Many homeowners dream of a lush green lawn, but seeing white grass instead can be concerning. There are several reasons why grass may turn white, and it’s essential to properly identify the cause to take appropriate action properly. The question is, is white grass dead? One reason is that it is commonly caused by powdery mildew, a fungal disease that often grows in high humidity or shaded areas.
It’s characterized by white powder-like spores on the grass blades, giving them a talcum powder or sprinkled flour appearance. Other lawn diseases, like gray leaf spot and fusarium patch, can also leave your lawn white in some areas. Improper lawn care practices can also lead to white grass. Mowing with a dull blade or over-cutting more than a third of your lawn can cause lawn mower damage.
Applying too much fertilizer or misusing it can cause patches on the lawn. Additionally, heavily shaded areas with low-hanging branches can cause grass to turn white because of not receiving enough sunlight. Proper lawn care can help prevent and treat white grass. Selective herbicides and shade-tolerant grass varieties, like improved fine fescues or fine-textured perennial ryegrass, can also help prevent powdery mildew and other lawn diseases.
In our guide, you can learn more about any grass turning white and how to correctly identify the reasons for this. By the end, you’ll have lots of ways you can try to revive your discolored lawn grass; white patches hopefully won’t exist any longer. (Read Can I Use Mulching Blades With Side Discharge)
Why Is My Grass Turning White?
If you’ve noticed your grass is turning white, there could be a few different reasons why white grass turn green. One possibility is that the blades of grass are simply older and starting to lose their color. This is natural and nothing to worry about.
Another potential culprit is lawnmower damage. If your mower blades are dull, they can tear the ends of the grass blades rather than cutting them cleanly. This can cause the tips of the blades to whiten and leave patches of grass white as they dry and die.
Powdery mildew activity is a common fungal disease to leave your Kentucky Bluegrass blades of grass white. You’ll see powdery mildew growing as small white spots on the leaves, which gradually spread until the powdery mildew covers the entire lawn. Sometimes, you may also notice white tips on the blades of your turf grass.
Powdery mildew thrives in warm and humid environments, so keeping your lawn dry and well-ventilated is essential. Note: Ensure you don’t confuse powdery mildew with snow mold, as the effects are similar, yet the treatment is different.
Gray Leaf Spot
Gray leaf spot is a fungal disease to cause discolored patches on your lawn, turning it white or gray. This disease predominantly affects warm-season turfgrass species, like Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass.
One of the leading causes of this fungal infection is inadequate air circulation within the grass blades caused by dense thatch buildup, improper mowing techniques, and excessive watering. Thick thatch can be removed using a power rake. Shady areas are particularly vulnerable to gray leaf spots since they receive less sunlight and have slow-drying soil conditions. (Read Lawn Mower Blade Bolt Direction)
Fusarium Patch And Fusarium Blight
Fusarium patch and fusarium blight are two common turfgrass diseases to cause white patches on your lawn. Fusarium patch is caused by the fungus Fusarium nivale, which thrives in cooler temperatures and high humidity levels.
This lawn disease starts as small, circular spots of dead grass that eventually grow to a foot in diameter. The patches have reddish-brown borders and a white or grayish center that turns tan.
Herbicide Side Effect
If your once luscious green grass starts turning white after applying herbicides, it could mean the chemicals have damaged its ability to photosynthesize properly. This can weaken grassroots and stunt growth or sick grass, making it more susceptible to diseases and pests. Sometimes, over-exposure to herbicides can even kill off entire patches of grass.
Lawn Mower Damage
Lawn mower damage can manifest in different ways, and one common issue that homeowners encounter is white grass. If you notice your lawn turning white after mowing, it could be because of several factors.
If you have used a vertical mower recently, it could also contribute to white grass patches.
Kentucky bluegrass is a popular turfgrass variety in many parts of the country, known for its fine texture and dark green color. However, your once-lush lawn can quickly turn yellow or white during drought or extreme heat. This discoloration is often caused by a lack of water, which causes the grass to enter dormancy as a survival mechanism.
