Every homeowner wants a green and healthy lawn. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, the lawn simply fails to grow.
The cool thing is you can bring back dead grass.
What kills grass?
Grass can die from many things such as:
Dull lawnmower blades don’t cut grass cleanly. Instead, they rip or tear the blades resulting in jagged edges.
The edges brown within a few days giving your lawn an uneven look. The jagged edges also serve as entryways for diseases and parasites that can kill the grass.
When you mow with dull blades, the grass momentarily wraps itself around the mower blades before it rips or tears. This puts unnecessary strain on the lawnmower, which can shorten the life of the lawnmower components.
Before you begin mowing, inspect the cutting blades. If they are dull, sharpen them. Grass cut with sharp blades recovers fast and is more likely to resist pests and diseases.
Pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, and even Gasoline lead to dead grass when spilled. When you apply the fertilizer unevenly or incorrectly, it burns the grass.
Insect repellants have also been shown to burn a lawn.
If you allow your dog to go to your backyard, its urine can lead to a dead lawn. Urine makes the lawn turn yellow, sometimes with a bright green ring around the edges.
Poor soil quality
It’s common to plant grass on a healthy lawn, but the lawn will turn yellow as the soil quality declines over time.
Water runs off the slopes carrying grass and young shoots with it. This leaves the ground bare and dried out. As a consequence, you have an ugly, unhealthy lawn.
While too much water will damage a lawn, so is the lack of it. Lawns need at least one inch of water every week to grow.
This can be from rainfall or irrigation. Lack of enough water leads to a dry, compacted lawn that is ugly to look at.
Sometimes the grass will get dormant. Cool-season lawns get dormant during the summer heat while the warm-season lawn will get dormant during winter.
If your lawn has a mix of grasses, you are bound to have brown patches as some of the areas go dormant while others stay green.
Lawns are affected by all types of diseases that vary depending on the type of grass. The most common ones arefungal diseasesthat thrive in moist conditions.
Thatch might not be a disease–it’s a buildup of decaying grass blades that build up too thick that they choke out the healthy grass.
But when you let it accumulate for a long time, it has the same impact as that brought about by lawn diseases.
There are plenty of insects that can affect your lawn, and they can result in a dead lawn. Some of the most common insects are the Chinch bugsthat often affect the warm-season lawns.
Other insects that affect lawns include caterpillars and many others.
You need to work with a professional who will guide you on how to check for Chinch bugs and how to get rid of them.
Ways to bring back dead grass
If your grass has started to show signs of dying, you don’t have to worry as there are several things you can do to get the dead grass to grow.
Some of the things you can do include:
#1: Water it
If your grass is dying due to lack of water, water will come in handy at reviving it. The best time to water the lawn is in the morning (before 10 am).
At this time, it’s cooler, and the winds are calmer; therefore, the water will soak into the soil.
The water will also easily get into the grassroots before it can evaporate.
If you don’t have time to water in the morning due to a tight schedule, you should consider watering it in the evening. When doing it, ensure you water between 4 and 6 pm.
When you water it at this time, you will give the grass blades enough time to dry before nightfall.
You should note that the later in the day you water your lawn, the higher the chances you will have diseases on your lawn.
When it comes to the amount of water you should use, apply water until it’s 6-9 inches of soil. Avoid overwatering the lawn as you will kill the grass.
There are several things you can do to tell your lawn has had enough. The first thing is to check the time it takes the soil to soak in the water.
If the lawn isn’t soaking in the water fast enough, you should stop applying water.
#2: Weed it
Are there weeds growing on your lawn? If they are there, it’s time you think about removing them. You can weed the lawn using a hand-weeding tool or weed popper.
Avoid using herbicides as they are known to cause more problems than the value they bring to the table.
All-purpose weed killers douse the lawn with chemicals that the grass doesn’t need, leading to an ugly lawn.
#3: Get rid of thatch
Thatch is a layer of dead grass, stems, roots, leaves, and other debris known to choke the lawn.
Thatch sits between the soil and the tips of grass shoots, blocking water absorption.
When you remove thatch, you not only get rid of choking grass, you also leave your lawn looking beautiful and well kept.
There are plenty of tools you can use to get rid of thatch. You can use aspring-tine rakeor use the same tool you use torake acornswith.
If you have a small yard, you can remove the thatch yourself, but if the yard is large and you don’t have the necessary tools, you are better off hiring a professional to help you out.
#4: Re-seed it
From its name, re-seeding is simply applying more grass seed to the lawn. The new seed covers the bare patches that might have been left by the dying grass.
