Yellow grass will turn green again

Scorched Lawn: Will It Ever Go Green Again?

Hot, dry summers leave clearly visible marks, especially on the lawn. The formerly green carpet "burns": it turns increasingly yellow and finally looks dead. By now at the latest, many hobby gardeners are wondering whether their lawn will ever be green again or whether it is completely burned and finally gone.

The reassuring answer is, yes, he's recovering. Basically, all lawn grasses are well adapted to summer drought, because their natural habitat is predominantly summer-dry, fully sunny steppes and dry grasslands. If there was no periodic water shortage, sooner or later a forest would establish itself here and displace the sun-hungry grasses. The dried up leaves and stalks protect the grass from dying off completely. The roots remain intact and sprout again when there is enough moisture.

Scientific investigations

As early as 2008, the well-known lawn expert Dr. Harald Nonn, how drought stress affects different lawn mixtures and how long it takes for the surfaces to regenerate after renewed irrigation. To do this, last year he sown seven different seed mixtures in plastic containers with sandy soil and cultivated the samples under optimal conditions in the greenhouse until they had formed a closed sward after almost six months. After saturating irrigation, all samples were kept dry for 21 days and only lightly sprinkled again on the 22nd day at 10 millimeters per square meter. In order to document the drying process, the color change of each seed mixture from green to yellow was photographed daily and evaluated with a RAL color analysis.

Certain fescue species recover particularly quickly

The seed mixtures had reached the stage of complete drying out after 30 to 35 days, that is, no more leafy green parts were recognizable. From the 35th day, all three samples were finally irrigated again on a regular basis. The expert documented the regeneration process every three days, also using a RAL color analysis.

It was noticeable that the two lawn mixtures with a particularly high proportion of the two fescue species Festuca ovina and Festuca arundinacea recovered significantly faster than the other mixtures. They showed 30 percent green again within 11 to 16 days. The regeneration of the other mixtures, however, took significantly longer. The conclusion: Due to the ever hotter summers, drought-resistant lawn mixtures will be more in demand in the future. For Harald Nonn, the fescue species mentioned are therefore an important ingredient in suitable seed mixtures.

One downer, however, remains if you do not irrigate the lawn in summer and let the green carpet "burn" on a regular basis: Over time, the proportion of lawn weeds increases. Species such as the dandelion find with their deep taproot enough moisture even after the leaves of the grass species have long since turned yellow. They therefore use the time to spread out further in the lawn. For this reason, fans of the well-tended English lawn should water their green carpet in good time when it is dry.

This is how burned lawn becomes beautiful again

When the burned lawn has recovered - with or without irrigation - it needs a special care program to eliminate the consequences of the summer drought stress. First, apply an autumn fertilizer to strengthen your green carpet. It supplies the regenerated grass with potassium and small amounts of nitrogen. The potassium acts like a natural antifreeze: It is stored in the cell sap and acts like a de-icing salt by lowering the freezing point of the liquid.

About two weeks after fertilization, you should scarify the lawn, because the leaves and stalks that die in summer are deposited on the sward and can accelerate the formation of lawn thatch. If there are larger gaps in the sward after scarifying, it is best to re-sow the area with fresh lawn seeds using a spreader. They germinate before the onset of winter, ensure that the sward becomes dense again quickly and thus prevent moss and weeds from spreading unhindered. Important: If autumn is also very dry, you must keep the reseeding evenly moist with a lawn sprinkler.

Lawn care calendar for download

Our lawn care calendar shows you when which care measures are due - this is how your green carpet always presents itself from its most beautiful side. Simply enter your email address at the bottom of the page and download the lawn care calendar as a PDF document.