Burnt grass: how to fix brown patches in a lawn


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Heat, sun, lack of water – our lawns put up with a lot in summer. But with these tips, your brown lawn will soon be a green carpet again.

a patch of burnt grass
If your lawn is yellow and brown, do not panic [Photo: Henning van Wyk/ Shutterstock.com]

In recent years, there have been some hot and dry summers. Instead of a green dream lawn, many people have been faced with burnt, brown grass and bare patches. No wonder, as the extreme heat coupled with a lack of water is far outside the optimal living conditions that lawn grasses need. The only thing to do is wait and hope for the best, right? Wrong! Try our four simple tricks to get your lawn back in tip-top shape.

Why is the lawn “burnt” in summer?

Even though it may seem burnt because of the heat and dryness, the yellowing and browning of the grass is a protective mechanism known as “heat dormancy”. The grass enters a resting phase with reduced metabolic activity, like a “summer sleep”. The grass essentially hibernates, drawing all reserve substances from the blades down into the roots while waiting for a period of cooler temperatures and more rain.

In most cases, those who notice their lawns turning yellow in the summer do not need to worry about their lawn’s survival. However, some sensitive grasses, such as perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), may not survive the dry period and will need to be reseeded the following spring.

yellow burnt grass
If your lawn turns yellow in summer, it does not necessarily mean it has died [Photo: FotoDuets/ Shutterstock.com]

Tip: Lawn grasses thrive best in temperatures ranging from 22 to 25 °C, with enough moisture and plenty of light. Above 30 °C, however, all of the grasses’ life processes are reduced to a minimum.

Tip 1: Water the lawn

It may sound banal, but the most important step in reviving a brown lawn (or preventing it from turning brown in the first place) is proper watering. After all, a lack of water is one of the main causes of brown lawns. A sprinkler is the best way to water your lawn because it not only distributes the water evenly over the lawn, but also saves you from dragging heavy equipment to and from the grass. When watering the lawn, the best practice is to water less frequently and more thoroughly. In summer, water your lawn once or twice a week with about 15 litres per square metre.

sprinkler watering a lawn
Watering your lawn in the morning saves water and helps the grass [Photo: Chepko Danil Vitalevich/ Shutterstock.com]

Tip 2: Use autumn lawn fertiliser

What does autumn lawn fertilisation have to do with a green lawn in summer? The answer is simple: autumn lawn fertiliser usually contains more potassium than the spring and summer fertilisers. In addition to frost tolerance, potassium also improves the efficiency of water absorption and the stability of cell walls, so that less water can escape through them and be lost by the grass blades. Potassium-rich autumn lawn fertilisers also help prepare the grasses to be a lush green lawn next summer. To achieve a green and environmentally friendly lawn, opt for plant-based autumn lawn fertilisers such as our Plantura Autumn Lawn Feed. With this smart choice, you are keeping your pets and garden animals safe and supporting a healthy soil life. The best time for autumn lawn fertilisation is late summer to September at the latest, so that the lawn grasses still have enough time to acquire the nutrients contained. After fertilising, water the lawn so that the nutrients are released and reach the roots.

spreading fertiliser on lawn in autumn
Good lawn fertilisation is essential for healthy and robust grass [Photo: The Toidi/ Shutterstock.com]

The advantages of Plantura Autumn Lawn Feed at a glance:

  • Extra portion of potassium for improved winter hardiness and drought tolerance
  • Long-lasting nitrogen for fast and healthy growth in spring
  • The natural formula is kind to the environment, pets and garden animals
  • The purely plant-based fertiliser granules support healthy soil life
  • Lawns can be walked on by people and animals immediately after fertilisation
  • Easy to use
Autumn Lawn Feed 10.5kg, 200m2 coverage
Autumn Lawn Feed 10.5kg, 200m2 coverage
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  • Perfect for fertilising lawns from July to October
  • Promotes a winter-hardy lawn & fast regeneration in spring
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

Tip: Spring fertilisation is also an important care step for a green lawn in summer. If the roots grow vigorously throughout spring due to a good supply of nutrients, it is easier for them to absorb the water in summer. So, in spring, apply lawn fertiliser to boost root growth.

Tip 3: Care for the lawn

A lawn is perfect for playing football, running around or having a picnic. However, if your lawn is brown and dry, rest is the best medicine. Each additional step damages the already strained grass, causing it to lose health and regenerative potential. So, take care of your lawn as much as possible. Bear in mind, however, a lawn that does not grow, or that is yellowing, does not need to be and must not be mown.

lawn mower and long grass
In summer, a little more length is healthy for the lawn [Photo: Brian A Jackson/ Shutterstock.com]

Tip: As a rule, when it comes to mowing the lawn during warm and hot summers, the grasses should be allowed to grow longer than in spring and autumn. The longer the grass is, the less sunlight that penetrates the soil and the less water evaporates. Therefore, a somewhat longer lawn in summer is a true water-saving strategy that is good for your lawn.

Tip 4: Re-seed the lawn

Sometimes all efforts are fruitless, and the lawn does not recover to its former glory despite watering, fertilising and care. It is also possible that the lawn will only partially recover, with “burnt” spots of grass remaining as unsightly patches in the otherwise green turf. If extensive damage becomes visible in autumn or spring, only one thing can help: reseeding the lawn. If you want to take preventative measures against the hot summers, you can use a drought-resistant lawn seed. Drought-tolerant grass seed mixtures, such as our Plantura Drought-Resistant Lawn Seed, contain grass species better adapted to drought, like tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis). Our premium seeds only use RSM (German standard) certified varieties, which ensures a high germination rate with healthy grasses.

Plantura Drought-Resistant Lawn Seed
Plantura Drought-Resistant Lawn Seed

Premium lawn seed: particularly drought-resistant & heat-tolerant, for regions with hot & dry summers

An excellent time for sowing grass seed is after scarifying in spring. The seeds have more room to grow, and competitors like moss and weeds have been eliminated. If you want your lawn to recover quickly, you can also reseed it in autumn. Find out the step-by-step instructions for seeding your lawn in our dedicated article.

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