To re-seed your lawn, you need to start by digging up the dead grass with a shovel.
You should then mix the existing soil with an organic humus compound to give the soil as many nutrients as possible, then plant new grass seed and top with fertilizer. Don’t be afraid of over-seeding.
You should note that the denser the new grass, the fewer the weeds it will have, the less maintenance it requires.
After planting grass, cover the seeded area with a light layer of peat moss. This layer seals in moisture, leaving the grass green and healthy.
How you water the seeded area greatly determines how well the grass grows. For ideal results, don’t water the area unless the top 2-3 inches of the soil is dry.
You should note that over-watered lawns develop deep root systems, which exposes them to plenty of pests and heat stress.
In the event, weeds come up, remove them by hand. You can also use a weed-popping tool to remove them. Again, don’t use chemicals.
You should limit foot or pet traffic over the seeded area until the grass reaches a substantial height.
#5: Feed it
Nothing has been shown to revive dead grass as fast as fertilizer. While the fertilizer is highly effective, you should be cautious about how you apply it.
As a rule of thumb, ensure you only apply it once the grass is growing.
Don’t apply it on newly sown grass seed or turf as it will turn brown.
To minimize the number of chemicals you put on your lawn, avoid using chemical fertilizers. As an alternative, use liquid seaweed.
#6: Leave clippings behind
Grass clippings contain nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, all of which are integral to the growth of a healthy lawn.
You need tomow your lawn with a lawnmower that allows you to leave the clippings behind.
Once the clippings decompose, the nutrients return to the soil, leaving you with a healthier, greener lawn.
#7: Aerate it
Other than water and nutrients, grass also needs air to thrive. There might not be a shortage of air outside, but it might fail to reach the grassroots.
Lack of air into the soil often results from soil compaction. This is when grass, dirt, or thatch density is too thick that the air doesn’t penetrate the soil.
Obviously, without air, the grass doesn’t grow as well as it’s supposed to.
To aerate the grass, you need to create holes in the ground for the air to get to the roots of the grass. You can use an aerator to do it. If you have a small lawn, you can use aerator shoes to achieve it.
How to tell whether the grass is dead or dormant
When the grass is dying, it turns brown, which can be confusing.
To avoid wasting time and resources trying to bring back grass that is completely dead, you should do your research and know whether the grass is dormant or completely dead.
There are several tests you can do:
Here you need to find a section of brown grass, grab some of it in your hand and pull. If the grass comes out easily without any resistance, it’s most likely dead.
There is no way dead grass will come back; therefore, you should start thinking about re-growing your lawn.
Pay attention to patterns.
Observe whether it’s the entire lawn that is brown or there are distinct patches of brown grass.
If the entire lawn is the same brown color, chances are the grass is dormant. If there are areas of circles of brown grass, these areas might be dead.
If this is the first time you are having issues with your lawn, you should consider working with an expert to help you.
By watering, you can tell whether your lawn is dead or not. When you water dormant grass, it will become green again, but dead grass will remain brown.
What if the grass won’t come back?
If the grass is already dead, you don’t have any other way out, other than to replace the old lawn.
Start with removing the old lawn. You can use solarization or herbicides.
Solarization makes use of the sun’s heat to kill the old grass and cooking it. For you to get the most from the process, cover the entire lawn with clear plastic.
Herbicides kill roots, weeds, and grass. They can also harm you if you arent keen when using them.
For ideal results, carefully read the instructions given on the label.
Afterremoving the old lawn, prepare the area for new grass, aerate the lawn, then apply compost on it.
The new lawn needs to be moist, but you should avoid applying too much water to it.
Water the lawn 5 minutes twice each morning for the first 2-3 weeks. You should water it once a day in the morning for 10-15 minutes until new grass shoots develop.
When the new shoots reach about 1 inch tall, spread a lawn fertilizer containing slow-release nitrogen.
The best way offertilizing the lawnis by using the slow-release formula. This is to avoid burning off the grass before it can mature.
It’s common to find some areas that don’t have enough grass. In such a case, you don’t have any other way out, other than to re-seed the lawn.
To save time, use sod instead of seeds. Purchase rolls of sod that fit the entire lawn area, unroll them, then water the lawn thoroughly. Water the sod daily to keep it moist for 2-3 weeks.
The other time you should water it is when the soil starts to feel dry.
Continue maintaining it by mowing it properly, applying the right amount of water, fertilizing it, aerating it, and doing all the right things that will keep the lawn in perfect shape.
