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How to Remove Dead Grass From a Lawn

Every homeowner wants a lush green lawn that is the talk of the town. Despite all efforts, however, there are times when the grass in your lawn starts to turn brown, and eventually dies out. There are a number of reasons why grass fails to grow and dies out. Some reasons include poor or improper soil drainage, improper pH level of soil, over or under watering, foot traffic, pests or over feeding with fertilizer. These burnt or dead patches of grass look unsightly and need to be removed before growing fresh grass.

Remove patches of dead grass from your lawn only when the planting time is correct for new grass. Warm season grasses are best planted late spring, while cool grasses are planted in early fall.

Determine the extent of dead grass in your lawn to decide whether you should remove it manually or rent a dethatcher. You cannot assess this from afar--you have to walk through the lawn to view the damage. Remove small areas of dead grass from your lawn manually, but use a dethatcher for large areas.

Wet the area with a garden hose so the soil becomes loose, and use a shovel to dig 2 inches deep into the soil so you can remove patches of dead grass along with the roots, thus exposing fresh soil. To make the task easier, demarcate the area into 1-foot square patches with powdered chalk. Slice through the lines and lift up smaller segments as you work your way across the entire patch.

Rent a lawn dethatcher from your local rental company or garden supply center if the area of dead grass is wide. This machine is similar to a lawn mower but pulls out dead grass at root level. Set the calibration to the appropriate grass level and switch it on to begin your work. To make the task easier, divide your lawn into sections and complete one section before moving to another one.

Collect dead grass in a wheelbarrow and dispose off appropriately.


If possible, identify the cause of dead spots to prevent them from occurring again. Divert foot traffic and pets that urinate from your lawn by installing posts with wiring around them, apply pesticide to tackle ant infestation, avoid over watering by watering occasionally but deeply and follow label instructions when fertilizing your lawn to prevent overfeeding it. Use a power rake to remove very small patches of dead grass. Pull an inch of soil along with the grass in order to expose fresh soil. Incorporate some organic matter such as compost into the exposed soil to provide it some nutrients prior to seeding new grass or planting sod.

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