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Five Factors Affecting the Green of your Grass

In our neck of the woods, the lawns have now had a teasing taste of spring. As the grasses begin to come alive and “green up,” there are often noticeable differences in the colors. There may even be differences within the same lawn.

What is going on? A number of factors can influence the green up timing of your lawn, including—

  1. Temperature – both of the soil and air
  2. Soil Type
  3. Moisture
  4. Fertilization
  5. Grass type

Soil Type and Temperature

Your lawn’s soil may warm up slower than the surrounding air, so it may take several warm sunny days to warm the soil enough to affect the grass plants. Sunny sides of buildings and hillsides may green up faster due to the faster temperature build up. Turf along driveways and sidewalks may also green up faster than other sections due to reflected heat. Conversely, grass in cooler, shadier areas of the lawn will be slow to green up.
Soil type may also affect green up due to its composition and water holding qualities. Many dense soils are slower to warm up but hold the heat longer. These soils, however, are more difficult to wet.

Moisture and Fertilization

Moisture can vary throughout a lawn. Soil type, as mentioned above, is a consideration. The presence of tree or other plant material canopy may negatively affect moisture in the soil. Large plants and trees also tend to use up available moisture very quickly. Compacted soil in high traffic areas also leave soil hard to wet, causing the grass to struggle.
Fertilizer (particularly the amount, analysis, and application timing) also affect green up timing. Grass plants that have had adequate nutrients prior to Spring typically green up faster. Early spring fertilization also helps the greening process.

Grass Types

Different grass types green up at different rates. Sometimes even different varieties of the same type of grass green up at different rates. Some grasses, like Zoysia, will not begin to green up at all until late in spring.

Grasses, even though they seem to be similar, are affected by many factors. Lawns, being made up of communities of grasses, respond in differing ways to environmental factors as discussed above.

Is your lawn greening up now that spring is in full swing?