How do I bring my dead grass back to life? ›
There is no way to revive dead grass, but you can lay new sod to grow your landscape again from scratch. If you notice brown, bare, or thinning areas in your lawn, these are clear signs that you need to sow new seed or replace the sod.Can dead grass grow back? ›
Dead grass appears brown and lifeless, no longer holding the green color or upright posture of healthy grass. Because it is dead, this grass can not be revived or brought back to health.How do you get rid of dead grass fast? ›
The best tool to remove dead grass in a small area might be a regular rake. Use it to scrape the top layer of dead grass and then remove the waste with an outdoor vacuum or your lawnmower before reseeding. If the dead grass problem is more extensive, a dethatcher or power rake might better suit your needs.How do I make my brown grass green fast? ›
Nitrogen will be helpful in order to make your grass go as green. Fast-release nitrogen will turn your grass into the green texture even much faster. Slow release of the nitrogen will be helpful in respect with the deep root growth of the grass. An ideal nitrogen ratio is about 50 to 70 percent soluble.Can you just sprinkle grass seed on lawn? ›
Can you just sprinkle grass seed on top of your existing lawn? While it's possible to simply sow the new grass seed over your existing lawn, taking the time to prepare your lawn beforehand will increase the likelihood of seed germination and improve your end result.Does watering dead grass help? ›
It's a common misconception that watering dead grass will bring it back to life. The truth is, when you water dead grass, it can actually make the situation worse. It can cause the roots in the ground to rot and decompose faster than they would if left alone.How long does it take to fix dead grass? ›
Bad news: If the grass is totally dead due to drought, there's no way to bring it back. However, reviving brown lawns that are simply dormant usually occurs within three to four weeks of regular irrigation.Does raking dead grass help it grow? ›
Raking a matted lawn can be very important after an intense winter, and you want to target the areas of your lawn that are brown and matted. This technique will help prevent dead areas and encourage healthy growth for the upcoming summer.How do you fix damaged grass? ›
- Remove rocks, debris, weeds with a rake. Using a rake, remove rocks and debris from the surface, as well as weeds and other unwanted plants.
- Spread a thin layer of new lawn soil. Spread a thin layer of new lawn soil. ...
- Spread the lawn seeds evenly. ...
- Water your new lawn.
- Remove dead material to expose the soil underneath it.
- Loosen the soil with a rake or hand tool.
- Flush damage from dogs and spills with water to move the contaminants through the soil.
- If necessary, add topsoil to bring the area back up to grade.
- Sprinkle seed and lightly scratch it into the soil.
How does vinegar fix dead grass? ›
That grass isn't going to grow back. Dig the area up, toss the soil, replace with fresh soil and reseed it. Vinegar is pretty lethal to plants and where it soaks in it kills the roots too.What fertilizer makes grass green fast? ›
The number one way to increase the green color in your lawn is with Nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the big three macronutrients needed in the greatest quantities for healthy turf. It promotes top growth in the lawn by pushing the production of chlorophyll in the plant.What is the secret to a green lawn? ›
Fertilize Your Lawn
Lawn fertilizer contains nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. These nutrients support the grass. That way, it grows strong from the roots and stays green, healthy and lush. Nitrogen is especially important for getting beautiful green grass.
The best time to plant grass seed for cool-season grasses is in early fall or around September. For warm-season grasses, late spring or early summer is the optimal time.Should I put topsoil over grass seed? ›
Do not put top soil over grass seed, but you can add a thin layer of organic matter to help the seed to germinate. 'Never put topsoil over newly planted grass seed,' says Yamaguchi. 'This won't provide healthy growing conditions – it will actually prevent the seedlings from sprouting by essentially suffocating them.Will grass seed grow on top of dirt? ›
Will grass seed germinate on top of the soil? Yes; in fact, germination will suffer if too much soil is placed on top of the seeds. The experts at Jonathan Green recommend placing a thin layer of mulch or topsoil over them to help keep them moist and warm and promote growth.Is it OK to leave dead grass on lawn? ›
As a general rule, grass clippings of an inch or less in length can be left on your lawn where they will filter down to the soil surface and decompose quickly. Remove longer clippings because they can shade or smother grass beneath causing lawn damage. Don't throw out bagged grass clippings as yard waste.Does fertilizer Help dead grass grow? ›
If grass has died, fertilizer will not revive it. If grass is dormant, add fertilizer during its growing season, which depends on the type of grass you have.How often should you water dead grass? ›
If needed, water twice a day. Keep it up until new grass sprouts and grows tall enough for its first mowing—about 3 to 4 inches in height. Once you reach that milestone, you can gradually transition over to a regular lawn care schedule, including about 1 inch of water per week.Will dead grass turn green again? ›
The grass will technically die naturally but will grow back when warm weather and proper watering occurs. Dormancy is nothing to worry about as it a natural protection mechanism to prevent it from fully dying.
