Man doing lawn care on a dead lawn.

How Long Will It Take to Bring a Dead Lawn Back to Life?

A lush, green lawn is the pride of many homeowners, but maintaining one can be daunting. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may find dead patches in your lawn. Whether it’s due to neglect, extreme weather conditions, pests, or disease, the question on your mind is likely, “How long will it take to bring a dead lawn back to life?” The answer depends on several factors, including the extent of the damage, your commitment, and the methods you choose to employ.

Factors That Determine How Long It Will Take to Revive a Dead Lawn

Assessing the Damage

Before worrying about how to revive a brown, wilted lawn, find out whether it is dead in the first place. Sometimes, a lawn that appears dead is just dormant. Grasses tend to go dormant and turn brown to conserve nutrients and water in times of scarcity. Warm-season grasses turn dormant when temperatures drop below the freezing point, while cool-season grasses go dormant during prolonged drought.

Dormant grasses should be green again by late spring or early summer. If the grass does not turn green, then it likely needs help. One of the tricks to knowing whether the grass is dead or just asleep is conducting a tug test. Grab a section of grass and tug gently. The grass is most likely dead if it comes out without any resistance.

Dead grass will not grow back. You will need to reseed or re-sod. You should also determine the underlying issue. You can prevent your lawn from dying again only by addressing the root cause of dead patches of grass. But if the grass is just dormant, you can revive it by ensuring it gets sufficient water and is mowed properly. It is also vital to limit foot traffic.

Reviving Your Soil

Soil conditions will affect the time it will take to bring a dead lawn back to life. So, it is crucial to address issues and ensure the soil is in its best condition before sowing seeds or laying new turf. Start by removing all weeds, plant materials, twigs, and whatever is on the ground. If there is too much thatch, remove some of that as well.

The soil also needs a well-balanced pH level. If it is too acidic, the bacteria in the soil won’t be able to break down organic matter, and the grass will not get all the nutrients it needs.

You can learn about your soil’s pH value by using a soil test kit or sending a soil sample to the nearest testing facility. Highly acidic soil can be neutralized using granular lime products or wood ash.

Compost, manure, and anything organic can also improve soil quality. If the soil is too compacted, aeration will be necessary. It will loosen the soil and improve air circulation. Aeration is one of the lawn care services you can call professionals for if you are busy or don’t like doing this task.

Testing for Nutrient Deficiencies

Your lawn needs sufficient macro and micronutrients to grow healthy and lush. Unfortunately, the soil does not always have enough of these nutrients for many reasons, like leaching. That’s why fertilization is often required in lawn care maintenance. But before you start adding fertilizer, send or bring a soil sample to testing labs near you.

Soil testing can tell you what nutrients the soil lacks and provide a fertilizer recommendation. Lawn fertilizers contain three macronutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potash or potassium (K). The percentage of these nutrients in a fertilizer bag varies. The most commonly used ratios are 3:1:2 and 4:1:2.

Selecting the Right Seeds

When it comes to reviving a dead lawn, you have two options. You either lay down sod or plant seeds. Sod is an ideal option if you are looking for instant gratification. After its installation, your lawn will look normal instantly. On the other hand, planting seeds takes time and patience. In favorable conditions, the seed can grow into grass in about two months.

Although planting seeds may have disadvantages, this option is the most cost-effective. If you choose this method of bringing a dead lawn back to life, then you should know how to select the right seeds.

Grass seed comes in several varieties, each with its own growing habits, maintenance requirements, and unique characteristics. When choosing a grass seed to buy, consider the type of soil in which it grows best, the amount of sun exposure and water it needs, and the look and feel you want for your lawn. Make sure your lawn meets the seed’s requirements.

No matter your choice, make sure to purchase the seed from a reputable dealer. This is to avoid getting a seed product that contains seeds of weeds or other crops.

Planting the Seeds

After getting the right seeds and preparing your lawn, planting will be the next step in restoring your dead lawn into a beautiful green carpet. But before all that, you should determine the best time to plant your chosen grass. Cool-season grasses are best planted in late summer to early fall, while the optimal time to sow warm-season grasses is late spring.

To plant the seed, get a grass seed spreader. Doing so will make the job easier and faster. Set the spreader and seeding rates according to the instructions on your seed bag label. Planting between 10 and 20 seeds per square inch is ideal to avoid getting unevenly dense turf.

After getting all the seeds down, rake the area to ensure they come in contact with the soil. But don’t plant them deep because they also need sunlight to germinate. Once everything’s done, the next step will be ensuring the seed is well hydrated.

Creating a Maintenance Plan

After going through the trouble and expense of bringing a dead lawn back to life, the last thing you want is for it to fall back into undesirable conditions. That is why a good aftercare plan is essential. Your lawn care plan will mean the difference between a flourishing lawn and one with dead areas.

Several lawn maintenance tasks are essential, such as watering, mowing, fertilizing, and weed and pest control. If you have a big lawn and don’t have enough time and energy to keep it in prime condition, it is wise to hire lawn care experts. You may still have to handle some tasks, like mowing and watering. However, experts can handle more complex tasks, like fertilizing and weed control.

Reviving a Dead Lawn FAQs

How Do You Revive a Dead Lawn Fast?

You can revive a dead lawn fast by sodding it. Sodding is the process of installing strips of pre-grown grass on exposed soil. Once installed, your lawn will appear green and beautiful right away.

Will Completely Dead Grass Grow Back?

Dead grass is dead. It does not eat, drink, or breathe. Therefore, it’s impossible for dead grass to grow back.

What Causes a Dead Lawn?

A variety of factors can kill your lawn. These include weed and pest infestation, untreated diseases, improper mowing and watering, misuse of fertilizer, and foot traffic.

Get Reliable Help Reviving a Dead Lawn

If you are in the Greater Toronto Area and looking for experts in lawn care near you who can help bring your dead lawn back to life, consider LawnMart. LawnMart has lawn care experts who have developed an effective six-step organic lawn care process. When you hire LawnMart, our team will bring the experience, expertise, and natural products necessary to make your lawn look its best all the time.

Call us today to learn more about how our team will bring your dead lawn back to life.

Michael Schäfer

President – LawnMart Inc.

Years of Experience: 31 Years

  • Land Class 1 and 3 Licenses Since 1993
  • Pest Control Operator License Since 1995
  • PIC Accredited Pest Technician Examiner Since 2004
  • Biting Flies Control License Since 2020

Michael Schäfer is President and Founder of LawnMart Inc. After training privately under Dr. Larry Whiddell of Ohio State University, he became a Lawn Technician at Barefoot Grass Lawn Services (1993) and leveled up to Tree/Shrub Care Manager before taking over all Canadian operations as Area Manager. In 1996, Michael founded LawnMart Inc., which has since grown into a multi-award-winning company that cares for thousands of lawns in the Golden Horseshoe area.