Why Is My Sod Turning Yellow?

Any grass type can get sick and turn yellow – many homeowners experience this. You believe you have this lawn care thing figured out, but then patches of dying grass begin to pop up, marring your perfect landscape. Yellow grass is not something a property owner with new sod likes to see.

There are several explanations as to why your lawn might start turning yellow in small patches. Take into account that these blemishes are usually an indication that something’s not right, though it can be fixed. Let’s examine these comprehensively.

Reasons Why Your Green Grass Turning Yellow

A thorough inspection of your freshly laid sod grass or your deep-rooted lawn will determine why, and below are some causes.

Watering Issues

The most common cause of yellowing grasses is watering problems. For roots to grow steadily in the ground, they sometimes require time to do so with proper drainage between watering sessions. Shallow roots result in poor absorption of nutrients, oxygen, and surprisingly even water can turn your lawn yellow or straw-coloured if all needs aren’t met.

Too much water in your lawn drowns the new grass and causes an insufficient supply of oxygen in the soil because of waterlogging.

The same thing can happen with a rainstorm on properties with poor drainage. If you have low areas on your lawn turning yellow, this could be because water cannot flow out from the sod. This is probably a concern if you reside in a place with clay soils, considering these soils are likely to hamper drainage.

Compact Soil

Maybe watering is not the only problem as to why your sod is beginning to go yellow. You may have yellow sod because of soil compaction. Compaction compresses pore space from the soil so it can’t take in necessary sustenance elements, such as water, nutrients and oxygen.

Compact soil is usually due to overwatering and excessive foot traffic. It can also quickly happen in grasses with a super dense thatch layer. Thatch more than 1-inch thick must be thinned to keep the grass in good condition.

Pet Urine

If your pet always urinates in the same spot on your lawn, you’ll perhaps start noticing the grass turn yellow. Pet urine contains salt. Highly acidic or alkaline urine may change soil pH, distressing the sod where your pet does its business.

Also, a dog’s urine contains a variety of nitrogen compounds. A high nitrogen content will burn the grass and cause brown patches.


If you administer excess fertilizer or accidentally scatter some, the salt buildup can quickly burn your lawn. And this is remarkably accurate for artificial lawn fertilizer and occurs more frequently with quick-release fertilizers, which overwhelm lawns with nutrients in one go. The grass may turn yellow, creating unattractive turf in your yard and making it more prone to insects and other pest damage.

Nutrient Deficiency

Nutrient deficiencies can also result in the yellowing of your lawn. Iron and nitrogen are two of the most common inadequacies that cause yellow patches on your grass.

This usually happens in the 3rd week or subsequently, after laying the new sod, since some of the other potential causes for your lawn turning yellow would have already manifested by the second week.

A soil test can tell you what the deficiencies are.

Sod Location

Grass around trees or bushes may discolour or stop growing after some time as the trees grow gradually. This is because the trees and bushes will draw the soil’s nourishment for themselves. The deficiency of nutrients will make it burdensome for the sod to take root.

Grass requires at least six hours of direct sunlight to establish itself even when laying a more shade-tolerant cultivar, and poor location may be the reason you have dead grass.

Insect Damage

Certain insects that eat grass and its roots can cause the yellowing of the lawn. In the early stages of insect damage, your grass can initially seem dried, yellow, then eventually brown.

Some pests may not be evident at once, though if you use a magnifying glass, you may be able to see insects or their larvae. Grubs, chinch bugs, and sod webworms are three common nuisances.

After identifying what’s causing the problem, you can treat your sod by applying the correct insecticide.

Fungal Diseases

Sometimes fungus can cause your new sod to have yellow spots in most cases. These fungi feed on the grass by taking nutrients from the plant and disrupting the plant cells.

Numerous fungal diseases infect lawn grasses, and the most prevalent infections are:

  • Fairy rings
  • Fusarium
  • Smut
  • Snow mold
Fungal diseases are commonly connected to moisture. Study your watering schedule to know if you are providing too much water to your lawn, specifically the areas in the shade.

Prolonged Periods of Heat

Consistent hot temperatures and dry weather for a prolonged period can result in moisture or heat stress, which can cause the grass to become dry and ultimately lose its colour. It even attracts a variety of weeds and lawn insects.

Heat stress and drought worsen patches in newly laid sod because the roots aren’t established to soak up the small amount of moisture beneath the ground.

Dormant state

Another possible explanation is simply lawn dormancy. A dormant lawn merely protects itself from weather conditions that could endanger its survival.

