dead lawn

How To Revive A Dead Lawn

The steps to revive a dead lawn include ‒ preparing the site, removing excess thatch, tilling the soil, testing soil and fertilizing, planting grass seed or sod, rolling the area, and watering new grass.

Lawn care is all in the details, and we take care of every single one to give you the lawn of your dreams. Contact us today!

Nothing can be as disheartening as seeing your once-green lawn turn a crispy brown and die. However, reviving a dead lawn isn’t as difficult as you may think. If you are a homeowner, follow these 7 simple steps to turn your arid turf back into a beautiful lawn.

Step 1: Prepare the Site

The first important step in reviving your dead lawn is appropriately preparing the site. 

  • Select a sunny, warm day without rain or wind. 
  • Spray a nonselective herbicide, such as glyphosate over areas of the lawn comprising grass or weeds.
  • Cover all areas of the vegetation with the herbicide and keep pets and children away from the area until the product dries, which typically takes a few hours.
  • Wait a week for the herbicide to fully kill the unwanted vegetation.

If you don’t prefer to use herbicides, instead you can use a shovel (or a sod cutter for bigger areas) to get rid of vegetation.

Step 2: Remove Excess Thatch

Dead lawn

Thatch is a layer of decomposing plant materials that build up on the soil’s surface. A little is good and inevitable, but if it’s thicker than 1/2 inch, you need to get rid of it, because:

  • It restricts the movement of water, air, and nutrients. 
  • It restricts the growth of roots.
  • It opens the turfgrass up to disease and insect issues. 

Most equipment rental stores have power rakes or vertical mowers you can use to remove the excess thatch.

Step 3: Till the Soil

The next critical step in reviving a dying lawn is tilling the soil, which aids ih aeration. It is important to till the soil to a depth of 5 to 6 inches ensuring to incorporate all the existing vegetation. Below are some tips for tilling:

  • Till the dead vegetation into the soil. There’s no need to rake it from the site.
  • Improve fertility by spreading a 4- to 6-inch layer of organic compost over the site and till that into the soil.
  • Add loam or organic materials: It lessens the bulkiness of clay soil, encourages aeration, and improves sandy soil’s water-holding capacity.

Step 4: Test Soil and Fertilize

It is recommended to get a soil test to find out the amount of phosphorus in the soil, which aids in the healthy root development of your turfgrass. 

After knowing the test results, you should:

  • Spread the required phosphorus uniformly over the site. 
  • If you don’t want to test your soil, you can buy grass starter fertilizers at your local garden store. Their formulas are developed to aid in the healthy development of newly planted grass.
  • If desired, retest after a year.

Step 5: Plant Grass Seed or Sod

How To Plant Grass Seed?

After you have tested the soil and applied the proper fertilizer, it’s time to plant your grass seed. You can lower the recommended amount of new seed if you are reviving a patchy lawn section with grass seed. For example, you can reduce the amount by half if half the lawn doesn’t need reviving. Use these tips:

  • Spread the grass seed uniformly over the prepared area. 
  • Ensure to get good seed-to-soil contact. 
  • Once you have applied grass seed, spread a thin layer of soil over the top.

How to Plant Sod?

If you want to revive a brown lawn by laying down sod, you can use complete sod pieces to fill in big areas of the lawn. However, if you are restoring dead patches, you can also fill in those smaller areas using plugs or sprigs. When laying sod, follow these tips:

  • Ensure to thrust the pieces tightly up against each other, ensuring their root section makes firm contact with the soil. 
  • If repairing the area using plugs or sprigs, use a hand trowel and dig into the soil deep enough to contain the root section, and then firm the soil around it. 
  • Plant multiple plugs or sprigs at a distance of 6 to 12 inches between them.

Step 6: Roll the Area

It’s essential to roll the area after planting, irrespective of whether you planted sod or grass seeds. Rolling makes certain good sod-to-soil contact and helps assist in establishment. Many home equipment rental stores provide lawn rollers on rent.

Step 7: Water New Grass

Right after planting and rolling the area, water the soil to keep it moist but not soggy while the new lawn begins establishing itself. 

Irrigation is the most important step after planting the sod or seed. Apply only the amount of irrigation to keep the soil layer moist but not wet. Slowly decrease the frequency of irrigation while also raising the quantity of applied water.

Follow these watering tips:

  • Water the growing grass everyday for the next 2-3 weeks.
  • You may have to water a few times daily for the first week or two.
  • After the grass is established, apply deep watering to the lawn. This aids the grass to grow deeper roots
  • Refrain from light watering on an established lawn. This keeps the roots near to the soil’s surface, making turf establishment harder.

Check to know whether the sod’s roots have started fixing themselves to the soil by pulling it. If you can still pull up the sod, the roots haven’t attached to the soil yet. However, if you can’t pull the sod up, the roots have fixed themselves in the soil.

Moreover, while your grass is establishing itself in the area, ensure to:

  • Keep foot traffic to a minimum in the area
  • Don’t run heavy or lawn equipment over the area or you can harm the growing grass or cause ruts in the lawn.
  • It is not recommended to mow the grass very soon. In fact, wait to do the first mow till your grass has grown to one and a half times its suggested height.

How long does it take to revive a dead lawn?

Dead lawn

If a lawn is absolutely dead, you can’t bring it back to life without resodding or reseeding. However, it may not be dead. Several grass types, especially cool-season grasses, are likely to go dormant in times of low water and high heat. Check out Dormant vs. Dead grass to differentiate between a dormant lawn and a dead lawn.

The steps to revive a dead lawn include ‒ preparing the site, removing excess thatch, tilling the soil, testing soil and fertilizing, planting grass seed or sod, rolling the area, and watering new grass

Reviving a dead lawn is no doubt a time-consuming task, so it’s better to hand the job to a professional like Eden. Contact us today to hire our experts and love your lawn again.

Lawn care is all in the details, and we take care of every single one to give you the lawn of your dreams. Contact us today!

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