Lawn mower oil on the grass green.

What is heat-tracking?

The combination of high temperatures and traffic or mowing sod may result in heat-tracking damage.

Often, heat-tracking is the result of mowers running over the turf when it is near the wilting point. The result is damage that may look like the grass has burned tire tracks. If the lawn is starting to look blueish or you notice foot printing on the turf, it’s likely that any sort of traffic (mowers or people) will result in heat-tracking.

To prevent this from happening avoid mowing during the hottest time of the day when the turf is under stress.

Although a lawn with heat-tracking damage can look really bad, the good news is that it isn’t permanent. Rain and cooler temps should help the turf recover within a week or two.

Kevin Frank

Michigan State University Extension

Department of Crop and Soil Sciences

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