Why Does My Lawn Smell Bad?

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Dealing with a spotty lawn is already frustrating enough so one can understand your frustration when, on top of dealing with that, your lawn also starts to give off an unpleasant smell. To make matters worse, sometimes you may have no idea what’s causing the stench.

Your lawn could be giving off a bad smell for a lot of reasons so before you start to panic, be sure to do your research. Although it’s a problem that many people don’t talk about, it’s one that should certainly be discussed. 

What Type of Odor Is Your Lawn Giving Off?

The type of smell your grass is giving off depends on a lot of things so it’s important to be able to distinguish smells. For one, if your grass smells musty, chances are that you may have a fungus problem.

Usually, you can tell when your lawn is rotting or dying off because of the color.

If it’s yellow or brown, it’s a sign that something is off. However, sometimes smell can be a telling sign that something is wrong.

A musty smell can be a sign that your grass has a fungus that is wreaking havoc on your lawn.

The problem is, how can you tell what type of fungus is responsible?

What Type of Fungus Could Be Causing the Problem?

If you want to be able to distinguish between different types of fungi, you should pay close attention to your grass.

You’ll be able to tell if the fungus that’s killing off your yard is a dollar spot because of the small circular patches it leaves behind.

Red Thread Fungus

Red thread fungus, on the other hand, is much easier to identify because it gives your grass a dark brown or red color, hence the name.

Snow Mold

Pink and gray snow mold may also be another reason why your grass smells off.

This is more noticeable in the spring because it’s when it usually happens.

You can always tell if snow mold is what is ruining your grass if you see pink or gray patches on your grass.

Helminthosporium leafspot

Helminthosporium leafspot is another type of fungus that may appear on your grass.

You can typically find this type of fungus most active during cool, moist weather.

This type of fungus is harder to stop because by the time you notice it, all the damage may be done.

This particular fungus also has the ability to kill an entire grass patch, roots included, after spots appear on your grass blades.


There could be another type of fungus called Pythium that may be giving your lawn a strange, fishy smell.

It is incredibly dangerous to grass and is more likely to appear on golf courses or other athletic fields. When Pythium fungus is around, your grass may feel greasy and continue to give off a very unpleasant smell.

Fusarium blight

Lastly, if your yard is giving off an unpleasant smell, it could be due to a type of fungus called Fusarium blight.

You can determine whether or not this is the culprit by simply looking at your grass.

If the grass is starting to look brown, is patchy, and takes on a straw-like appearance, chances are that it’s Fusarium blight.

Why Is My Lawn Growing Fungus?

Now that you know what’s causing the foul smell coming from your yard, you may be curious to know how exactly any type of fungus made its way into your lawn.

When it comes to fungus, humidity is typically the reason behind why it appears.

Perhaps the climate where you live has been more wet than usual, or you may be guilty of overwatering your grass.

Whatever the reason may be, if fungus has appeared in your yard, it’s probably because it’s too wet.

The extra humidity may also be caused by the fact that your lawn is in a shady area and isn’t getting enough sunlight. As a result, morning dew may pile up on your lawn and cause it to retain too much of it. This can be avoided by making sure that your grass is always mowed and doesn’t have any extra brush constantly covering it up.

why does my lawn smell bad?

How to Get Rid of Your Smelly Problem

You now know what’s causing your lawn’s strange odor, so how do you fix it? Look no further. When it comes to fighting fungi, we’ve got the answers you need.

You can always resort to fungicides, which aren’t guaranteed to be successful. This is because of the fact that the only way to salvage your grass is by applying the fungicide before your grass is dead. However, you can’t know in advance unless you can spot the signs beforehand.

Because there are so many different types of fungus that could be causing your problems, there are also many different ways of dealing with it.

The best thing would be for you to call an expert to help you deal with your fungus problem.

Prevent the Problem Before it Happens

Now that you’re informed about fungi and the many different types there are, you should be able to prevent them from forming in your lawn.

One way to do this is by making sure that you’re collecting all the dead grass from your yard after you have mowed your lawn. If you leave it to sit, it can retain fungus spores in your lawn.

Another way to prevent your grass from being infected by smelly fungus is by making sure that you are keeping it fertilized.

Keeping it watered is also a good way of fighting off infection. The healthier your grass is, the more it will be capable of fighting against fungus.

If you have noticed that the area you live in has been going through a drought, make sure that you are watering your lawn as often as you can. Not only will this prevent it from getting a fungus, but it will also keep it from drying out.

The length that you cut your grass is also important. There’s a fine line, and you have to make sure that you’re not overstepping it. Make sure your grass is cut short, but not too short. The ideal length for healthy grass is about two to two and a half inches.

Getting Rid of the Smell

If these solutions aren’t working for you and you simply can’t get rid of your bad-smelling grass, you may just have to find a way to neutralize the odor. You can do this by following these simple steps.

For one, you can try and rake your grass into a warmer area. If your grass is not getting enough sunlight, it could be an invitation for fungus to grow. Either make room for sunlight to come through or rake your grass away from the shade. Before you put your rake away, make sure that you are also fluffing up the decaying areas as much as possible. This is to aerate the soil and flip it around to try and make it healthier.

You may also want to look into improving drainage in your soil. A moist yard is a breeding ground for fungus so at this point, you may have to call in the experts for help.

Other Reasons for Your Smelly Yard

Your lawn may not always be to blame for the smells coming from your backyard.

If you’ve got pets, you may be dealing with a buildup of feces, and it might be time to do some cleaning up.

Before you start blaming it on your pets, however, your lawn could be smelly simply because of the weather. Believe it or not, long-term saturated conditions can smell of sulfur, which is just a nice way of saying farts. When there’s not enough oxygen being circulated, it could cause a sulfuric odor to be emitted from the ground.

Bugs may also be to blame for the stink in your yard.

Stinkbugs are infamous for their name, which was given for good reason. Stinkbugs tend to give off a heinous smell when they are killed. Even when they are alive, these bugs give off an unpleasant smell as a way to attract their prey.

In Summary – Why Does My Lawn Smell Bad?

Your lawn may smell bad for the time being but the good news is that now you know what’s causing it. If it’s your grass, at least you know that you can do something about it. Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to keep it healthy, even if you think that you’re doing too much.

And if you have pets, keep an eye on them and where they go to do their necessities. Animals are creatures of habit and once they’ve found a bathroom spot in your yard, they won’t let it go. Break this bad habit by encouraging them to use the bathroom elsewhere.

If you have fungus in your grass, be sure to research what type it is before you do anything about it.

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