You worked for weeks — no, months on your lawn. You bought all the lawn care supplies, you planned out your fertilizing schedule, and you’re ready for results. As a proud homeowner, you plan on being the first one in the neighborhood to have lush, green, growing grass. Except, you look at your grass one day, and it’s...dead. Now what?
Reasons Your Lawn is Dead
Where did you go wrong? When it comes to lawn care, remember you are dealing with living plants. Small mistakes can add up and kill your lawn. Here are a few reasons your lawn might have declined:
- Misuse of weed killer
- Using the wrong fertilizer formula for your lawn type
- Misidentifying your grass type
- Mowing too short
There are many other reasons, but these are the most common. If you realized one or more might have been the culprit behind your dead grass, don’t worry! At Simple Lawn Solutions, we’re here to help you learn more about your lawn.
Common Mistakes for Lawn Care
When homeowners see dead grass, they often try to take matters into their own hands quickly. We see a lot of common mistakes that either put your lawn in worse shape or just waste your time and money. One of the most common mistakes we see is homeowners trying to fertilize their dead grass. If you have dead grass, fertilizer will do nothing to bring it back; you are essentially pouring high-quality fertilizer down the drain! But we understand that some homeowners aren’t sure if their lawn is dead or just dormant, so they fertilize to test. We have a test that won’t waste any money, the tug test. Tug on a patch of brown grass. If only the blades come off, then your lawn is dormant, but if a chunk of soil easily comes out with the brown grass, then your lawn is dead!
Step 1: Remove the Damage
So, your lawn is dead. The first step is to remove the damage. Go ahead and mow your dead grass, and about a week afterward, you want to grab a sharp rake. Use the rake to pull up all of the dead grass, any leaves, debris, etc. This process is called scarification, and you can think of it as exfoliating your lawn! You want to scarify when your lawn is completely dry, and the weather is warm. These ideal conditions will ensure your scarification is only helping, not hurting your lawn as you open it up.
Step 2: Give Your Lawn Some Room to Breathe
During scarification, you may have noticed that you kicked up some soil along the way. While it might feel wrong, that’s exactly what you want to do! Even after all the debris is gone, use the rake or a gardening shovel to turn over some of the soil on your lawn. This will, hopefully, leave some healthier soil on top for the new seed to be planted. But it will also allow your lawn to take in more sunlight, so it can come back to life!
Step 3: Seed or Sod
After scarification and aeration, it’s time to lay down some fresh seed or sod! It’s completely up to you whether you want to lay down seed or sod, just make sure the grass type you choose will work well in your environment. The main factor that comes into choosing seed versus sod is how fast you want your lawn back. If you have some time, then choose the seed. If you feel behind in the neighborhood race for the best lawn, then go with laying down some sod. Whichever you choose will determine the rest of your lawn care routine, so do your research.
Step 4: Fertilize Your Lawn
You may have come to step four and feel confident; fertilizing your lawn, that’s easy! But remember, you killed your lawn (we won’t hold that over your head forever), due to lawn care mistakes. We want to help prevent you from having to go through that again! The timing between laying your sod or planting your seed and the first fertilizing is crucial. If you planted seeds, you need to fertilize them immediately afterward. Use our 3-18-18 Liquid Lawn Fertilizer, which is a great starter fertilizer for seed. For sod, you want to wait about six weeks after laying it to fertilize. When you do fertilize, choose our 16-4-8 Liquid Lawn Food, which will provide your lawn with a balanced blend of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium!
Step 5: Be Consistent
Now that you know how to bring your lawn back from the dead, you most likely won’t want to do it again! The best way to avoid your dead grass returning is by sticking to your lawn care routine. If you’re going to become an expert on your lawn, here are a few places to start:
- Know when to fertilize
- Understand how much water your grass needs
- Learn more about cool-season grass vs. warm-season grass
- Adapt your mowing height to each season
Suggested Fertilizer Routine
If you’re done with dead grass and ready to keep your lawn alive, here is the suggested fertilizer routine for your grass:
- Warm-Season Grass
o Early Spring: 16-4-8 Liquid Lawn Food
o Early Summer: 15-0-15 Liquid Lawn Food
o Late Summer: 28-0-0 Liquid Lawn Food
- Cool-Season Grass
o Early Fall: 16-4-8 Balanced Liquid Lawn Food
o Early Spring: 15-0-15 Liquid Lawn Food
o Late Spring: 3-18-18 Liquid Lawn Fertilizer