A neglected lawn will quickly fall into disrepair. A brown or yellow lawn that is patchy or dying in spots is an indication that the required care practices are not being followed. Misapplication of fertilizer, or a lack of fertilizer application, will burn or stunt grass growth. Even mowing improperly will reduce the reproduction rate and growth of even the most resilient turf grass. Proper cultivation techniques are necessary to fix and revive a damaged lawn.
Mow grass frequently, removing one-third of the grass blade each time. Mow to a height of 2.5 to 3 inches, or to the height specified for your grass variety, suggests the University of Colorado Extension. Actively growing grass requires mowing every 5 to 7 days.
Apply 1 inch of water weekly, penetrating the lawn to a depth of 6 to 8 inches says the Ohio State University Extension. Check the water penetration depth by plunging a spade or shovel into the soil, and examining the water mark on the blade.
Fertilize the lawn using a nitrogen-heavy fertilizer with a ratio of 3:1:2, 4:1:2 or 5:1:2 says the Ohio State University Extension. Missouri University recommends applying 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet for low maintenance grasses, while high maintenance grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, require 2 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Apply in mid-April, late June, and mid-August for warm season grasses, or late June and mid-September for cool season grasses. Apply the fertilizer on the lawn going in two directions using a drop spreader, so that the application overlaps. Use the tire tracks of the fertilizer spreader previous pass as a guide when fertilizing.
Aerate the lawn in September using a core aeration device to ease soil compaction and the development of thatch on the lawn. A core aerator removes plugs of dirt from the lawn, which break down the dead plants that create thatch, and increases water retention. Use a powered core aerator device by running it north to south and east to west along the lawn to remove plugs. Rake the lawn after aerating to break up the dirt.