When I try to mow my lawn to a normal shortish height it looks yellow as the stalks (stems) of the grass are too long and the green leaves are cut off.

Is there any way to make the grass put it's green leaves out at this lower height? Anyone know how? Grass is about 2 inches when I lift it straight but it doesn't stand up straight by itself. The stalks kind of lie down a bit in all directions.



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    – Stephie
    Jun 25, 2016 at 16:31
  • Where the whitest patches are, it you tug on the stalks, are they still attached to roots, or do they just lift off? And I'm not entirely sure I can't see evidence of either fine webbing or possibly fuzzy mould in the last picture, or is it just your mower needs sharpening?
    – Bamboo
    Jun 25, 2016 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


Grasses typically have an associated height at which they're healthiest, but most can be trained shorter or longer.

To train them shorter or is a process that takes a couple of weeks, with progressively shorter mows every 3-4 days, taking 25% or less of the grass when you mow.

Very short (1.25 inches or less) grass, in the midsummer sun, is a pretty tall order for many species. Most can handle 2", if they're taken there progressively. Shorter than that, and you start running into roadblocks with some grasses who need some height to trap moisture or produce healthy blades.

If your grass is already brown, I suspect you either have a finicky species, or there was too much cut off at one point.

If you desire grass-only, I recommend you keep your lawn at 2"-2.5" while it nurses itself back to health. Water weekly, spread some lawn lime with a deep watering, don't feed NPK when it's this hot, though, unless you have a stellar sprinkler system.

If you go freedom lawn, just mow it to the height you want and nature will fill in the gaps.

  • Thanks. It was scalped last year but I've been mowing it longer for ages. I tried a bit shorter this time as our toddler keeps tripping on longer grass but it is still brown and stalky. What's "freedom lawn"? Sounds fun!
    – user15149
    Jun 25, 2016 at 17:46
  • No no no. 3" NO SHORTER. Grass can't be trained shorter or longer. That is just not true. I'd like to know what and when you fertilized. Any other chemicals that you might have used? Does this area get any sun during the day for at least 4-5 hours? Toddlers need to trip and fall and what fun. Freedom lawn is lazy pasture. tch tch. You own a lawn you have got responsibilities that aren't tough but critical, mowing height, watering practices, fertilizer knowledge, aeration....freedom lawn, Paul. Nursing itself back to health. Sigh. Never do any lime without tests!!
    – stormy
    Jun 25, 2016 at 20:53
  • I'm not an expert on grass, I just have a little experience with a few different lawns and a couple sites I pop into when I need info. better-lawn-care.com/lawn-mowing.html gives a list of 13 common grasses, and none of them have a minimum height greater than 2.5 inches. Most grasses (ime and according to lawn care websites) can handle 2"-2.5" height and flourish (and nurse itself back to health). -- Tests are completely unnecessary for liming every couple of years. NPK displaces minerals on uptake. If you spill a bag of lime, pick up most of it and just wash away what remains. Jun 26, 2016 at 4:35
  • Freedom Lawn: You feed, water, and mow how you want, and nature does its thing in your lawn. -- I'm consistent with my lawn care, but I'm not crazy about grass. My lawn is grass, moss, Creeping Charlie, Creeping Myrtle, Plantain. It's not what we're told is pretty, but it is insanely healthy. Grass-only lawns are expensive, annoying, and if you know about ecology, kind of gross. They're supermodels on life support - freedom lawns are more like a fight-ready Rhonda Rousey. Jun 26, 2016 at 4:38
  • Paul - meet Dutch White Clover, a Freedom (lawn) Fighter if ever there was one, at least if you believe in giving a little bit of a helping hand. ;-)
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 27, 2016 at 19:37

There are two possible issues to address. Inadequate water or fertilizer. When was the last time you fertilized the lawn. Does the brown area get sufficient water ? Check the sprinklers and adjust as needed

  • 1
    Hi, lots of water lately as it's been raining a lot. I used a non-scorch lawn feed with seaweed (3%nitrogen, 1% iron, 3% potassium oxide, 1%/0.1% phosphorous pentoxide) after mowing to try to help green up the lawn. It's not the cause of the brown bits as they were there before but it's not helped either.
    – user15149
    Jun 28, 2016 at 8:07

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