When brown wheel tracks or footprints show in a lawn during the warm summer months, the grass is drought-stressed. The grass will turn a dull bluish-green color and prints won’t disappear within a few minutes. During the spring and late fall, prints are usually from traffic on frosted grass. Frost should be allowed to melt off of the grass before foot and mower traffic is allowed on the grass.
Drought-stressed grass should be watered before any mowing, fertilizing, or traffic on the grass is allowed. Mow often enough so that no more than an inch of grass is removed at any single mowing and continue with normal or slightly increased watering.
The grass will recover within 10 to 21 days. Fertilizer will not significantly help the recovery process.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).