Why Is My Grass Turning White In Some Spots?

A green lawn is a good sign that everything is growing well, and with the exception of dormant periods should be the main color of our turf.

Key Points:

  • A green lawn is an ideal color for healthy turf, with white patches indicating that something is out of balance.
  • White grass can be caused by fungal diseases like powdery mildew, overfertilization, or watering at night.
  • Taking steps such as aerating the lawn and using mold-resistant turf can help stop and possibly reverse grass whitening.

Explosions of other colors, like blues, can indicate weeds or flowers popping up, and yellow or brown out of season may show stress, but overall your lawn will be a pleasant shade of green, certainly not white.

So if your grass is turning white and you didn’t allow any white clover or other nitrogen-fixing plants to grow in your lawn, you may need to take a closer look.

Hopefully, you don’t live in a location where there is a chance of white spider webs all over your lawn or where you can tell if it is a covering of snow making your grass green.

If you can’t figure out the cause of white grass in your lawn, read this article to get some help.

What Causes White Grass?

White Spots in Grass

The main cause of white grass is powdery mildew, and this is a simple fungal disease to fix. In a lot of ways, white grass can be a gentle way of your turf telling you that something is out of balance and needs to be corrected.

If the white turns out to not be a superficial mold and something happens to the blades of grass themselves, you will need to take immediate drastic action to possibly save your lawn. If white grass has happened in your lawn before then, you may even need to invest in disease-resistant grass seed varieties to keep your lawn safe, healthy, and green. 

Why is My Grass White?

All kinds of things can turn your grass white, like mildew with snow mold or high heat and drought. Bleaching can be a result of chemicals, an attack on foliage, or an unknown root problem.

Unlike yellow or brown grass, white grass often means recovery is impossible, but finding out exactly what is going on may give your lawn turf.

Below is the common reason why your grass may be white and info on how it happens.

Powdery Mildew

White patches on grass blades that spread and indicate the presence of the fungus Erysiphe graminis. This fungus thrives in damp and shaded conditions and is unlikely to occur in cold or sunny lawns. Young blades of grass are more susceptible than a mature or resistant type of grass. 

Damaged Turf

Patches of grass that have been scalped or scorched can take on a white and ashy appearance. Root suffocation from grassy weeds and an extreme lack of sunlight can also cause whitening and the appearance of sick grass.

Prolonged cloudy conditions and compaction will also turn the grass white and invite lawn diseases. 

Gray Leaf Spot Disease

Bleached white spots appear on blades of grass, and a general loss of color and ashy appearance will move across your turf. Overfertilization and high humidity can lead to this condition, and the white spots that appear are seen with darkened leaf blade edges.

Avoid watering the lawn at night to prevent diseases such as this. 

Fusarium Patch

A more common lawn disease that can affect several grass types and thrives in cool, damp conditions. Grass affected by this form of lawn disease will appear soggy in the morning hours before white spots on grass blades appear. 

Fusarium Blight

 Attacks Kentucky bluegrass and leads to grayish-looking grass and bleached spots. If your area suffers from grass afflictions, you will need to find mildew-resistant grass varieties to grow. 

Steps to Prevent White Grass

Spots in Lawn

 If you see white grass or any sort of discolored lawn, you will want to act quickly and check out the problem. Powdery mildew and its white powder-like spores can indicate that your lawn soil is unhealthy, and continued powdery mildew activity may lead to more problems.

Take these steps to stop the spread of white color in your lawn and possibly reverse grass whitening and save your lawn. 

Increase SunlightTrimm trees and let shade-tolerant grasses like tall fescues experience more sunlightExtra energy for plant defense and sterilization from solar radiation can help grass gain its green color and fight off common lawn diseases like powdery mildew
Reduce Fertilizer TreatmentGive your lawn several weeks before applying fertilizer to let the lawn use what it there and reduce grass whitening from overfertilizationA bit of time will let your grass absorb enough water to flush the excess fertilizer in overfertilized lawns and prevent a common reason grass turfs turn white
Water Less FrequentlyA common cause of grass whitening is a fungal disease that can come from soggy lawn soil caused by overwatering or watering at night  Watering a lawn at night will cause lawn fungal outbreaks and increase weed growth to the point where selective herbicides and fungicides are needed 
Cut Grass LowerReduce the blade height at a safe rate, 1/3 of the height at a time, until it is as short as your turf can tolerateIncreased airflow and solar radiation will remove any fungal organisms negatively affecting your turf and allow you to correct and monitor any other issues with your soil and turf
Aerate the LawnUse a core aerator or other method of aeration to increase air circulation and break up compaction at the grass blade surface areas where the powder is likely to growLess chance for disease and weeds to encroach on your turf and cause conditions like lawn discoloration and whitening
Apply a Natural FungicideA lawn spreader can safely apply natural fungicides like baking soda, or a commercial product can be usedAll existing fungi should die quickly, and future harmful molds will be prevented if treatment is continued during high-risk times of the year
Reseed with a Mold-Resistant TurfA lawn that is constantly fighting fungus might need to be reseeded with a combination of grass or a mold resident varietyGrass will be able to grow even when susceptible to mold, and any infection will be localized to small patches and unable to spread easily, preventing the death of an entire lawn and giving you time to deal with the issues

Can I Restore Green Lawn after It Has Turned White?

Depending on the cause of your white lawn, it may be possible to help your grass recover.

Most fungi can be treated with natural or commercial products, and after treatment, grass will recover. Diseased grass can come back if poor soil conditions are fixed and the correct light and nutrient levels are restored. It is very unlikely for turf that has turned white to recover and regain its green without hard work and some cost for proper products.

Left alone, white grass will die and present worse problems for your lawn.

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