Every homeowner wants a lush, green lawn with healthy grass. Dry and patchy grass makes the lawn unattractive and lowers your property’s value. If your lawn is brown and damaged, there is still hope of restoring it. However, if the grass is dead and destroyed, you must clear your yard and plant new grass.

To revive your lawn, you should first establish the cause of the grass damage. Knowing why your grass is yellowing and drying helps you find the appropriate solution. You should also check if the grass is dead or dormant to avoid wasting energy and resources on reviving dead grass.

How do you tell whether the grass is dormant or dead?

Since both dead and dormant grass is brown and discolored, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. However, some signs show that the grass is entirely damaged or dead.
Trying the tug test on your grass is a great way to check if you have dead grass on your lawn. Grab a small section of grass and tug it slightly. Dead grass will effortlessly pull out of the soil.

You can also check the roots to see whether the grass is dead. If the roots are white, the grass is dormant. Dead grass has grey and brittle roots and cannot be revived. It also does not stand upright and it’s entirely brown.

Dormancy in grass is a survival mechanism that keeps nutrients and energy in reserve so the grass can tolerate the hot seasons. Dormant grass prioritizes growing its roots over maintaining a lush, green appearance, giving the impression that the grass is lifeless. However, dormant grass can only survive for a few weeks without proper protection.

Reasons Why Your Grass is Brown

Poor Irrigation methods

Improper irrigation significantly contributes to grass discoloration. Most homeowners water their lawns too frequently with excessive water and ineffective methods. Overwatering keeps water from reaching the roots hence making grass brown. Some use too little water to irrigate hence making the grass dry.
Soils differ in density. Some types of soil hold more or less water than others. You risk overwatering your lawn and destroying grass if you use a lot of water on dense soil that saturates quickly.

Dry Weather
Grass in hot areas with little rain is often brown and dry due to dehydration. It is common to find lawns with brown grass in such places, especially where homeowners fail to irrigate their yards adequately. Prolonged dry seasons and hot climate can completely dry and destroy the grass making it impossible to revive your lawn.


Pests feed on vital grass parts, such as the roots and leaves. As a result, these insects damage the plant and begin to brown and turn yellow. You can easily uproot pest-infested grass since its roots are weak from the damage. Overwatering your lawn attracts pests such as grubs that destroy the grass. You should ensure that you do not use excess water or fertilizer on your grass.

Excessive Fertilizer

While fertilizer is vital for healthy grass, too much of it damages grass leaving it dry and discolored. Salt buildup from fertilizers and ice melters leads to high salt concentration in the soil, which consequently burns and destroys grass. Watering your lawn with adequate water after applying fertilizer will help lower the salt concentration and reduce the risk of damage.

Stages to Restore Your Lawn

Remove Turf and Dead Matter

Layers of dead leaves, stems and debris inhibit effective germination as they prevent seeds from reaching the soil and keep water and air from getting to the soil. Removing turf, thatch and debris make room for new seeds to germinate properly.

Aerate your Soil

Soil aeration helps to loosen soil and reduces soil compaction. Soil with tightly packed particles has minimal infiltration rates and does not quickly absorb water and nutrients. To aerate your lawn, dig out about three inches of soil. This process will make your soil loose and allow easy water and air absorption.

Spread the seeds

Before buying grass seeds, consider the climate in your area and only grow grass that suits your environment. Scatter the seeds, plant them with a section of each seed covered in soil, and tamp them.


Feed your soil suitable fertilizer as instructed to help the seed germinate and grow healthily. Before buying fertilizer, you should test your soil to find its required nutrients. Note that using excessive fertilizer will burn your grass and make it brown.

Irrigate and mulch

Use adequate water to irrigate your grass seeds and cover them with leaves to lower evaporation. Evaporation leads to water loss and keeps the seeds from germinating. Also, only water the top level of the soil surface. Applying mulch also helps to prevent seed washout.

Watering Your Lawn Effectively

It is important to note that watering dead grass does not help to revive it. Instead, irrigating the dead lawn will make the grass rot and decompose and encourage mold and fungi growth. Watering dead grass is a waste of water, energy and time as this grass cannot be restored. You can, however, grow new grass on the damaged patch.
Overwatering leads to grass discoloration that leaves your lawn brown and unappealing. Most homeowners overwater their lawns by feeding their grass with excessive water daily. If you want your grass to thrive and stay green, irrigate it after every two days to allow room for water absorption to the roots.

Finding an effective irrigation method will also help you avoid using excessive water on your grass. Some irrigation methods encourage water wastage and shallow watering. Shallow watering leads to loss of water through evaporation and poor root development. Grass with weak and shallow root systems dry up and turn brown and ugly over time.


Restoring your lawn to its lush, green state is possible. To save your grass from dying, you should take measures to reviving it early. However, regular maintenance is necessary to keep your grass and lawn healthy and appealing.