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How to Know if Your Grass is Dead & How to Fix it


If you think your grass is dead, you could scream, faint dramatically, call the police, concoct a quick coverup, or stare suspiciously at that neighbor who always seemed a little TOO interested in your nice green lawn.

Of course, all of that would mean you’re probably watching too many true crime dramas.

Maybe just invest in some good grass seed. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

First you need to know if your grass is dead.

Is My Grass Dead? How to Tell

It’s actually rare that your whole lawn is dead. There are times that drought or disease or a hard winter might kill areas, though, and you end up with unsightly dead patches.

Dead grass from disease
There are other culprits, too. Here are some thing that could be killing your grass:

  • Dog urine spots? Sorry, but it’s unlikely these will bounce back. Dead.
  • Are edges of your lawn brown along your sidewalks or driveway where salt or snow melt products were used? Those areas are probably dead.
  • Spilled gas? It’s likely dead.
  • Sprayed a non-selective herbicide like Round-Up? Also dead.
  • A LOT of fertilizer in one spot? Likely dead
  • Grab hold of a couple clumps of grass and tug. Does it pull right up, with no root system holding it in? It’s probably dead. A dormant lawn will still have a solid root system.

Is My Grass Dead or Dormant?

Many people wonder if their grass is dead or dormant. Here are a couple ways to know.

If all your neighbors’ lawns are greening up, but yours isn’t, it’s probably dead. A dormant lawn will start to revive once you start watering or when spring rains begin.

Lawn got too dry in the summer and turned brown? It’s likely dormant. Begin watering for about 45 min., 3 times a week in the morning and these areas could come back.

How to Fix Dead Grass

If you know your grass is dead, you most likely want to know how to fix it. When you need to grow grass, good old dependable seed almost always does the trick.

It’s the only method we use here at RainMaster, because it works.

Whether you need to spot-seed a small patch or aerate and overseed your whole lawn, high quality grass seed and attention to watering is a solid option for fixing dead grass.
Lawn team preparing to overseed a lawnBe really picky about grass seed. We know, seed all sort of looks the same in the bag. But it isn’t.

That image you have in your head of uniform, thick, green grass is probably not what’s in that bag of cheap grass seed piled up in the aisles of the home improvement store. It may contain weed seeds and undesirable grasses.

It’s absolutely worth it to pay more for premium grass seed.

6 Easy Steps for Fixing Dead Grass

Every homeowner faces a few dead patches of grass once in a while. A proper seeding with quality grass seed can often do the trick. Here are some easy steps to fixing dead grass patches.

  1. Rake out any dead, matted turf. Your grass seed will germinate and root best if It can snuggle up to bare soil.
  2. Dig and loosen the soil a bit to prepare it for the seed.
  3. Scatter grass seed over the loosened soil. Scratch it in a bit and tamp it down so you know there’s good contact.
  4. Add some fertilizer designed for new grass to get it off to a good start.
  5. Keep it watered.
  6. Wait patiently. It will take about a month for your new seed to start growing and up to a year to become fully mature grass.

Is My Grass Dead? Is It Hopeless?

Worried your lawn is past saving? Not necessarily.

Aeration and seeding can be your best friend here. It’s possible your lawn can’t breathe.

When your soil becomes compacted, your lawn is gasping for air. Its roots can't take in water or nutrients, which weakens your turf and opens the door for disease and weeds.

Core aeration uses a machine to pull out plugs of soil, creating spaces so air and water can penetrate, which leads to healthier roots.
lawn aeration to fix dead grassLawn aeration also helps break down thatch, that layer of dead grass and stems that sits between the grass blades and the soil.

Aeration is typically followed by overseeding, as the holes created by aeration are perfect new homes for the grass seed.

A good aeration and seeding can do wonders for a struggling lawn.

Repairing Dead Grass: Start with RainMaster in Eau Claire & Minneapolis

Repairing dead grass is just the beginning. Your grass needs you to be in this for the long haul.

Invest in a complete, proactive lawn care program to continuously improve and protect your lawn.

Let’s create a custom nutrition plan for your lawn, so the roots will be nourished, the soil packed with nutrients, and your grass thick and healthy. In other words, not dead.

You choose from three different levels of lawn care programs at RainMaster, based on the results you’d like, how fast you want to see results, and your budget.

  • Luscious Lawn is a high-end, proactive program that will promote amazing lawn care results. This is the program to choose for the quickest and best results, particularly if your lawn needs a lot of help.
  • Terrific Turf, a mid-level option, is our most popular program to grow a thick, green lawn and deal with most challenges.
  • Healthy Habitat is a basic plan that includes the elements you need for a better lawn.

Spare yourself the drama of dead grass and get to the bottom of your lawn problems. Request a quote today! We’ll review your lawn care options together so you can make a great choice. Then, you can finally enjoy your lawn and stop worrying about it.

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Topics: Lawn Care

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