For many, the turf is the fresh green gem in the home garden. But what causes it if it turns yellow or brown? And then what can you do?

lack of water

A turf that has too little water tends to change colour. The lack of water can be caused by too little or too little watering or by a lack of contact with the underlying soil. Too high a soil density or cavities under the rolled turf also prevent the lawn from being able to absorb enough water. You acknowledge a lack of water

  • browning leaves (starting at the top)
  • rapid drying out of the brown parts of the plant
  • a preceding “lying down” of the blades of grass

You can take the following measures accordingly:

  • Increase casting amount
  • Eliminate cavities by filling
  • Make contact with the substrate by rolling
  • loosen compacted soil by mulching or gently scarifying
Note: Increasing the watering interval makes less sense than the watering quantity, since large portions of the water evaporate quickly and then do not reach the deeper layers of the earth. Therefore, it is better to water less frequently, but intensively.


Even if the lawn loves water, waterlogging in the subsoil can also damage it. You can recognize this by the high moisture content in the soil and by the evenly yellow to brown colored stalks in the turf. Waterlogging is caused by excessive watering. The roots of the lawn then develop rot and the plants die. The roots can no longer supply the stems with the necessary nutrients. The stems change colour. Against waterlogging you can:

  • reduce the pouring amount
  • make sure the soil is well-drained
  • add sand to the soil
Tip: You can recognize that the water content is too high by lifting a lawn sod. The soil may be moist, but should not be soggy-wet.

nutrient deficiency

Like all plants, the turf needs sufficient nutrients. Especially nitrate, phosphate and potassium are very important for him. A too low nutrient content in the soil or a lack of soil contact with the soil ensure that the lawn does not receive enough nutrients. The rolled turf then quickly appears “lost of energy”. The culms hang limp or lie flat. A brown discoloration develops over time. You can remedy this by taking the following measures:

  • Nutrient supply through special lawn fertilizer
  • Increase the ground contact of the turf (fill or roll)

acidic soil

If the pH is too low, the substrate under your lawn is too acidic. Lawn plants thrive best at a pH value between 6 and 7. Above 5.5 it becomes critical, the soil is then clearly too acidic. The rolled turf turns yellow and becomes matted. Yellow mosses spread because they prefer acidic soil. Acidic soil occurs mainly after the first winter. To lower acidity, you can:

  • scarify to improve aeration
  • add lime
Tip: Before you take any action, you should determine the exact value using pH test strips from garden supplies. This way you can be sure that you have found the correct cause of the discolouration.

Wrong lawn cut

If the stalks turn brown from the tips of the leaves, the cause can be not only the lack of water described above, but also incorrect lawn cutting . This may have happened too often or the cutting height was selected too low. In both cases, the blades of grass are then subjected to too much stress and die off as a result. You can:

  • increase the mowing interval
  • increase the cutting height to at least 4, preferably 5 centimeters
Note: The right lawn cut is particularly important in the growth phase so that the lawn has enough power reserves for root formation.

interplay of causes

In practice, there are often several of the reasons mentioned when the turf turns yellow or brown. It is best to start with the clearest cause and choose the measures accordingly. If symptoms persist after this, you can take further steps. You can see more clearly which measure actually led to which goal and this experience enables you to react better to problems with your turf in the future.

frequently asked Questions

In order to prevent the risk of discoloration, the preparation of the soil before laying and the correct laying of the turf are of particular importance. The substrate should be permeable and well aerated and the pH value should be precisely adjusted. If the soil is too dense, it should be loosened and mulched beforehand. When laying, it is particularly important that there are no cavities and that the turf has good contact with the ground.

There are also different types of turf. Depending on your needs, you can use play and sports turf, premium turf, ornamental turf and shaded turf. It is best to ask your dealer for advice. He can explain the advantages and disadvantages to you and recommend the right lawn for your needs and garden conditions. Lawn types also differ in how much care they require. An easy-care variant is therefore recommended, especially for beginners.

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