How To Revive Dead Grass and a Dead Lawn - What to Avoid

Written by Ivy

Dec 28 2022

How To Revive Dead Grass and a Dead Lawn - What to Avoid

Dead grass is an eyesore and reduces the curb appeal of your house. Use this advice to restore your grass's green sheen if it is struggling to withstand the summer heat.

Every time you go outside, you might feel good knowing that your lawn is lush and green, making the neighbors envious. It looks fantastic, improves the curb appeal of your home, and can make you genuinely happy.

What is Dry Grass?

Dry grass is unhealthy or dead grass. It is the result of an underlying issue that must be fixed before you can return the area to its initial state of health.

What Does Dry Grass Look Like?

Different appearances of dry & yellow grass are possible. Dry grass patches can vary in color, shape, and size. Changes in size, shape, or color are indicators that can guide you in determining the cause. A clue may also lie in where it appears on your lawn. The dry grassy areas are typically straw-colored and may have weeds growing there.

Why Does Dry Grass Occur?

Here are some common causes for dry grass patches:

  • Dog urine;
  • Lawn disease;
  • Fertilizer or pesticide spills;
  • Soil compaction;
  • Grub and insect activity;
  • Localized dry spots;
  • Subsurface contamination and unwanted materials.

How Do I Fix Them?

These seven easy steps will help you restore your lawn to its original condition:

  1. To reveal the soil underneath dead material, remove it.
  2. Using a rake or other hand tool, loosen the soil.
  3. To move the contaminants through the soil, water-flush dog- and spill-related damage.
  4. Regrade the area as necessary by adding topsoil.
  5. Seed should be scattered and then gently raked into the ground. Add a thin layer of additional soil as a topdress to the area. Gently tamp.
  6. Starter mulch and fertilizer should be added.
  7. As the seedlings grow, water sparingly at first and then more frequently.

Regardless of the cause of your dry grass, use these steps to revive your lawn. But before fixing these trouble areas, it's important to know why they occurred. Without patching the roof hole, you wouldn't replace the wet carpet. The same reasoning applies in this situation. Keep in mind that dry grass is merely a symptom of the underlying issue that caused it. The first thing you should do is fix those issues. Otherwise, the same dried-out grass will reappear.

Take Stock of the Situation

Make sure your grass isn't just lying dormant. Some grass varieties will slumber and turn brown. Check out the crowns. The base of the plant is where you can find the crowns. This whitish region gives rise to grass blades.

How well-being the crowns? Consequently, your grass is probably dormant. On the other hand, discolored or dried-out crowns indicate that your grass won't become green once more.

When you realize you're dealing with dead grass, it's time to don your DIY hat.

Prepare Your Site

If you want to know how to revive dead grass, site preparation is your first step. For the new grass seed or sod to establish itself, you must create a healthy environment. Remove any weeds or worn-out grass before continuing.

Purchase a non-selective herbicide, then saturate the affected areas of your yard with it. For at least two hours, keep kids, pets, and other people out of the area.

The majority of herbicides require around two hours to dry and become water-resistant. It is best to complete this task outside on a warm, sunny day without any chance of rain or wind. Wait a week to allow the herbicide to completely eradicate all undesirable vegetation.

Eliminate Excess Thatch

There may be a layer of buildup on the top of your soil caused by some plant materials that are decomposing. Thatch is the term used to describe this. Thatch should not be thicker than half an inch. Otherwise, it negatively affects the movement of:

  • Nutrients
  • Water
  • Air

Because it hinders proper root development, too much thatch also makes it easier for disease and insect problems to exist. To get rid of any extra thatch, use a vertical mower or power rake.

Aerate by Tilling the Soil

The following step is to till the soil to a depth of roughly five to six inches. All current vegetation is utilized effectively in this process. When tilling the vegetation in sandy or clay soil, take into account adding a four to six inch layer of compost. Sandal soil will hold water more effectively with the help of organic matter. Additionally, it reduces the bulk of clay soil.

2. How To Revive Dead Grass and a Dead Lawn2

Fertilize the Soul After Testing

Testing the phosphorus levels in the soil is a good idea. Healthy root development is aided by phosphorus. You will evenly distribute phosphorus across the lawn if your test results indicate that it is required. You might not think a soil test is necessary. In this case, go to your neighborhood garden or hardware store and buy a grass-starter fertilizer. This kind of fertilizer has been specifically designed to promote the growth of your new grass.

