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John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Yellow Grass

Posted by John Fulton -

There seem to be many yellow patches of grass showing up in area lawns. Large amounts of rain could have pushed nitrogen below the level where grass roots can reach it, or it can lead to denitrification, where the bacteria in the soil break down nitrate forms of nitrogen for the oxygen they contain. Any root damage also reduces the amount of nitrogen and other elements that can be taken up into plants. Grubs of any sort, including Japanese beetle larvae, feed on plant roots. Add to this the fact that many of the yellow spots are in the area of tree roots. Trees compete for the same moisture and nutrients as grass areas, and trees are more efficient at getting these nutrients.

The long and short of it is yellow grass areas are probably going to be with us for most of the season. Adding additional nitrogen now is not recommended unless you are on a frequent watering schedule. Even then you probably won't green it up any time soon. The yellow is not that efficient a pigment for making food, so those areas will be a little less healthy than others. Try to mow at recommended heights of two to two and a half inches tall, fertilize in early September, and water at least a quarter of an inch per month if things stay dry for a month.

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