Why Is My Grass Turning Yellow After Fertilizing?

Nothing’s more infuriating than grass turning yellow after fertilizing. The expectations of a greener, more beautiful lawn now begin fading. The situation may worsen if you don’t understand what could have gone wrong and how to fix it. So, why does my grass turn yellow after applying fertilizer?

Your grass may turn yellow after fertilizing if you’ve overfertilized it, followed an incorrect procedure, or used the wrong type of fertilizer. The chances of your lawn recovering from a fertilizer burn depend on the severity of the burn. Your grass may die in extreme cases.

This article explains how grass burns after fertilizing. We’ve also taken the time to list ways of treating a fertilizer burn and tips for preventing it.

Grass Turning Yellow After Fertilizing

Fertilizers contain Phosphorus, Potassium, and Nitrogen, which accelerate grass growth and keep it healthy. Although fertilizers are beneficial, overapplying them on your lawn may cause extreme damage.

When overapplied, fertilizer nutrients cause salt build-up, which is toxic for the grass. The excess salt draws water from the grass tissues and roots, leading to dehydration.

Penetration of excess salts can be enhanced by weather conditions and the plant’s dampness. Your grass is more susceptible to burning during the summer, as the hot temperatures intensify the dehydration rate.

On the other hand, a wet lawn is more vulnerable to fertilizer burns because the excess water makes fertilizer spread unevenly and thus leads to burning on spots where it’s concentrated.

Different fertilizers require varying application modes. Liquid fertilizers are sprayed on plants and soil, while the dry granules are only applied on the ground, as they are toxic to the leaves. Therefore, not following the correct application method may cause your grass to burn.

Slow-release fertilizers are less likely to burn your lawn compared to fast-release alternatives. Slow-release fertilizers allow plants to absorb nutrients in small doses, while their fast-release counterparts promote fast absorption, thus increasing burning chances.

The best fertilizer for your lawn is that which provides the exact amount of nutrients the grass requires, reducing the chances of burning from excess supplements.

How To Treat Yellow Grass After Fertilizing

Before treating grass with fertilizer burns, examine the grass to identify whether it’s still alive or dead. Grass with yellow stripes is still alive. However, if the grass is entirely brown and has a crunchy texture, it’s most likely dead.

Below are crucial steps you should follow to revive grass with stripes of fertilizer burns.

Stop Using Fertilizer Immediately

Stop applying fertilizer once you notice grass turning yellow after fertilizing. Adding more fertilizer will not revive your lawn but cause more damage to the already critically destroyed grass blades.

Water the Affected Spot Adequately

The next step is to water the affected yellow spots. Water will wash away the excess salts on the grass and help it recover its green color. To be effective, water the grass immediately after noticing the color change. This will prevent it from deteriorating more.

Water the grass every morning for at least seven days for it to recover fully and fast. However, avoid overwatering the grass, as it may drown and die.

Pick or Rake Fallen Leaves and Grass Clippings

Fallen leaves and grass clippings decompose and provide nutrients to the lawn. Although these nutrients benefit the grass, they may increase damage if the soil is already over-saturated with nutrients.

Grass clippings and fallen leaves host various pests and diseases, which will cause more harm to the damaged grass blades. Be gentle when raking grass with fertilizer burns, as it’s fragile.

Aerate the Lawn

Aeration is crucial for grass with fertilizer burns. Burnt grass will recover, provided lots of oxygen reaches its roots. Aeration will also help drain any excess water that may accumulate on the lawn from watering.

Mow the Lawn

Tall grass prevents sunlight and other nutrients from reaching shorter blades and roots. Therefore, mowing the lawn will help the grass absorb sunlight and nutrients easily and thus recover faster.

Fertilize Properly

After your grass has recovered its green color, the next step is fertilizing it. Ensure you use the right fertilizer type and follow the application procedure indicated on the packaging.

How To Prevent Fertilizer Burns

Below are tips on preventing fertilizer burns on your lawn.

  • Always use the right amount of fertilizer.
  • Opt for slow-release fertilizers as the grass absorbs the nutrients gradually
  • Adjust the fertilizer proportions to your lawn’s square footage
  • Avoid leaving the spreader hopper on when stopping, turning, or filling.
  • Never apply fertilizer on stressed grass because they are more susceptible to burns.

Why Is My St Augustine Turning Yellow After Fertilizing?

Your St Augustine grass turned yellow after fertilization due to the Nitrogen in the fertilizers. Although Nitrogen is beneficial for this grass, high concentrations cause extreme damage. 

High Nitrogen concentrations will also increase St Augustine’s susceptibility to diseases, promote thatch build up and lower its tolerance to extreme temperature changes. Therefore, applying fertilizers rich in Nitrogen to this grass will cause more harm than good.

The best fertilizers for St Augustine are those that read 0-0-3 on their packaging, which indicates they don’t have Nitrogen. However, if you have no option, you can opt for slow-release fertilizers to reduce st Augustine’s Nitrogen absorption.

Wrap Up

Grass turning yellow after fertilizing is mainly caused by overfertilization. You can easily recover grass with fertilizer burns by following the steps and guidelines discussed in this post.