burnt grass in summer

Burnt Grass: Understanding Causes and Providing Solutions for a Healthier Lawn 

Summertime can be tough on your lawn. The scorching temperatures, harsh sunlight, and reduced rainfall often lead to the one thing every homeowner dreads: burnt grass. At NG Turf, we understand how crucial a lush, vibrant lawn is for our customers. Let’s look at the common causes of burnt grass in late summer, from drought and over-fertilization to canine contributions and shallow root systems, and some practical solutions to restore your lawn to its former glory. 

What Causes Burnt Grass in Summer?

1. Drought

The most obvious and common cause of burnt grass in late summer is drought. Inconsistent or insufficient rain during the hotter months can leave your lawn parched, causing it to lose its lush, green color and adopt a more burnt, brown appearance. 

2. Over-fertilization

While fertilizers are essential for healthy grass growth, too much can be harmful. Excess fertilizer can cause grass to burn and die, especially during the heat of summer when it’s already under stress. 

3. Dog Urine

Dog owners might notice brown patches scattered across their yards. These patches are often caused by the high nitrogen content in dog urine, which can be especially damaging in hot, dry conditions. 

dog urine spot in lawn

4. Shallow Root Systems

Grass with shallow root systems is particularly susceptible to late summer heat. The deeper a grass’s root system, the more capable it is of reaching moisture deeper in the soil during times of drought. When roots are shallow, they can dry out faster, leading to burnt patches. 

5. Stress and Fungal Diseases

Minimal water combined with higher temperatures can lead to slow grass growth and stress, making the lawn more susceptible to fungal diseases. Some fungi thrive in the warm, dry conditions of late summer, further exacerbating the burn. 

How to Fix or Revive Burnt Grass

1. Adequate Watering

Watering your lawn is the most direct way to combat drought conditions. Early morning is the best time to water to reduce evaporation, allowing the moisture to penetrate deeply and encourage root growth. Be cautious not to over-water, as it can lead to shallow roots and increased susceptibility to disease. 

Understanding the right type and amount of fertilizer for your specific grass type is crucial. It’s often beneficial to do a soil test to determine what nutrients your lawn needs. Applying the correct amount of fertilizer will keep your lawn healthy without risking over-fertilization. 

For pet owners, designating a specific area for your dog to do its business can help. Alternatively, you can water the area immediately after your pet urinates to dilute the nitrogen content and reduce the risk of burning the grass. 

4. Encourage Deep Root Growth

To protect against shallow roots, encourage deeper root growth by watering less frequently but more deeply. This technique persuades the roots to grow downwards in search of moisture. Aerate your lawn to improve water penetration and consider adding a layer of organic compost to further encourage root depth. 

lawn mower height settings

Regularly mowing, aerating, and dethatching your lawn can help keep it healthy and resilient. During drought conditions, consider raising the cutting height of your mower to shade the soil and reduce water evaporation. 

6. Fungus Control

If your lawn is suffering from a fungal disease, consider a fungicide. Choose a product designed to combat the specific type of fungus affecting your lawn, and apply it as directed. 


Late summer can be challenging for lawns, but understanding the causes of burnt grass and implementing effective solutions can help you maintain a lush, healthy lawn throughout the season. At NG Turf, we are dedicated to providing you with the knowledge and resources to keep your lawn looking its best. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Turfgrass Professionals at 770.832.8608 or  info@NGTurf.com. 


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