Having dead patches of grass in the middle of the lawn can be a real bummer, especially if the neighbors’ yard has been looking extra green lately.
Thankfully, reviving dead grass isn’t so hard to achieve with a bit of information and effort.
Read on below to learn everything you need to know about reviving dead grass, including tips for preventing and treating dead grass, and more!
How to Revive Dead Grass
To bring grass back from the dead, begin by raking up the dead grass and removing it. Next, rake the yard a second time, even the healthy areas, and aerate the ground as well. The final steps are spreading grass seed and/or placing strips of sod over the dead spots and following up with daily watering.
1. Rake Up Dead Grass
If you have dead grass in your lawn that you want to revive, the first step is raking up the dead grass. Use the same sort of rake you’d use for raking leaves and firmly remove all dead grass possible.
This helps expose the extent of the dead grass, as well as clearly define the healthier parts of the lawn as well.
During this step, if your dead spots do have even a bit of healthy growth in them, consider treating them with a fertilizer for grass before moving on.
2. Stimulate the Healthy Grass
Once you’ve raked up all your dead grass, move on to raking around the healthy grass. That way you get all the dead grass you missed as well as stimulate the new grass by removing week and damaged blades.
Stimulating your already healthy grass may help it expand and spread roots into the dead spots.
Consider performing your dead grass revival in the spring, that way you have a better chance at promoting new growth.
3. Aerate the Lawn
After the lawn is well-raked and the dead areas are well-exposed, it’s time to aerate the lawn. If you have time and the desire, aerate the entire thing.
However, if you’re simply focused on reviving the dead grass, don’t worry about aerating anything other than the dead zones.
Aerating the lawn helps loosen the earth and lets the soil “breathe” as well as making it easier to plant new grass seed. It also helps the grassroots absorb more water and nutrients.
4. Give Special Attention to Problem Areas
If you’ve got some seriously dead patches of grass, give special attention to the biggest problem areas. This may include raking it a bit more or even breaking up compacted areas with a shovel or heavier-duty rake.
Special attention could also mean spreading some sort of fertilizer or soil amendments if you have reason to believe it will help the new grass establish itself and thrive.
Problem areas are easy to detect, as they are simply wherever the most dead grass occurs.
Remember where the problem areas were at, and when the lawn is healthier, make sure to include extra attention for those areas while performing basic lawn care maintenance to avoid future issues.
5. Spread New Grass Seed
Spreading grass seed is one of the most important steps because it leads to the growth of new grass. That said, all the steps listed above are crucial to perform, in order for the seed spreading step to be successful.
Spreading grass seed can be done with a broadcast spreader by hand, or with a hand-powered or tow-behind broadcast spreader.
Make sure to pay close attention to the type of grass seed you purchase. You want it to match the grass you already have growing in your lawn.
If your lawn is compacted, you may be interested in this article we wrote about planting grass seed on hard dirt the nifty way!
6. Follow Up By Watering Regularly
The last step is watering the newly manicured and seeded lawn regularly. Refer to the instructions that came with the seed you spread for how much water is needed.
Generally speaking, you should water grass seed at least once per day for the first couple of weeks after spreading. Keep watering regularly until you see new growth where the dead spots were.
Some folks even suggest watering, or setting timers, up to three times per day for the first three to four weeks.
How Can I Tell If My Dead Grass Is Coming Back to Life?
Once you’ve carried out all of the proper steps for reviving dead grass, and have been watering the lawn for two or three weeks, revisit the problem areas and check for signs of new growth.
If you see new green blades of grass, or the white roots forming in the soil, things are going well and you should continue watering regularly until it thickens.
If there is no new growth in the problem areas, consider aerating them a second time and spreading more seed as well.
How Often Should I Water Dead Grass That I’m Reviving?
Water, sunlight, and air are the key elements to reviving your dead grass.
If you followed the steps listed above, you will have aerated your lawn before sowing the seed.
Following up by watering regularly, and not being afraid to spend a few dollars extra on the water bill for a couple of weeks is one of the best ways to ensure you actually revive that dead grass.
Frequently Asked Questions About Reviving Dead Grass
How Much Grass Seed Should I Use for Reviving My Lawn?
Do not spare grass seed in your broadcast spreader when your sowing grass seed in your lawn. Spread more than you think you need, you practically can’t overdo it. Sure, you may waste a bit of grass seed, but you will most definitely have better chances at new grass growing (and it comes in thicker).
What pH Level Should the Soil in my Lawn Be?
There are many varieties of grass, and soil for that matter, but generally speaking a pH of 6.5 to 7 is preferred by most grass species. If your lawn’s soil pH is higher, or lower, by a full point or two, it could very well cause dead spots or even an entire dead lawn. In this case, your best bet to revive your dead grass is to adjust the pH of your grass by spraying some sort of liquid nutrients or fertilizer for grass.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.