As 2023 draws to a close, it is the right time to evaluate the health of your lawn. 

If the grass is thick and healthy, your lawn is all set for next year and the holiday parties in the yard.

However, if the lawn turns brown and you hear a crushing sound every time you step on it, you may be dealing with dead grass.

If your lawn has started to appear like hay and you have already lost hope of its revival, it is too soon for that.

By learning how to revive dead grass, you can turn it into a living beauty. 

Read this blog to get information on the removal of dead grass.

Determine the Cause of Dead Grass 

A circular map on the most common causes of dead grass

In lawn care, looks can be deceiving. 

You may have warm-season grass that naturally falls dormant in the winter if your lawn turns brown every winter. 

When spring or early summer arrives, what appears as dead grass again turns green.

Colder climates have slightly different lawns. In the summer, cool-season grasses that are driven into dormancy by heat and dryness may become brown and appear dead. 

When they turn brown in the spring, it may indicate a hard winter that has just ended.

Regardless, a lawn needs maintenance and a proper lawn care schedule. Neglecting the colour shift indicators may result in dead grass. 

You’ll notice these changes if you’ve had grass for a few seasons. 

So, if you suspect something out of the right course, from pet urine spots to flies infestation, investigate and remedy the problem before you proceed.

Service providers in your area are an excellent resource for spot-on lawn advice. They ascertain if the brown lawn is dormant and you can revive revived into a thick, green beauty.

Understand the Difference Between Dead Grass and Dormant Grass 

Make sure your lawn has dead grass and is not just dormant before proceeding. 

Under certain circumstances, some turf varieties will become dormant and turn brown. 

Warm-season grasses hibernate in the winter, whereas cool-season grasses do so in the summer.

Examine the areas of white colour toward the base of the plant, which are the grass crowns. Your grass is dormant if the crowns are in good condition. On the other hand, dry or discoloured crowns indicate dying grass.

Another way to check for dead grass is to pull on a little patch. If the grass pulls out readily, it means something is not right.

However, if there is resistance in the roots, your grass is still healthy; it is only dormant. In such a scenario, you can relax a bit.

The common stress that causes dead grass includes drought stress, bad soil quality, disorder, weeds, and pests.

9 Common Reasons For Dead Grass 

A list of the nine common reasons for dead grass

Nothing happens overnight without a reason. 

Moreover, determining the cause of the incident can prevent it from happening again. 

Many lawn illnesses are the common cause of dead grass. 

The following are some of the most prevalent conditions that can lead to dead grass:

  1. Rust Disease: This disease can make the lawn undernourished since it impacts the water and nutrient supplies. It may cause grass blades to become yellow-orange in colour and more brittle.
  2. Necrotic ring spot: This fungal illness typically attacks in the spring but can resurface in late fall or early winter. On your grass, it appears as round spots ranging from yellow to light green. It slowly culminates in dead grass.
  3. Leaf spot: Fungal, bacterial, and viral illnesses can cause these tan and dark brown spots on the grass, which can harm its general health and, after a while, change it into dead grass.
  4. Dollar spot: Found in warm- and cool-season grasses, such as those found in Canada, this disease affects lawns. The symptoms include circular patches the size of silver dollars. Homeowners should watch out for this problem in the late spring and summer to avoid dead grass.
  5. Powdery mildew: If your lawn appears to have been dusted with flour or talc. If so, powdery mildew may be present in your grass. White, spore-like structures on the grass blades are the signs of it. If left unchecked, it will change your lush green lawn into dead grass.
  6. Weed Overcrowding: Weed control is a routine aspect of lawn care. You should be contributing to preventing this from being an issue as long as you’re keeping up with the weed removal.
  7. Extreme weather: Long time of hot or cold temperatures can also make the grass turn brown and go dormant. When conditions improve, it bounces back to normal if it’s not dead grass. 
  8. Cutting grass Short: A dull mower blade or very short grass are two examples of improper mowing techniques that can stress the grass and turn it brown. To avoid dead grass, use sharp blades to mow it at the proper height. 
  9. Dog Urine: If the female dog has excess to the lawn, its urine can damage the lawn, resulting in dead grass.

How to Revive Dead Grass: Step-by-Step Breakdown

An infographic on the steps of how to revive dead grass

Here are crucial steps on how to revive dead grass:

Step 1: Set Up the Location

To bring life back to the dead grass on the lawn, you must first prepare the area. 

According to experts, proper site preparation is essential for long-term success with the new turf. 

The first step is using a nonselective herbicide to eliminate the old grass and weeds. 

Pick a warm, sunny day that isn’t overcast or windy. 

You can apply glyphosate, a nonselective herbicide, to the lawn’s weed.

After applying the herbicide to every part of the vegetation, keep kids and pets away from the area.

Give the grass a week to eradicate all of the undesirable plants. 

If you are not in favour of using herbicides for your lawn, the environment-friendly way of doing it is to remove vegetation and use a shovel or a sod cutter for bigger areas.

Step 2: Remove Excess Buildup on the Lawn 

If the soil of the dead grass on your lawn has a layer of decomposed matter, remove it for the lawn to become lively again.

If you don’t remove the thatch from the soil, it will again become a reason for dead grass by:

  • Restricting the airflow, nutrients and water exchange.
  • Stunting root development.
  • Facilitating the growth of disease and insects.

Use power rakes and vertical mowers to remove thatch for a healthy lawn.

Step 3: Tilling the Soil 

Tilling the dead vegetation into the soil is one of the most important steps in the process of reviving dead grass because:

  • It helps in aeration that works against compact soil.
  • Increases the water-holding ability of the soil.

In this step, you can introduce organic material to the soil and increase its fertility.

Step 4: Soil Testing and Fertilization 

If there is dead grass, there must be some deficiency in the soil. 

To compensate for that, it is crucial to conduct a soil test.

After testing the soil, you can get the fertilizer accordingly. 

Then, you can introduce phosphorus to the site easily.

The fertilizer for the revival of the dead grass will be the grass starter fertilizer.

To maintain a healthy grass, you can repeat the test annually. 

Step 5: Roll Over Sod 

After you are done with soil testing, you can spread sod on the dead grass patches.

You can also use the overseeding method, but laying over sod is a faster way of grass restoration.

The sod should come in close contact with the soil for the roots to grow efficiently.

If your lawn already has sod and you want to remove it, here are some of the easiest techniques.

Step 6: Establish Lawn With Watering 

You need to water the new grass every day for two to three weeks.

In the first few weeks, you must water multiple times a day.

With deep watering, the roots will grow deeper and stronger.

After the lawn is stable, you must keep the soil layer moist with light watering.


Is raking the dead grass necessary?

Yes, what looks like dead grass to you can be dead thatch that will affect the health of your lawn.

How to revive dead grass?

If the lawn is completely dead, there is no way to restore it. You can only revive a dormant lawn.

How long will the dead grass take to come out of the dormant phase?

Frequent watering and following the instructions above can help you restore a gorgeous lawn in three to four weeks.

In Conclusion 

These are the steps on how to revive dead grass into a green, flourishing lawn.

This trouble and expense is only useful if the grass is not completely dead.

If the roots of the turf are dead, the only way to revive it is by establishing new grass.

If the lawn shows persistent problems, speaking to an expert about it is the best option.

You can hand this job to Falcons Landscaping. We have experience in all kinds of landscaping work, from seasonal clean-ups to seeding.