Cool-season grass (i.e., Kentucky bluegrass), which favours cooler temperatures, will lay dormant in the summer to survive. In contrast, warm-season grass (i.e., Bermuda grass) will lay dormant during fall and winter.

Mowing Issues

While clippings can help you create a beautiful, healthy lawn, they can cause severe damage under the wrong circumstances and hinder the sod’s growth.

If you mow the new sod a little too soon after installation or mow it too short, it can cause it to turn yellow.

Blunt or bent lawnmower blades can likewise cause damage. Your lawnmower will tear grass blades rather than clip them cleanly. Furthermore, if your lawnmower uses petrol, this could be a reason for the grass turning yellow, eventually killing the grass if you have a leak.
A man is placing a sod log in the ground.

How to Fix Yellow Grass and Make it Green Again

Although most homeowners don’t possess the means to employ an expert for this service, they can still save their dying sod by trying these recommendations to make your grass green again.

1. Feed the lawn with slow-release fertilizers

Use a slow-release organic nitrogen fertilizer to supply plant nutrients for 2-3 months consistently. Organic fertilizers’ benefits include a low risk of making your grass yellow and more balanced, sustained grass growth. Applying one will make a yellowing turf green within 1-2 weeks.

2. Minimize excess nitrogen

A withering grass from fertilizer burn can die unexpectedly if the surplus nitrogen salts are not removed from the soil right away. Ensure to carry out a deep watering routine for new sod.

If deterioration has already manifested, water the brown patch of bare dirt immediately to drain it. Repeat every few days until the grass begins to recover.

An excellent way to prevent over-fertilizing is to have a soil-test kit. Also, avoid applying ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulphate, and calcium nitrate.

3. Give Sod Enough Water

Simply watering accurately can improve your lawn remarkably.

You must water your lawn 1-2 times every week and irrigate with 1.5-2.5 inches of water to keep the grass green. Watering less frequently but for prolonged periods promotes a deep, healthy root system.

Take a mister for freshly seeded or sodded lawns and gently spray the areas once to twice daily.

Furthermore, good irrigation and drainage play a crucial part in preventing, stopping, and controlling fungal diseases.

4. Reseed urine spots

Dog urine grass restoration is an easy lawn repair with effort and proper lawn care.

Once a dog urine spot has appeared, remove the damaged grass in that area and reseed to revive dead grass patches developing from doggy potty time.

To prevent your grass from turning yellow after a dog urinates on it, rinse any urine off your lawn right away to lessen the damage. You might also need to use a neutralizer shortly after he pees. Training your dog to do his business elsewhere will also help.

5. Treat Lawn Diseases

When you have a diseased lawn, you must meticulously address the problem, depending on the type of infection in place. Most typical lawn and grass diseases have fungal issues as their root cause. Use the correct fungicide in early spring for an improved lawn.

6. Mow at the proper height

First, sharpen your mower blades. Then, when you cut the grass, raise the mower’s cutting height to cater to new greener sprouts. Mow on the higher end of your grass’s suggested mowing height for the most beneficial clipping.

You may even want to think of working with a reel mower that does a cleaner, scissor-like cut versus gas-powered mowers.

7. Aerate Soil

Aerate the lawn to relieve soil compaction and enhance grass growth. Do this during the grass’ peak growing period and when the soil is moist, not wet. Soft ground accommodates deeper penetration of the coring tines. Soil aeration is often done using a plug aerator or a spike aerator, perforating many small holes in the yellow grass. Make numerous passes in various directions to help secure ideal coverage and benefits.

Lawn Practices To Maintain a Lush Green Lawn

Now that you know some of the reasons your lawn has yellow spots and techniques to repair them, you will still need to avoid the problem before all else.

  • Plant appropriate turfgrass for your region or climate.
  • Prune trees so adequate sunlight can penetrate the area (without allowing full sun exposure the entire day).
  • Use compost or dry topsoil and sand to fill your lawn’s low spots.
  • Have a good lawnmower and only mow when the grass is dry.
  • Ensure you aerate your lawn and rake up grass clippings and fallen leaves.
  • Water your lawn deeply in the morning and ensure that water is draining from your garden correctly.
  • Routinely test for soil deficiencies and fertilize as needed.
  • Be diligent about removing weeds.
Like most property owners, you brag about your healthy, lush green color lawn since a well-cared yard is the optimum final touch to any home. Hence, when you notice your grass turning yellow, it’s utterly normal to be disturbed. However, take it easy – there are many ways to get your lawn back and help it turn green.

A pristine lawn pays for itself and looks aesthetically appealing. Follow these expert tips and provide your grass with proper care, and you can restore it without delay.


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