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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Nutrient deficiencies

Nitrogen-deficient turfgrass
Photo by Ali Harivandi

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Nitrogen is the most common nutrient deficiency observed in turfgrass. Nitrogen-deficient turfgrass turns yellow and has reduced vigor.

Iron deficiency is common in alkaline soils. Symptoms of iron deficient turf include yellow or bleached spots, which give leaf blades a mottled appearance.

Potassium deficiency causes leaves to turn yellow and brown on margins.

Phosphorus deficiencies cause leaves to turn purple, creating dark areas in turf.

Prevention and management

Follow recommended fertilization rates for your turfgrass species. Turfgrass grows best in soils that are not too acidic or alkaline and with a pH in the range of 6 to 7. A professional soil analysis may be necessary to determine which nutrients are lacking in your soil and can provide you with information about what to add to your soil to maintain an ideal soil pH.


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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