Mineral Deficiencies And Fertilizer Burn
A white lawn can be caused by several factors, including mineral deficiencies, or applying fertilizer in the wrong amounts, and causing fertilizer burn. Mineral deficiencies occur when the soil lacks essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium.
Without these nutrients, grass cannot grow properly and may turn white or yellow. Fertilizer burns can also cause white patches on your lawn. This happens when you apply fertilizer in the wrong amount, causing it to dry out and turn white.
To determine whether your lawn is suffering from mineral deficiencies or fertilizer burn, it’s essential first to identify the common culprits.
Note: Remember to water your lawn before and after you apply Fertil
How To Fix White Grass On Your Lawn
Don’t panic if you’ve noticed white grass on your lawn. It’s common to see patches of white grass during the early morning hours when dew is present.
Apply A Fungicide On Your Lawn
A fungal disease may have taken hold if you have noticed white patches on your lawn. Turf-type tall fescues are especially susceptible to fungus, but other grasses can also be affected. To prevent and treat this problem, applying a fungicide is essential.
Adopt Better Mowing Practices
One of the most common issues that homeowners face when it comes to lawn care is white grass. While it may seem alarming, better mowing practices can quickly fix this problem. One of the main reasons grass turns white is the process called “grazing.” This happens when the lawn mower blades are too low and cut the grass too short, causing stress and damage to the plant.
Raise your mower blade height to at least 3 inches and avoid cutting more than 1/3 of the blade’s length at a time. By adopting these simple steps, you’ll be able to turn your white grass green again and promote a healthy lawn overall. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Mushrooms In The Lawn With Vinegar)
Increase Sunlight Exposure In Your Lawn
One possible reason individual grass blades in your lawn turn white is that they are not exposed to enough sunlight. Grass needs sunlight to produce energy through photosynthesis and to maintain its green color. To increase sunlight exposure in your lawn, you can prune back overhanging branches or remove the lower limbs of trees.
Another way to improve sunlight exposure in turf grass is by planting shade-tolerant or powdery mildew-resistant grasses like Kentucky Blue Grass that can thrive in partial shade conditions.
Apply A Slow-Release Fertilizer Evenly
If you are dealing with white powder-like spores on your lawn, your grass may have been infected with a fungal disease called snow mold. Snow mold usually occurs in winter when there is heavy snow, followed by warm weather. Snow mold can also be found in early spring when the ground is frozen and covered in snow.
One way to prevent snow mold from affecting your lawn is to apply slow-release fertilizer evenly throughout the year. This will help to promote healthy growth and reduce stress on the grass, making it less susceptible to fungal diseases like snow mold.
Note: This type of snow mold is cosmetic and not as harmful as Pink snow mold.
Adjust The Soil Ph To Suit Your Turfgrass Variety
Adjusting the soil pH is an essential step in maintaining a healthy turfgrass. The best way to determine the ideal pH level for your turfgrass variety is by conducting a soil test. Once you have determined the current pH level, you can make the necessary adjustments using lime or elemental sulfur to help fix white grass problems.
If your grass is turning white, it could be for several reasons. One of them may be related to how often you mow your lawn. Over-cutting can cause stress on your grass, leading to white patches.
Another reason could be poor air movement around your lawn area. Poor air movement and ventilation can prevent proper moisture evaporation and lead to fungal growth on your grass blades resulting in white patches. (Read Can I Spray Weeds Before Rain)
Water Your Lawn Adequately In Summer
Cloudy conditions can sometimes trick you into believing your lawn is getting enough water, but this may not be true. During cloudy or overcast days, grass requires less water than sunny days. However, if there are extended periods of cloudy weather with no rain, your lawn may become stressed and start turning white.
If you recently installed new sod in your yard, keeping it adequately hydrated during the summer months is vital. Newly laid sod has shallow roots and dries out faster than established grass.
To ensure your new sod stays healthy and green throughout summer, provide to give it enough water frequently. Monitor how much moisture your lawn needs by checking the soil regularly for dryness.