How to Fix Dead Grass Areas: What to Do (and What NOT to Do)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Dead spots in lawn that need to be fixedHaving a lush green lawn that the neighbors envy can make you feel good every time you step outside. It looks great, it boosts your curb appeal, and can really put a smile on your face.

But that may not be what you’re seeing outside and potentially the reason you found this article. You could have thought you succeeded in growing a great lawn but are now looking at dead, brown spots. Or, you could just now be realizing your lawn has progressively gotten worse and really needs some professional help.

When you start to see dead spots in your grass, it can completely change your mood. Few things can be more frustrating and you want a solution—fast.

Of course, the last thing that you want to do is make the problem worse. There are definitely certain things that you should be doing—and other things you should not.

That’s why we’ve rounded up a handy list of how to get dead grass to grow—as well as what to avoid doing.

The DO’s of How to Repair Grass

Repairing dead grass can be a bit more involved than a lot of folks realize. In order to ensure that you’re taking the right steps and getting your lawn what it needs, we’re starting off with a list of things to do when it comes to how to get dead grass to grow.

DO Get Connected With a Worthwhile Lawn Care Pro

lawn care professional diagnosing lawn problemIf you are trying to figure out how to get dead grass to grow, then the first thing you should do is connect with a professional. Not just any professional, but a professional who really understands lawns and what they need to thrive.

Why does this matter? Because you need an accurate professional diagnosis of your lawn problem. There are so many different issues that could be causing your dead grass areas, and so many of them have similar (or even the same) symptoms.

It could be a lawn disease or lawn pests. It could even be an environmental stressor. But before you can start solving the problem, you need an accurate diagnosis. It’s the most critical first step to a solution and if you receive an improper diagnosis and start treating the wrong problem, you can actually make the problem worse.

DO Adjust Watering and Mowing Based on Recommendations

One of the recommendations that your lawn care provider might make in terms of how to repair grass is to adjust your watering and mowing routine. Your grass needs around one to two inches of water each week, dependent upon air temperature and movement. If it is cool and still, the soil will retain more moisture. If your lawn isn’t receiving enough water, it may need more.

On the flipside, too much water can actually drown your grassroots. Because grassroots need oxygen to live, excessive water can fill those air gaps in the soil and actually drown your plants. This will cause the lawn to yellow, brown, then die. If your lawn care professional determines you are overwatering your lawn, you’ll need to back off on how often you’re watering.

Similarly, your mowing habits can also contribute to dead patches. Mowing, in general, puts stress on the lawn. If you are mowing too short, you may be putting more stress on your lawn then it can handle.

DO Apply the Right Lawn Care Products Based on the Issue and Timing

lawn care product applicationIf material is improperly applied to your lawn (either in a DIY attempt or by another company), this can also cause damage. For example, fertilizer burn is caused when too much product is applied to the grass. Excess product can draw moisture out of your grass and cause it to yellow and ultimately die.

However, all lawn care products have a proper amount and a proper timing associated with them. And some lawn care products may be warranted in certain instances—which can differ from lawn to lawn.

You want to make sure that your lawn care company is applying the right products at the right time in order to not only be most effective but also to prevent possible problems.  

DO Repair the Lawn with the Right Method

First, you have to get the problem under control. Whether a pro diagnoses a disease, a pest, or an environmental concern (or more than one of these), you need to address the problem so that it doesn’t keep coming back.

Once that’s done, then you’ll need to apply the right method of repair. For the vast majority of cases, aeration and overseeding will restore the dead patches in your lawn.

While there are other more intensive repair methods out there, which tend to be quite costly, even in some of the worst cases we’ve seen, aeration and overseeding have been effective at repairing dead patches.

Of course, it’s important to ensure that it’s performed properly. There is a best time to repair a lawn, which is in the fall when new grass seed will be able to thrive.

