Signs of Too Much Nitrogen in Lawn

Nitrogen is one of the essential nutrients for a healthy lawn, but too much Nitrogen can cause problems. Nitrogen overuse leads to decreased water-holding capacity, unhealthy turf, and increased weed growth. But how can you tell when there is excessive Nitrogen on your Lawn?

Knowledge is power; learning about using lawn nutrients properly and spot problems can help you get a healthy green lawn for many years.

This article will discuss some of the signs of too much Nitrogen in Lawn. Let’s dive right in.

Signs of Too Much Nitrogen in Lawn

1. Burnt Grass Tips

One of the most common signs of too much Nitrogen is burnt tips on the grass. If your Lawn was green and healthy a few days ago but now has burnt-looking tips or dead patches, you probably need to reduce nitrogen levels.

The problem with an overdose of Nitrogen in the soil is that it leaches beyond the root zone. This is especially true with newer, highly permeable sandy soils that are prone to leaching and runoff.

2. Stripes Patches of Brown

You can also tell if the Lawn has too much Nitrogen by looking at its color. If it is mostly green with only a few areas turning brown, you probably don’t have a problem.

However, if your Lawn has a patchwork quilt appearance that is half-green and half-brown, or even wholly brown, you should consider either reducing your fertilization program or adding more nitrogen-fixing plants

3. Thin Grass and Poor Growth

Signs of too much Nitrogen include thin, weak turf – sometimes even to the point of scalping. Another sign is poor Growth compared with neighboring lawns that do not receive as much Nitrogen.

This is an effect of increased leaf growth and less root development when there is too much Nitrogen in the soil.

4. Low pH/Increased acidity

When soil pH drops below 6.0, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain good turf quality. Acidic soils are usually low in calcium and magnesium, which reduces the effectiveness of fertilizer nutrients.

Soil pH is a good indicator of how much lime is needed to counteract Nitrogen-based fertilizer acidity.

Also read: When to use triple 13 fertilizer

5. Weed Problems

Typically, Nitrogen promotes the Growth of turfgrass, but too much can cause poor root growth. A lack of deep, healthy roots makes lawns susceptible to weed invasion.

Signs include an increase in crabgrass and broadleaf weeds like dandelions or spurge. Overuse of Nitrogen is the most common cause of weed invasion in lawns.

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How to Reduce Nitrogen on Lawn

It is essential to understand that it is almost impossible to eliminate all the Nitrogen in your soil. The best way to reduce Nitrogen on the Lawn is by lowering your fertilization program overall or adding something that uses additional Nitrogen from the soil.

To lower excess levels of Nitrogen in your Lawn, you can:

  • Add organic matter like peat moss or compost to your Lawn: Organic matter takes Nitrogen out of the soil and releases it slowly over time, reducing the overall amount in the soil.
  • Spread a more organic mulch around trees and plants:  A layer of mulch will help hold water in the soil and minimize nitrogen loss due to leaching. Ideally, the mulch should be an inch or two thick.
  • Add nitrogen-fixing plants:  You can also add plants that thrive off Nitrogen, such as tomatoes, peppers, and clover, to your garden. This plants will remove the Nitrogen from the soil and provide you with a food crop
  • Replace highly permeable soils: If your soil is sandy or overly porous, it may be time to add more organic matter and use less fertilizer. These soils are especially prone to leaching and excess nitrogen loss
  • Don’t use nitrogen-containing herbicides:  If you use synthetically-based herbicides, stay away from Nitrogen products. If enough of the product makes it to your Lawn, it can make an excessive amount of Growth, which will attract more weeds and lower the overall health of your grass
  • Add sawdust to the soil: Now that we’ve discussed organic material in your Lawn, sawdust is another excellent thing to add. It acts as an amendment that allows for better drainage and healthier soil overall. The carbon in the sawdust can tie up Nitrogen for an extended period.  The more carbon you add to your soil, the less Nitrogen it will hold on to.

While it is imperative to understand the remedies for excessive Nitrogen in lawns, it is pretty crucial that you know how to test your soil for Nitrogen.

