Signs of Lawn Iron Deficiency and Nitrogen Deficiency

Caring for a nutrient-deficient yard can be difficult if you don’t know the source of the problem. Nitrogen and iron, specifically, can show similar symptoms when deficient thus complicating the matter even further. Know the difference between the two and how to properly care for your lawn with our handy guide.

Signs of Lawn Iron Deficiency - When it comes to leaves, you can detect iron deficiencies in a yellowish exterior with a green center.

Signs of Lawn Iron Deficiency

As you might suspect, lawn care is a scientific process. Photosynthesis occurs with sufficient chlorophyll which is made from iron in the grass. When chlorophyll is unable to properly develop, the result is a yellow or white lawn – the latter of which stems from severe iron chlorosis. Iron deficiencies can be the result excessive fertilization (resulting in high phosphorus) or alkaline soil. Chilly weather along with extra wet or dry soil can also be the culprit. Yards that are particularly shady can succumb to iron deficiencies. When it comes to leaves, you can detect iron deficiencies in a yellowish exterior with a green center.

Signs of Lawn Nitrogen Deficiency

Yellow grass is one sign of a nitrogen imbalance, though poor and patchy growth will often manifest as well. If the lawn appears to be ‘bleached,’ there’s a good chance your lawn is suffering from both iron and nitrogen deficiencies. Other symptoms include:

  • Slow growth
  • Slow recovery from foot traffic, environmental changes, and other stressors
  • Recurring disease

Other Causes of Yellow Grass

Pinpointing the cause of the discoloration is often the hardest part. Once you identify the problem, you can work toward a solution. Other causes of yellow grass include:

    • Overwatering. Too much water robs the plant of oxygen that’s necessary for growth. When the porous spaces within soil are constantly drowned in water, root systems die and grass appears weed-ridden, spongey to the touch, and yellow in color.
    • Insects. Cinch bugs can be detrimental to a healthy lawn as they feed on the sap of the blades. Reducing nitrogen and adhering to a strict watering schedule may help.
    • Fungal diseases. The chances of fungal disease increase with mismanaged temperature, thatch, and moisture levels.
    • Dog urine. Yes, pets are often overlooked as a reason for yellow spots on the lawn. Before you jump to conclusions about nutrient deficiencies, make sure to keep your animals off the grass. Then water thoroughly and wait to see if the color changes to green again.

How to Fix Your Nutrient-Deficient Lawn

Sprays are an effortless way to add iron to your yard; however, they’re merely a Band-Aid on a much larger problem. Once the grass is mowed, iron will be quickly removed and absorbed. Nitrogen deficiencies can be corrected organically with composted manure or coffee grounds mixed into the soil. Chemical fertilizers are also an option – just be sure the first number on the label (the NPK ratio) is appropriate for your grass type and issue. Like sprays, nitrogen fertilizers are a ‘quick fix.’

Often, your yellow yard is a combination of nitrogen and iron deficiencies – especially in Arizona. Test your soil using a kit or send it to a lab for a professional analysis. Getting to the root of the issue is paramount to a healthy yard. Know the triggers and how to correct discoloration and you’ll be well on your way to semi-pro landscaper in no time.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page for more answers!

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Lawn Nutrient Deficiencies & Other Causes of Yellow Grass
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Lawn Nutrient Deficiencies & Other Causes of Yellow Grass
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Caring for a nutrient-deficient yard can be difficult if you don't know the source of the problem. Learn the difference between a lawn iron deficiency and a lawn nitrogen deficiency.
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Evergreen Turf
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