Why is my grass different shades of green?

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Your grass may vary in different shades of green due to the condition of the grass itself. It may also be different shades due to some environmental issues surrounding the grass or lawn. Nutritionally, a deep green grass blade is associated with a healthy, nitrogen-rich plant, whereas a yellower blade can be a sign of low nitrogen.

This article will explore both the plant-based reasons why your grass is different shades of green as well as the environmental reasons that might be causing the differences.

Understanding these will allow you to identify the reason why your lawn is different shades of green. With this knowledge, you can combat this to get that beautiful uniform look.

What are the different shades of grass blades telling me about the condition of the plant?

Yellow grass – grass generally turns yellow when it is low in nitrogen. Perhaps the lawn requires an additional application of lawn feed. Patches of the lawn might become overwatered, thus washing out key nutrients from the roots.

Green grass – this is the sign of a healthy grass plant, rich in nitrogen and therefore chlorophyll.

Orange – this is the sign of a fungus. It may have been transferred around the lawn by footfall or from a lawnmower. Treating the grass for these fungal infections will usually return the lawn to its glory.

Brown/Tan – the grass is a straw color and most likely dead. This grass should be removed and the soil reseeded.

Is rubble under the lawn creating different shades of green?

Builders are renowned for leaving rubble under lawns when building new houses. They will quite often spread their general builder’s rubble over what will become the new garden, spread a layer of topsoil over it, and then lay turf on top.

As the topsoil that the grassroots grows into is inevitably different depths, this causes an imbalance in the size of the root as well as the moisture content of the soil itself. The grass will then struggle to draw up the moisture, and just as importantly, the nutrients that it requires to thrive.

To check if this is causing the issue, excavate a small section of the lawn to see if there is a layer of rubble below the soil surface.

If this is the case, removing the rubble from the sub-soil and resewing/relaying the lawn maybe your best option.

Is wear and tear from footfall creating different shades of green?

Wear and tear on lawn caused by footfall.
Footfall on lawn.

This might be one of the most obvious reasons for a lawn to have grass with different shades of green. Humans are creatures of habit and we tend to stick to specific “paths” when walking across our gardens.

Wear and tear from footfall can suppress good, green, healthy growth in the grass for two reasons. Firstly, walking on grass damages the blades themselves thus preventing the grass from growing how it normally would.

Secondly, constant walking on the same area of lawn compact the soil which restricts the amounts of air, moisture, and nutrients from being absorbed by the roots.

There are three options

  1. Reduce wear and tear on the grass by taking different paths across your lawn. This isn’t ideal as we are all human and it isn’t in our nature to remember to do this each time we would like to walk to different areas of the garden.
  2. Aerate the lawn. Aeration of the lawn can be achieved by piercing the lawn with a garden fork whilst gently prising it back to lift the subsoil slightly. This will de-compact the soil, allowing roots to grow freely as well as drawing in air from above ground.
  3. Add stepping stones into the lawn. Adding stepping stones to key areas of the garden such as to a shed will drastically reduce the amount of walking on the grass, thus allowing the lawn to grow to a consistent shade of green.
Stepping stones in lawn.
Stepping stones for lawn.

Are weeds causing my grass to be different shades of green?

Some areas of lawn can become infested with weeds. Weeds suppress the growth of grass thus causing these areas to be of a different shade of green to the areas that are growing healthily.

Applying a general weed and feed mixture to the lawn will suppress weed growth and encourage healthy grass growth. In order to get a consistent shade of green in your lawn, it is recommended that you apply the weed and feed to the entire lawn and not just to the area affected by the weeds.

Lawn feeds are generally applied at two distinct parts of the growing season. The first is in early to mid Spring. The second is in late summer to early Autumn. During these periods it is likely that the grass is still actively growing however the temperatures will be more modest and there will be a little more rainfall. This should help prevent scorching of the grass from the fertilizer.

However, always follow the manufacturer’s guidance on how and when to apply weed and feed mixtures. Read our guide on how often to fertilize your lawn.

Is moss changing the color of my lawn?

Like weeds, moss can suppress strong growth in grass. Moss will spread over the top layer of soil and prevent grass from growing through it in any meaningful quantities.

This will follow in a yellower grass blade forming. Also, the moss itself tends to be a light shade of green bordering yellow.

Moss can be dealt with in a couple of ways:

  1. Apply a moss killer.
  2. Remove it by raking the grass.

A good way of combating moss that has built up over winter is to perform both of the options above in early-mid spring. First, apply a moss killer. Moss killers can usually be found in the same weed and feed products mentioned earlier in this article.

Usually, after a week of the moss killer being applied to the lawn, the moss will have died and turned black.

Now rake the lawn with either a hand rake or an electric rake.

This approach will vastly reduce the moss build up in your lawn over the entire growing season.

Your existing grass will now slowly knit into the bare patches where the moss used to be and thus give you a beautifully consistent shade of green across your lawn.