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Yellow grass

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From: Gail Miller
City:
Zionsville, IN
Hello, We moved into our newly built home 3 years ago. Our sod up front has always had a yellow look to it. We have it professionally fertilized every year and continue to inquire with them why it is so yellow. We switched companies this year in hopes that it would help. Our surrounding neighbors do not have this problem at all. Could you please give us any advice to what is going on? Thank you!

 
Extension Message
From: Richard Hentschel
Extension Educator, Horticulture
DuPage/Kane/Kendall Unit
hentsche@illinois.edu
If your soil is sandy, it is likely a nutrition problem as sand does not retain any nutrients to speak of. If when fertilized it greens up for a few weeks, that would be a good indicator for you. If it is a heavier soil, a soil test would be in order to determine levels of nutrition in the soil to know for sure what to be applying. It is also possible that even after 3 years, your sod has never really established itself with the soil in your yard. Poor soil preparation is often the culprit. An example would be compacted soils, limiting root growth. If the lawn goes dormant easily or relatively early in the summer, this would be another indicator of poor root development as well as a lack of water absorption into the soil profile. Lastly, what kind of grass is being grown? Some grasses just have a yellow green color to them, others dark green like a kentucky bluegrass. if the yard was sodded, it is likely a bluegrass. lawns grown from a seed mix could be a number of grasses.

 
From: Gail Miller
City:
Zionsville, IN
Thank you for the prompt response! We are not sure what kinds of seeds are in the sod, but our neighbors all were planted by the same company and our yard is definitely more yellow than theirs. If it is a soil problem, how do we solve this? Is there a type of fertilizer for "bad" soil? We have considered doing a soil test, however, again the neighbors all have the same soil and no yellow grass. Where do we go from here to see improvement in color?

Thank you!

 
Extension Message
From: Richard Hentschel
Extension Educator, Horticulture
DuPage/Kane/Kendall Unit
hentsche@illinois.edu
Getting a soil test is like getting your Cholesterol test, it becomes a baseline for future efforts to improve your soil. Core aeration and topdressing with a quality black dirt or compost will begin to modify the soil and make it easier for the roots to grow deeper in the soil profile and have nutrients available. you can core aerate in the spring and fall when the grass is actively growing and the soil contains enough moisture to allow the machine to create cores 3-4 inches deep. Allow the cores to dry on the surface of the lawn a couple of days and then mow to break them up and return to the lawn. Topdress with a thin layer of material that you can buff into the lawn with a lawn rake. This can be done at least once a year.

 
From: Gail Miller
City:
Zionsville, IN
Hello again, We did the soil test. The pH, phosphorus and potassium tested good. Nothing showed up for the nitrogen so we guess we are low on nitrogen. My husband put down Scott's Max Green Lawn Food this weekend because he read it has a lot of nitrogen and iron to help with the green. Do you have any other suggestions we can try? Thank you!

 
Extension Message
From: Richard Hentschel
Extension Educator, Horticulture
DuPage/Kane/Kendall Unit
hentsche@illinois.edu
Nitrogen should turn the lawn green. iron is critical in the chlorophyll molecule that we see at that green color, so both should help. Consider making additional iron treatments without fertilizer as well. If iron is lacking, this will assist the grass plant in making its own food as the chlorophyll then produce the energy on their own.

 
From: Gail Miller
City:
Zionsville, IN
Can you provide us with the names of some of the products with just iron (no fertilizer) as you suggested? When and how often should we apply this? Thanks again for all your help. :)

 
Extension Message
From: Richard Hentschel
Extension Educator, Horticulture
DuPage/Kane/Kendall Unit
hentsche@illinois.edu
There are several brands available in the trade. Which one you find will be limited to the brands the Garden Centers and other retail outlets carry. Three brands that I know of are from Bonide, Espoma and Ironite. These products can be in a granular or li;quid form and "chelated" meaning it is a form more readily available to the plants.

 
From: Gail Miller
City:
Zionsville, IN
Ok, we will try it. Since we just put the other fertilizer down, how long should we wait to apply this? Also, how often can you apply the iron? Thanks :)

 
Extension Message
From: Richard Hentschel
Extension Educator, Horticulture
DuPage/Kane/Kendall Unit
hentsche@illinois.edu
you can apply the iron along with any fertilizer application. You will know when it is time to reapply as the lawn will begin to yellow again and can be done in between any fertilizer application as needed.

 
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