How To Bring A Lawn Back From The Dead

Everybody dreams of having a lush, green lawn that all the neighbors envy. It doesn’t seem to be all that difficult to do. However, some people end up with a dead lawn despite their best efforts. 

A lawn is not something you can ignore and let it grow on its own. Some people think that mowing, watering, and occasionally aerating the lawn is all that’s needed. That may be enough for some, but for most, more goes into proper lawn maintenance. 

Unless you call an artificial grass company to have the turf installed, there will be a few things that you need to do to repair your dead lawn. It is possible to bring one back from the dead. In this article, we will go over several tips to revive a dead or dying lawn.  

Why is it dying?

Some factors go into the lawn dying that are either human error or external. For instance, there could be something that you are doing or not doing that is causing the problems you are witnessing. Or, there could be external factors such as weather or soil quality that were out of your control. 

Either way, there are things that you can do to turn the process around and get a nice lawn as a result. The key is to understand why it is happening to take the proper measures to remedy the situation. 

In the beginning, it’s essential to assess what is happening to narrow down the cause by using the process of elimination. The first thing to do is pull up the grass in the areas that are discolored and patchy. If clumps of grass come up easily and there is not much of a root mass, this is a dead lawn that will have to be replaced. If the grass is firmly attached to the ground but just discolored, then this means the grass can be healed and rejuvenated. 


Water scarcity is a big issue for many people all over the country right now. Summers are when the lawn needs a good amount of water, yet; there is very little to go around. Some counties have water bans in place, so watering a lean can have you getting fined.

If the lawn is dead, this is an excellent opportunity to switch your practices and let nature take its course. Go for a total renovation and get rid of the lawn as it currently exists. Switching to a permaculture system will help you keep a nice-looking property, albeit one that is not traditionally lush and green. 

The first thing to do is remove the grass that is there. Once you have bare ground, install a greywater system that takes domestic water and brings it directly into the yard. Shower, washing machine, and sink runoff can be redirected from the main sewer line and carried by a system of pipes into the yard, where it passively waters the grass and other plants. 

Collect rainwater in cisterns that can be pumped with a hose to water the lawn. When it rains more consistently in the winter, there is usually enough water to get through the dry summer when combined with a greywater system.

Once the system is installed, reload the topsoil and spread some drought-tolerant grass seeds like Bermuda grass or Kentucky bluegrass that require less water.

Improper maintenance

You could be the one killing your lawn without even realizing it. In this case, it will take a behavior change to bring it back and then keep it healthy going forward. 

Mowing too close to the ground is one of the biggest culprits. It’s understandable to want to go as short as possible to avoid having to cut frequently. Weekends are supposed to be relaxing, and having to worry about mowing is not precisely that. However, mowing too close to the ground is a sure way to kill the grass. The sun not only burns the grass and roots, but it allows moisture to evaporate that would otherwise be trapped by the grassroots. 

Reseed the lawn, and when it grows back, let it grow longer than you usually would. A longer lawn will allow the roots to absorb more water and stay thick. 

Watering and fertilizing are also usually done incorrectly. Over-fertilizing and over-watering are elementary mistakes to make. The problem with too much fertilizer is that it burns the roots of the plants and kills the grass. Adding too much water then water logs the roots and prevents them from getting enough oxygen to stay alive. Make sure to go easy on the fertilizer and only use it when recommended. Then, water it just enough to get moisture into the topsoil but not so much that it gets waterlogged.  

Look for pests

Grubs, moles, and other creatures can do a number on your lawn. Grubs especially are nasty for the lawn as they are abundant and eat away at the roots. They are the larvae of the Japanese beetle, which are laid on the lawn in the early spring. As they mature, they eat the roots and cause a lot of dead, brown patches all over the lawn. 

An insecticide is needed to kill them off before the summer has arrived so your lawn can recover in time. If you have children or pets that are often in the yard, then look for an all-natural solution that won’t be dangerous to people or pets. Something like Neem oil is a good solution. 

Getting rid of the grubs may solve the mole problem as this is one of their favorite food sources. When there are no grubs in the lawn, it takes more than just laying down some insecticide. If you see lots of hills in the yard, then this means that you have a mole problem. 

Apply a solution of water and castor oil to the lawn to create an environment where they can’t live. They will then go away and look for alternatives where they can live. You aren’t hurting the moles with this treatment. 

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