it evaporates early in the morning. If you have sandy soil, you might need to water it more but you should look to soak the top 4-6 inches of soil. If you need to check how far you’ve gone, use a screwdriver to see how far down the soil gets wet.
Common problems relating to yellow grass
Watering your lawn too much will mean the roots won’t be able to cope if the soil gets drier.
To avoid this, if it is forecast to rain, don’t water your lawn, and certainly don’t do it every day, if it is forecast to rain. Grass that needs water will start to turn a blue-green colour, rather than the lush green you’re used to. You should also notice that your footprints will also stay visible for longer after you’ve walked on it.
In short: water thoroughly but infrequently.
Does your grass look yellow? This means it is lacking in nutrients like iron and nitrogen, then it will start to look yellow. A soil-test kit will be able to tell you if your soil is short of a particular nutrient, and you can then buy the appropriate garden feed to fix the problem. Remember to always follow the instructions – over fertilizing your lawn can do more harm than good.
If you use too much fertilizer can cause the grass to get scorched and can do even more damage than under-fertilizing! The nitrogen in fertilizer is required for healthy grass growth, but too much of it and the roots will burn due to the pH in the soil.
Give the grass a long, deep watering, which can help flush the fertilizer through the soil and away from the grass roots. Focus on the areas that look damaged as opposed to the whole thing. Keep repeating the process every few days until the grass recovers. Again, try a soil test kit to avoid over fertilizing.
If you have a dog or local cat that visits your garden, urine contains nitrogen which burns the grass, so this could explain the yellow tinge. Train your dog to only urinate on the non-grassy areas. If the animal is not yours, good luck stopping it.
Other top tips
- Thin out hedges or trees that may be blocking any light – it’s imperative the grass gets plenty of sunlight.
- Be sure to rake up any fallen leaves and grass clippings. These can become a home for pests and insects that can eat the roots of your grass and damage it.
- To give the grassroots can get the oxygen and nutrients they need, make sure you aerate your lawn, and ensure that water is draining from your garden properly.
- Ensure your lawnmower blade is always sharp, otherwise, the grass will be being ripped out rather than cutting it cleanly, and ripped grass is more likely to go yellow
Once it’s sorted and looking good as new, you are set to cut the grass. Set the blades at about 1¼in (3cm). In dry conditions raise your mower blades up to 1½in (3¾cm) or more – this is because longer grass stays greener. Tip any grass clippings you have leftover on to your compost heap which you need for home with a larger lawn.
To achieve traditional stripes, rather than using a rotary mower, use a cylinder mower with a roller on the back. If you have a rotary mower and your grass is tough and springy, mow it again at a right angle. This will make sure any odd, sticking-out bits that sometimes spring back up after the mower has passed over are gone.
If persistent bad weather has meant the water goes down at least 6 inches deep, you could use a feed to give the grass a quick green-up. Liquid feed tends to be the best since the nutrients are already in the easiest form for the grass to take up. Liquid lawn feed needs diluting and applying through a watering can fitted with a hose, which is fine for smallish areas. Otherwise, there are several soluble feeds that can be applied using a dilutor that fits on to the end of your hose.
Feeding the lawn won’t only make it greener, it also makes it grow faster, so you need to be ready for frequent mowing – at least for a while. To maintain the improvement in the color of your lawn, you will need to repeat the treatment every four to six weeks throughout the summer if the soil is moist enough. However, never risk feeding a lawn when the ground is dry or if the grass looks a tad tired due to drought. This will only make it even more browned-off.
To break it down by season, here is what you need to do and when:
Spring: mow with the blades set as high as possible, lowering them to a summer height of 1¼in (3cm). Treat any moss and then rake it out or use lawn moss-killer products in March or April, depending on the weather. Between late April and the end of May apply a spring-and-summer or slow-release lawn feed. Use a combined lawn feed and weed product if necessary. Mow the lawn once or twice weekly depending on the growth rate; use a grass box. Raise the cutting height of the blades by a half an inch in hot, dry weather. Avoid feeding lawns in dry conditions, although regular liquid/soluble feeds will maintain the color if the soil is thoroughly moist.
Autumn: before starting any annual maintenance tasks wait for wet weather to subside. When it has, cut the grass twice in opposite directions, then rake it well by hand to remove creeping stems, dead stalks and moss. You can do this by using a manual or mechanical lawn rake. Apply autumn lawn feed then a thin dressing of soil or bags of turf dressing worked in with the back of a rake.
Winter: Mow as and when the weather permits with the mower blades set as high as they will go. Don’t mow when the grass is soggy!