How long does it take for dead grass to turn green? ›
Tip. When grass is dormant, the roots break dormancy first so they can sustain new top growth. As a rule of thumb, once the roots break dormancy, it may take two to four weeks before the top growth starts to grow and the grass greens up again.Is it better to rake wet or dry grass? ›
Be careful, you do not want to power rake when the grass is too dry and the blades of grass are brittle. This will just destroy your grass and affect the healthiness of your lawn. Furthermore, do not power rake when the soil is wet.What type of rake is best for dead grass? ›
Unlike a leaf rake that has wide tines to snag leaves, a dethatching rake's tines are thinner with a pointy tip that allows it to pull up dead grass without doing significant damage to the soil and healthy grass.How do I restore my lawn naturally? ›
Steps for Restoring a Lawn
Go across the lawn in a straight line and turn and repeat. Use a rake to gather all of the debris from the detatching step into piles and recycle or compost it. To fight soil compaction and allow water and nutrients to reach the roots, use the aerator.
Grass has phenomenal recuperative powers and in the right conditions lawns can quickly repair themselves. Weeds and weed grasses are survival experts and will often colonise damaged areas before your lawn can repair itself.How do I put moisture back into my soil? ›
Mix water-absorbing materials into your soil.
Organic material, such as coconut coir, peat moss, or even compost, will absorb water, retaining moisture that plants can use during dry spells.
Adding the salt to the vinegar does a better job of preventing weed regrowth than vinegar alone, but vinegar is not a permanent solution to all weed regrowth. Even with the salt added, the greenery will likely die before the root system is completely dried out, so regrowth may eventually occur.Will grass grow after using vinegar? ›
Regular kitchen vinegar controls broadleaf weeds more effectively than grass and grassy weeds. The grass may initially die back, but it often quickly recovers. Killing grass with vinegar would entail respraying the grass clump or grassy weed every time it regrows until it's finally destroyed.Which vinegar is best for killing grass? ›
Any type of vinegar will work as a weed-killer, although white is usually the cheapest. For large patches of weeds, fill up a spray bottle or pump sprayer with undiluted vinegar and apply liberally. This spray method is best for areas such as driveways, sidewalks and other areas where no vegetation is desired.Will watering dead grass bring it back? ›
It's a common misconception that watering dead grass will bring it back to life. The truth is, when you water dead grass, it can actually make the situation worse. It can cause the roots in the ground to rot and decompose faster than they would if left alone.
Can watering bring back dead grass? ›
You will also see the difference when you start to water or when rain returns as moisture will revive brown grass. However, it will not bring dead grass plants back to life.Can brown grass turn green again? ›
Grass can turn brown and go dormant when it's stressed by drought, heat, or both. It's your lawn's way of conserving energy and water, Mann explains. The grass will break dormancy and begin growing again when the temperatures and/or rainfall levels become more ideal for it.How long does it take to revive dead grass? ›
Bad news: If the grass is totally dead due to drought, there's no way to bring it back. However, reviving brown lawns that are simply dormant usually occurs within three to four weeks of regular irrigation.How long does it take for grass to regrow? ›
Whether you're repairing bare spots, overseeding an existing lawn or starting from scratch, you can generally expect grass seedlings to emerge within seven to 21 days when grown under proper conditions.How long can grass go without water? ›
In general, grass can go up to six weeks without water, depending on the condition of the lawn, soil and other environmental factors. It takes about two weeks of adequate moisture to revive dormant lawns.Is it worth watering brown grass? ›
Once water restrictions are lifted, soak the lawn to restore the soil's moisture and to initiate new root growth. It's especially important to water grass that's growing on tops of hills where the wind can dry out the lawn, and on sloped areas where water tends to run off before it can soak in.
During the hot, dehydrating summer or cold, moisture-sapping winter, your lawn may brown because it's thirsty. Giving your lawn a good rinse often works wonders! Watering your dry grass can “wake it up” from dormancy and encourage fresh growth.Can you put soil on top of dead grass? ›
Adding soil over grass can be another effective form of repairing a lawn. It is possible to dump new soil over top of what you have, and prepare it for sod or seed. This option will save you money on excavation costs of removing the old soil and grass.Does dead grass turn to soil? ›
This is known as “grasscycling.” If your grass clippings are less than an inch in length, leave them. As they decompose, they will act as a natural fertilizer — returning nutrients and organic matter back to the soil and increasing the health and resilience of your growing lawn.