The pH levels for your soil can indicate the level of Nitrogen in your Lawn. You can use simple pH test strips or a special kit designed to detect nitrogen levels.

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How to Neutralize Nitrogen in Lawn

Nitrogen has a robust and positive bond to the soil, and it must be broken before any changes can occur.

Neutralizing Nitrogen in lawns usually requires some chemical treatment or other powerful techniques, some of which include:

1. Flushing Your Soil

Soil flushing is a process that uses water pressure and force to move particles around in the soil. It can be used to help reduce excess levels of Nitrogen in your Lawn.

To do this, you can hire a professional or rent a soil flusher from your local home and garden store. You will need to run water through the soil reasonably to move the particles around.

2. Using Sugar

You can also use Sugar, a readily available natural product, to reduce the amount of Nitrogen in your soil. Sugar contains carbon, which attracts and holds Nitrogen.

It is relatively inexpensive, though not particularly effective. You can use it to help neutralize Nitrogen, but you’ll have to apply it often.

3. Use Agriculture Lime

You can use agriculture lime to reduce the amount of Nitrogen in your Lawn.

Agricultural lime changes the pH level of your soil, which reduces how much Nitrogen your soil can hold. It is very effective, though it can be a little expensive.

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How to tell if Lawn has Too Much Nitrogen (FAQs)

When should I put Nitrogen on my Lawn?

The best time to put Nitrogen on the Lawn is early spring, March, or April. Ideally, you should avoid late winter application of Nitrogen because cold weather can prevent the Nitrogen from being appropriately absorbed by the grass.

What does Nitrogen do to lawns?

Nitrogen is an essential part of any lawn. It helps grass grow and turn green by providing nutrients in the form of synthetic ammonia.

Although Nitrogen enhances a lawn’s appearance, it is possible to have too much Nitrogen in your soil.

How often can I put Nitrogen in my Lawn?

It is generally not recommended to add Nitrogen to your Lawn more than three times a year. This limits the amount of Nitrogen that is absorbed into the ground as well as the growth of weeds

How Much Nitrogen for Lawn

 One pound of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet is the rough estimate to maintain a healthy lawn. This may vary slightly for different grasses and soil types, but this amount will work with most grasses in most soils.

Using more may lead to healthier plants but may also lead to more weed growth. Using less may provide a decreasing quality of Lawn and leave it vulnerable to weeds and other pests.  

To figure out how much Nitrogen you need for your home lawn, estimate the square footage of your property and add an extra 10%.

Signs of too much Nitrogen in Lawn can be hard to recognize. Symptoms may include an abundance of weeds, unhealthy-looking grass blades, yellowing leaves on the trees and bushes near your Lawn, or brown spots on your green turf.

A simple way to tell if there is too much Nitrogen in your Lawn is by testing it with a soil pH test strip or kit that detects how much Nitrogen is currently present in your yard’s soil.

Depending on what type of fertilizer you are using for your Lawn, adding sawdust to the soil will help reduce excess levels of Nitrogen over time and sugar, which can also help neutralize excessive amounts of nitrate in the dirt.


  • Ricky

    Hi, I’m Ricky. I’ve been involved in lawn care and landscaping from when I was 15. To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of pushing mowers, collecting grass clippings, and maintaining flowerbeds at the time. But having seem the passion my parents had for gardening and outdoors and the effort they put in maintaining the health and beauty of our landscape, I couldn’t help but not only admire their hard work but also I became a part of it. As someone who loves to spend time with nature’s best, I find myself learning a lot more about gardening and outdoors on a daily basis. Not to mention I love to share the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with my readers at We Mow Dallas. To be clear, I don’t have a Master’s degree in gardening or anything like that. Everything I’ve learned about gardening, landscaping, and lawn care spring from passion and engagement with my parents. And with a ton of free information out there, plus the ability to run tests and determine what works best for lawn care and landscaping, every day is an opportunity to learn and implement something new. My goal with We Mow Dallas is to teach you exactly how to maintain your lawn and landscape. And since I walk the talk in reality, you shouldn’t hesitate to join me in this wonderful world of landscaping and lawn care. K Beatrice

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