During this recent stretch of little to no rain, residents in Cleveland and Columbus have been noticing "yellow spots" the size of manhole covers throughout their lawns. A common reaction to seeing this is, "the fertilizer guy must have spilled fertilizer in that area and burned my lawn." Most are surprised to learn that the problem is not caused by anything they, or their fertilizer company did. In fact, the yellow spots represent the "surface" of the problem...
So What's Happening to Cause Yellow Spots?
As conditions continue to be on the dry side, certain areas in lawns have begun to yellow. To the common observer, this may seem to be damage from "burn" after a fertilizer application, but are in fact one of two things, drought stress caused by poor soil conditions in those areas, or the establishment of Ascochyta Leaf Blight.
The first issue mentioned above, drought stress, is caused by dry areas in the soil, due to compaction of clay and other hard filler dirt. These areas dry out because the soil is so hard, water cannot penetrate it and reach the turf's root systems.
The second possibility mentioned above is Ascochyta Leaf Blight, a fungus that rapidly grows during a dry, warm period, right after a long period of moisture. Poor soil conditions also contribute to this fungus growing, with it spreading by mowing your lawn and spraying the clippings around.
Why are These Yellow Spots Dangerous to My Lawn?
These yellow spots are dangerous because they indicate a larger problem in your turf soil. While the unsightly yellow of drought stress or Ascochyta Leaf Blight may look like your lawn is dead in certain areas, it is only superficial damage. However, if you continue to allow poor soil conditions to exist in those areas, stress and fungi will continue to attack the area.
What Can I do to Fix These Areas?
The first step to fixing these areas is a soil test to determine your soil's composition and to create a game plan for repairing the area. A core aeration should be preformed to relieve compaction, and allow for organic material to be added into your soil's mixture.
How Can I Prevent These Spots in the Future?
Adding a core aeration to your lawn care program at least once a season will help alleviate the compaction in your soil. Adding organic material in the fall after an aeration will also continue to improve the soil composition in the area, making it easier for water to penetrate the surface and reach your turf's roots.
Fixing This Problem and Others Requires a "Seasoned" Professional. Learn How to Find One!
Lawn care isn't as easy as it seems. In the case of the yellow spots in the lawn shown above, no amount of fertilizer will correct this problem. Only a licensed professional can recognize that the problem isn't with the grass, but is in the soil. But with so many choices out there, how do you find the right provider to service your lawn? Don't worry, we have you covered with this handy-dandy, step-by-step Lawn Care Company Hiring Guide that will take you through what you need to find when looking for a company. The best part is that this guide is yours for free, by clicking on the button below!