How to Revive Yellow, Dying Sod

Sally Painter
Burnt front lawn

Yellow dying sod can be revived and become green again. However, before you rush to remedy yellow dying sod, make sure that you identify the cause before jumping to the assumption that your lawn isn't getting enough water.

Pet Urine

Perhaps the most obvious question if you have pets running about your yard is: Where are they urinating? The nitrogen excreted in pet urine can turn sod yellow and even kill it. Examine where the yellowing is and notice if these splotches match where your dog is doing its business. If so, find a less expensive area for your dog to use. If you don't have pets, make sure no other animal is marking their territory in your yard.

Remedy

Water down these areas to flush out the high concentration of nitrogen. If your dog is kept out of this area, new grass will replace the burned patches and the yellow spots will eventually become green again.

Fungus and Insect

Fungus and Insect

There are various fungi and insect pests that can attack your lawn. It's important to assess if the sod is under attack by one of these. It will require specific information about the type of fungi and insects in your region.

Remedy

Your local agriculture extension agency can provide you with information about the most common fungi and insects in your area, along with recommendations for remedying the problem.

Mowing too Soon

Another possible cause of newly installed sod turning yellow could be from mowing your yard too soon after installation.

Remedy

Hold off mowing the yard until it has time to recover. Allow the grass to grow a little longer than normal. If the weather is unusually hot, you may need to change your mower setting and not cut the lawn so low.

Poor Sod Installation

Poor Sod Installation

Another possible cause of yellow dying sod on a newly installed lawn could be poor installation. This can cause air pockets to become trapped underneath the sod rolls. This, in turn, prevents the sod roots from finding a new home in the soil. Instead of the healthy roots sinking into the ground and finding a new home, the roots dry out in this air pocket and die.

Remedy

If you suspect the culprit is a poor installation job, be sure to take lots of photos and contact the sod company immediately so their supervisor can inspect your lawn.

Even Sod Can Be Stressed

After the worst-case scenarios of pet urine, fungi and insects, mowing and poor installation have been eliminated, you're left with the most common reason for yellow dying sod - stress. It may sound odd, but sod can become stressed due to several factors, such as:

  • Weather: If the temperature is high and the rain scarce, your lawn will suffer from the stress and lack of water and vital nutrients.
  • Lack of Enough Water: For whatever reason, temperature or incorrect irrigation, your sod needs more water. There are a few techniques for adding water that can jumpstart new growth.
  • Blame the Kids and Animals: The wear and tear that children playing in the yard or different animals being on your lawn will certainly stress the sod. This is especially true of newly laid sod.

Remedy for Stressed Sod: Deep Watering

Deep Watering

The best remedy for yellow sod due to stress is usually water and lots of it. The time of day that you apply water can also determine how quickly your lawn bounces back into that beautiful green carpet. SodLawn advises that the most effective time of day to water your lawn is around 3 am to 4 am. This is the optimum hours without excessive heat evaporation and of course, no sunlight. Depending on your weather, you may need to soak your lawn for a longer time.

  • Start with the one-hour deep soaking to assess if the sod needs more water.
  • If you find little pools of water in your yard, it's time to cut back on the amount of water.
  • If the sod is squishy when you walk over it, you're giving it too much water.

You Can Revive Yellow Dying Sod

Once you determine the underlying cause for the sod in your yard turning yellow, you can set about reviving it. It won't be long before your lawn is vibrant and green once more.

How to Revive Yellow, Dying Sod