Have you ever faced burnt grass in your yard after you did everything right? You recalled all the actions – you took immaculate care of the lawn, watered it as required and added fertilizer regularly, and so on. And now, ugly, brown, dead grass is all around, and you have no clue what has gone wrong. Let me help you solve the mystery and find a solution.
Reasons Why Your Grass Turns Brown
Reasons for the sad condition of your grass can be numerous. For example, if you overwater your lawn, the roots of the grass won’t be dead immediately, and in most cases, you just need to let the soil dry. However, the real problem appears when the whole areas of grass are burned out after you over-fertilized it.
In that case, my first thought is about my pet’s urine. I have a cat who pees in pots whenever is angry with me. The result is dead flowers and ruined soil I need to throw into the trash. The same situation is with your grass. If you have a dog, and your lawn has started to die, maybe it is a reason. Since urine is rich in nitrogen, it always causes grass browning.
On the other hand, if you notice damage grass over large areas of your yard, you should check the amount of fertilizer you put the last time you applied it.
When you use fertilizer as required, it will encourage healthy, lush, and vigorous growth of your grass. Otherwise, every improper applying, including accidentally spilling, uneven spreading, or over-fertilizing will result in ‘fertilizer burn’ followed by patches of brown and withered grass.
You should check the level of fertilization necessary for the growth and progress of the particular grass you grow, and always keep in mind that any exaggeration is the quickest way to ruin your lawn. Let’s see what to do to fix this.
The Usual Symptoms of Over-fertilizing
The first sign that you have added too much fertilizer over your yard is forming the crust of it on the surface of the ground. However, there are a few additional symptoms you need to consider:
- The occurrence of yellow or brown grass blades
- Black grassroots
- The slow growth of grass after fertilization
The reason why you see these changing is an increased amount of salt in the top of the ground which doesn’t allow your grass to absorb enough water. When you add too much quick-release fertilizer at once, you will actually stop healthy growth of the roots.
How to Fix Over-Fertilized Lawn
I will explain to you how to fix this problem. In some cases, you will need to follow all the steps I will describe here, but if your lawn is not damaged too harshly, it will be enough to take only a few of listed tips.
Step 1. Check your grassroots
This step is essential because you need to define if the damage of the grass is only superficial or the root system is also affected. If you notice the issue while only leaves are burned out and the roots are still healthy, the only thing you should do is to water your yard. Don’t forget to check grassroots from a few areas to have a real picture about the wide-spreading the damage.
Step 2. Watering
The primary care when noticing the problem is to start watering your lawn. No matter how substantial the damage is, water is definitely the best solution. Use garden hose reel, expandable hose, or smart sprinklers controller to water the affected areas evenly, but try to apply water to unaffected parts of the lawn too to allow leaching fertilizer throughout the whole yard.
By making a less concentrated solution of minerals on the surface of the soil, water will help with fast flushing primarily nitrogen, but also other nutrients from fertilizer deep into the ground. To secure that you have done a job well, just add approximately an inch (2.5 cm) of water a day for at least the next five to seven days.
If you have noticed the burnt grass early enough, this procedure will be enough to diminish the damage. You can expect your grass grows healthy and lush again soon after.
Step 3. Reassess the roots
In most cases, watering is the only cure your over-fertilized yard will need. You will probably see new grass growth after watering. If it is not a case, you need to check the roots once more.
When spotting brown and shriveled roots after a week of regular watering, you can conclude that they are severely damaged. The only solution you have in such a case is to start replacing grass on affected areas.
The important thing you need to remember is that you have to water your yard during at least a week even if you have immediately concluded that you can’t save the lawn. It is a necessary procedure to rinse the remaining minerals from the soil before planting the new grass anyway.
Step 4. Rake and till the affected area
To provide an excellent substrate for establishing your new grass, you should start with raking up all the brown, withered, and dead grass, and continue with tilling the affected parts of the yard.
- Raking – It is the easiest way for you to pull up damaged grass and to allow better access to healthy roots while watering.
- Tilling – It will provide better moisture access to the grass.
This step is crucial since dead grass left on the ground would inhibit new roots from reaching deeply into the soil.
Step 5. Start with re-sodding or re-seeding
Whether you decide on re-sodding or re-seeding depends primarily on the size of the affected area and your budget. If it is about smaller patches, you can re-seed them, but if you need to cure more significant parts of the yard, you will probably need to re-sod them.
Step 6. Keep watering and maintaining the new grass
Regardless of whether you re-seed or re-sod the new grass, you need to water your lawn adequately to get a desirable result. Do it daily during at least a week, until the roots establish well.
Keep in mind that new grass will spread more quickly if the soil is well-watered. Also, don’t cut the new lawn before reaching three inches (7.6 cm) high. By watering your grass adequately and mowing it high, you will allow proper growth of its roots.
One more thing! Don’t worry about rotting because all water immediately added after fertilizing won’t stay on the surface of the ground. It will quickly go into the deeper layers of the soil and help with diluting and rearranging the surplus minerals.
My name is Peter Weeks, Writer of The Daily Gardener. Gardening has always been my passion, nothing gives me quite the satisfaction that feeling the soil sift through my fingers does. Give me a spade, a shovel, and a rake, and I can happily while away the day transforming a patch of land into a beautiful oasis. To me, gardening is life. It’s not a career. It’s not a job. It’s something that I truly love doing. It’s a way of life, a passion that I’ve no intention of ever giving up.