Plant New Sod Or Seed

Sod installation: Complete sod pieces can be used to cover up sizable patches of brown lawn. When filling in smaller sections, use plugs or sprigs. Making sure each piece of sod is snugly affixed to its neighbor is essential to successfully laying it down. Their root systems must be firmly rooted in the ground below.

Spread the seed across the impacted area evenly if you're going to plant from grass seed rather than sod. Make sure that the seed and soil make proper contact. Put a thin layer of soil over the seed.

Roll the Sod

After you've finished planting, roll the entire area with a lawn roller. Most places where you can rent home equipment will have a roller. Assuring proper seed-to-soil contact is made easier by rolling.

After-care Process

After planting and rolling is finished, the area needs to be adequately watered. However, avoid letting your lawn get soaked. Simply keep it moist to promote new growth.

For the first couple of weeks, you may need to water the area several times per day. Over time, reduce the amount of water you use on the lawn. Once more, the goal is to maintain a moderate moisture level for the soil layer. With a deep watering technique, grass roots will expand deeper. If you use too many light applications, the roots will move closer to the surface.

You can gently tug on the grass sod to see if the roots are grabbing hold. If you are unable to pull the sod up, the roots have penetrated the soil deeply.

Avoid mowing the lawn or using other heavy equipment too soon to avoid damaging your freshly planted grass. Till the roots are established, avoid crossing the area. As a general rule, wait until your new grass has grown out to a height that is one or two times that desired before cutting it.

Tips for How to Revive Dead Grass

To begin with, confirm that the grass is truly dead and not just dormant. In northern climates, cool-season lawns occasionally go dormant in the middle of the summer, particularly during droughts.

Examine the crowns—the whitish region at the plant's base where individual blades of grass emerge—carefully before taking drastic measures to revive your grass. Your lawn should recover on its own if you water it more frequently if the crowns are still alive. No matter how much water you give the grass, it won't green back up if the crowns are brown and dried out.

If there are any dead patches in your otherwise healthy lawn that need to be revived, you can probably handle the task yourself. On the other hand, if you're considering replacing your entire lawn, you might require assistance from a professional lawn care provider.

How to Avoid Dead Grass in the Future

Once you have revived your dead grass, keep it looking great with these tips:

  • Irrigate the newly restored patches daily to keep the soil moist, but not soggy, for the next two to three weeks. As the new lawn takes root, gradually cut back on watering.
  • Maintain a few-inch-long lawn by mowing once a week.
  • Fertilize every four to five weeks through the fall. Fertilize your lawn once in the spring and once in the fall after the first year.
  • Aerate and dethatch every couple of years to help the soil breathe.
  • Do not let dogs on the lawn. Some dogs have urine that is so acidic it kills grass. If you have no other option, wash the area where your pets have defecated with water.
  • Move above-ground swimming pools and waterslides around the yard so one patch of grass doesn't suffocate all summer long.


You know how to bring life back to dried-out grass. The task at hand is not challenging. It necessitates some caution and endurance. Keep your new lawn watered, avoid mowing it too short, and fertilize it in the spring and fall. We're confident you'll take pleasure in it for many years if you do that.


Is My Grass Dead Or Dormant?

Simply pull a few blades of grass from your lawn to conduct a tug test. If the grass is easily removed from the ground, it is dead; if the grass has some resistance, it is likely in a dormant state.

How to Revive Dead Grass Fast

Simply keep it moist to encourage new growth. In the initial weeks, you might need to water the area several times per day. Over time, reduce the amount of water you use on the lawn. A layer of soil should remain moist without becoming overly so, as before.

Will Watering Dead Grass Bring It Back

Many people believe that watering dead grass will revive it. This is a common misconception. The truth is, when you water dead grass, it can actually make the situation worse. It may cause the underground roots to rot and decompose more quickly than they otherwise would.

How to Fix Dead Grass from Drought

A drought may leave your lawn with patches of thin, brown, or dead grass. Get your green grass back by overseeding, reseeding, or resodding your lawn. You can either spread fresh grass seed all over your lawn or manually scatter it in the bare spots.

How to Revive Dead Grass in Summer

All you need is a good rake to help remove the dead grass and shift the ground beneath it. Once you are done, reseed your lawn evenly using a lawn roller. Make sure to use fertilizer to keep your lawn's soil moist, though.