DO Care for Repaired Areas Properly

Getting on the right watering schedule for your repaired areas as well as implementing an after-care program will be important steps when it comes to how to turn brown grass green.

You’ve gone through the trouble of having your lawn properly repaired, now you want to make sure that it remains an effective solution. New grass can require some extra care in order to grow successfully.

The DON'Ts of How to Repair Grass

Of course, there are also ways that you can prolong the time that you have to deal with dead spots—or possibly even make the problem worse. We’ve rounded up a list of things that you should avoid doing when it comes to how to repair grass.

DON’T Just Wish for the Best

Ignoring your problem and hoping it will get better isn’t going to get you anywhere. In fact, chances are, if you already have some brown and dead spots, they are only going to get worse.

These dead areas are an indicator that something is wrong and you need to take action. A problem that is causing your grass to die needs remedying.

DON’T Assume the Cause

While we love educated homeowners and we put a lot of information out there in order to help people in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA understand their lawn problems, we don’t advocate taking matters into your own hands.

When you try to make your own diagnosis, you risk implementing the wrong solution and making the problem worse. As we mentioned, many lawn problems mimic one another and it really does take a professional examination to determine the cause of your problems.

DON’T Just Automatically Water More

irrigation overwatering lawnWhen you see dead spots, your natural inclination might be the same of many homeowners—to just start watering more. But as we’ve discussed, brown and dead spots do not always mean drought and excess water can actually exacerbate certain problems.

For instance, watering incorrectly can cause a fungal disease to spread. Plus, if overwatering is actually the root cause of your problems, more water is only going to make the problem worse.

DON’T Just Apply More Fertilizer

Similar to watering, a lot of homeowners are inclined to throw down extra fertilizer assuming this will solve how to turn brown grass green. Actually, we find that a lot of homeowners believe the more fertilizer added to their lawn, the better.

The truth is, most summer lawn diseases are actually aggravated by too much quick release nitrogen fertilizer. If you’ve unknowingly hired a lawn care company that uses quick-release nitrogen fertilizer (or maybe do one as a late summer treatment), and your lawn is struggling with turf disease, it could make it a lot worse.

DON’T Seed at any Time Other Than the Late Summer or Fall

Seeding bare spots will be your best solution in most cases—but when you seed is important. We don’t want you to waste your time or money seeding any time other than in the late summer or fall.

Seeding in the spring or early summer is not going to be effective as the conditions are simply not ideal for new lawn growth. Instead, you should wait until the fall when the conditions are truly ideal for your lawn to thrive. The nighttime air is cool, the ground is moist, and the soil is still warm. These are the best growing conditions for your grass seed to germinate and grow strong and healthy roots.  

Hiring the Right Lawn Care Professional to Fix Dead Grass Areas

When it comes to how to repair grass at your home in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA, it may be a bit more involved than you had anticipated. As we mentioned, we often hear from homeowners who tell us they thought they could just water the spots or throw fertilizer down, and they could be fixed.Joshua Tree Lawn Care sign in lawn in Allentown, PA

But your best bet is to hire a lawn care service who truly understands the science behind lawns. First and foremost, you want to be sure that your lawn problem is properly diagnosed as time is often of the essence when it comes to the solution.

By choosing the right professional, you’ll be able to gain confidence that your lawn is getting back on track and those dead areas will be filling in soon. Before you know it, you’ll be looking at the thick, green lawn that you can be proud of.

If you’re ready to work with a lawn care company that knows what your grass needs at your Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA home, get in touch with us to get some free expert advice and learn more about our lawn care program options.

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7 tips to transform an ugly lawn in Allentown, Bethlehem or Easton, PA

Joshua Malik

Written by Joshua Malik

With an intense passion for arboriculture and lawn care, founder Joshua Malik brings to Joshua Tree over 20 years of experience in the tree and lawn care industry. And he expects the same passion in his team by employing representatives and field personnel who have achieved and maintained proper industry credentials to ensure clients benefit through best practices.