Why Is My Grass Turning Yellow? 8 Reasons and Fixes

When it comes to lawns, sometimes, the grass is not always greener. When your grass's coloring starts to fade, you likely ask yourself: why is my grass turning yellow? If you have a lawn of regular run of mill turfs grass like Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, perennial rye, or rough bluegrass, and it goes yellow, it's likely your issue is caused by something common.

Here are reasons why your grass is turning yellow and tips to restore your lawn's healthy, vibrant color.

Dead or Dying

Sometimes, grass is turning yellow simply because it's dead or dying. Most of the time, this is not your fault; nothing you did or did not do could have saved it. Turf grasses are being affected by rising temperatures, so it's out of your control.


Dead grass and dormant grass are not the same thing. Some species of turf grass will go dormant at different times of the year when certain temperature thresholds are met. For instance, annual ryegrass will go dormant when the temperature hits 90° Fahrenheit. Likewise, some grasses will go dormant when it gets too cool. Other species will have a natural dormant period that aligns seasonally.

There is nothing you can do to fix this problem as it's not a problem at all, just a characteristic of the species of turf grass you have chosen.

Overwatering or Underwatering

Lawns can yellow because of overwatering and underwatering. It's not easy to know how much water is too much or too little, and most people cannot afford expensive sprinkler systems with rain detection gauges.

To try to prevent over or underwatering, make a point to feel your soil every so often. Dig a tiny hole in your lawn, several inches deep, and stick your finger in it. If your soil is damp and cool to the touch and does not crumble, it is well moisturized. If it's dry, crumbly soil, and you have not had rain in a bit, or the forecast does not show rain coming for a while, break out the hose and set up a good sprinkler to give your lawn a good thorough soaking.


If you notice random yellow spots on your lawn and have a dog, your pet's urine may be the culprit. When the urine is allowed to seep into roots, the ammonia in it is absorbed up into the blades of the grass, burning the plant.

You can try not to let your dog pee on the lawn, but if they do manage to get by you and lift a leg, dilute it as fast as possible with water to avoid it burning your grass.

Over or Under Fertilization

While under-fertilizing is sometimes an issue, more often than not, the problem will stem from over-fertilizing. If installing a lawn yourself, follow the instructions on the bag of the turf seed for fertilizing instructions. If you're moving into a property with an existing lawn, you should consult a lawn expert at least once for advice; you do not need to regularly use their services, but you can ask questions on about frequency of fertilizing, type to use, species of turf grass, and water needs. They may charge you for a consult, but in the long run, it will save you money to get the answers you need to do the job yourself.

Incorrect Mowing Practices

Do you know that neighbor who's out there every week mowing their lawn no matter how hot it is or how little it has rained? They are the neighbor that pulls out the mower at the first sign of spring thaw and starts mowing the grass. Do not be like that neighbor.

First, you shouldn't mow the grass in the spring without first sharpening your mower's blades. It is not that hard if you want to tackle it yourself. This simple action will do a lot to help the health of your lawn. Cutting your lawn with a dull blade stresses it and damages it.

Second, the frequency of cuts and the length that you cut it is significant. If the weather is dry, you don't want to cut your grass too often. Cutting your lawn too much will cause it to get damaged and lead to yellowing. Aim to cut it every two weeks down to 2 to 3 inches in height. If it's been especially wet, don't cut the grass either. Let it dry a bit. Cutting wet grass can leave clumps of grass clippings spread unevenly if not raked, which will also yellow the lawn. The ideal frequency to mow is every two weeks, weather permitting, with a mulching mower.


Have you ever seen a pair of grass-stained spiked shoes? The old-school trick—to wear spiked shoes while you mow your lawn—has lost its popularity, but it worked wonders to fight compaction. Sometimes our lawns become compacted because of tangled roots and overuse, and the roots and soil become almost cement-level hard.

When the lawn is compacted, any water from rainstorms will just pool on top of the soil, taking forever to leech into the ground. The same goes for air. The soil and roots form an impervious matrix. The roots that cannot get air or water begin to die, but not before showing signs of trouble with yellowing grass.

You can fix the issue by putting on wearing shoes with spikes on the soles to aerate the soil while you work in your garden and mow your lawn, or use one of the many gadgets for aerating lawns. Walking around in spiky-soled shoes creates small holes in your soil that allow both water and air to penetrate without harming the lawn.


The competition you must worry about will not come from your neighbor with a better lawn. Your lawn may get overtaken by weeds and turf grasses that outcompete the preferred species for sunlight, nutrients, and water. In most cases, it will be obvious when you have an invasive weed like clover, or dandelions, in your lawn, which can be removed by applying a broadleaf pesticide found in a weed and feed. Still, there may be times when another turf grass overtakes your yard. In these cases, it is best to call in a service to apply seed and selective pesticides.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my grass suddenly turning yellow?

Your lawn might suddenly be turning yellow due to a lack of nutrients, especially if there are no other issues like drought or excessive heat. Your grass likely lacks soil nutrients, needs fertilizing, or was over-fertilized.

Why is my grass turning yellow after being watered?

Your grass might be turning yellow after being watered because it was already hydrated with the water it received naturally, and now you've overwatered it.

Can grass turn green again after being yellow?

Yes, grass can turn green again after being yellow. An entire lawn, single patches, and even single stalks can heal themselves. Yellowing is a symptom of an issue with your grass. So if the issue is corrected, the symptoms will likely go away.

Read Next: How to Fix Patchy Grass and Bare Spots in Your Lawn