You Are At: AllSands Home > Gardening > Chemical and fertilizer burn in lawns
What is it?

Fertilizers, pesticides, gasoline and other chemicals may burn the lawn if accidentally spilled or applied incorrectly. Excessive amounts of these chemicals will cause the lawn to dry out and die.

What does it look like?

Damage can be in the form of irregular patches, or definite curves and lines. These areas turn yellow and die while surrounding grass remains green and healthy.

How does it manifest?

Typically, the damage appears within three days of the spill on the lawn with patches identifying the exact area of the spill. These areas do not spread or widen once they show up.

What can you do about it?

If you spill on the lawn, clean up quickly by rinsing away water-soluble materials 3 to 5 times longer than you would usually water the area. In non-water soluble products such as gasoline, flood the area with water and dishwashing detergent diluted to a strength that you would use to wash dishes. Let it set a few minutes, and rinse away as above. Some substances cannot be washed away from the soil. If this is the case, such as with preemergent herbicides, work activated charcoal into the soil to deactivate the herbicide. The best way to prevent damage of this sort is to never take your chemical containers or sprayers onto the lawn itself, but keep them in the back of a wagon, on cement or a driveway and always apply fertilizers and other chemicals exactly as directions indicate.