14 Reasons Why Your Grass Is Dying in Patches and How to Repair It?

Even the best-tended lawn can sometimes get bald, dead patches. Usually, the reason is obvious like watering, but sometimes it can be very difficult to detect what is happening to your lawn, and how you can restore it.

Why is your grass dying in patches?

Grass patches occur in lawns due to fungus diseases, grub damage, dog urine, heat, and drought. These things damage the grass and create patches that don’t come back to life again.

If you are seeing patches in your lawn then first you need to see what is causing these patches and then take necessary precautions to eliminate the cause from your lawn. Let’s discuss these problems and how to eliminate them in detail:

lawn acidity and patches

What causes patchy lawn 

  • Fungal disease – Fungal disease is a very common cause of bare patches in your lawn as it makes your grass weak and unhealthy, which dies after some time causing a patch in your lawn. To eliminate fungal disease, you need to apply pesticides to your lawn.
  • Animal damage – your pets or other animals roaming and playing on your lawn can also cause patches in your lawn. This can happen due to digging or heavy foot traffic. To stop this damage you need to fence your lawn or make sure that your pets don’t dig up in your lawn.
  • Grub damage – Grub can also cause patches in your lawn by eating the roots of the grass. Every lawn has some amount of grubs but if you are seeing a lot of them in your lawn then you need to take precautions by applying a grub controller to your lawn.
  • Heat and drought – Heat and drought are a very common issue for patches in your lawn. Your grass can be burned out due to excessive heat or drought and create an ugly patch. To eliminate this you can reseed your lawn with drought-tolerant grass.
  • Bad pH level – if your lawn is acidic or alkaline it can cause problems and can create patches in your lawn. The pH level of the lawn should be between 6-7. If it’s higher or lower than that, then the grass will start turning yellow and brown and dying, making patches in your lawn. To eliminate this, test your soil for the pH level and if the pH level is not suitable for the grass, apply garden lime to your lawn. Lime helps restore the pH level of the soil.
  • Foot traffic -foot traffic can also damage the lawn and block grass growth creating dull patches. If you are seeing patches in your lawn on heavy foot traffic areas then you should consider reseeding your lawn with different grass which can tolerate heavy foot traffic. 
  • Weeds –  weeds can be a cause of making patches in your lawn by taking up essential nutrients from the soil and depriving the grass of these nutrients by making the soil infertile. You can eliminate weed in your lawn by using herbicide in your lawn or by pulling it out manually.
  • Dull blade on mower – if your lawnmower has a dull blade, the bad cuts on the grass can sometimes cause disease and attract fungus. These fungi and diseases will kill the grass creating ugly patches in your lawn. Make sure that the blade on the mower is sharp and it’s making clean cuts to the grass.
  • Compacted soil – compacted soil is also a reason for causing patches in the lawn as it blocks essential nutrients and oxygen to get to the roots of the grass and killing it in the process. To eliminate compacted soil in your lawn you need to aerate your lawn which will make your soil loose and provide all the essential nutrients to the roots.
  • Thatch – Thatch can build up in your lawn if you don’t take proper care and create some problems. Thatch is an accumulation of dead and decaying plants and other materials like tree leaves. Thatch blocks water and food from getting into the roots and the plants begin to dry out, causing brown spots in your lawn. To dethatch your lawn, take a rake and start raking your lawn gently and remove the top layer from the soil. This layer can go into the compost bin and can be used as compost later. 
  • Cinch bugs – Cinch bugs drain the juice from the plant and make them look witted and ugly. If you are seeing the grass looking dull and then becoming brown then pull up a patch and look for tiny red, brown or black bugs with some white marking on them. Proper watering and caring will prevent these bugs from your lawn. Try to avoid using pesticides as they will also damage your lawn.
  • Spilled chemicals – Excess amounts of chemicals in your lawn can also cause some serious issues. If you have spilled chemicals in the lawn then it can make some bare patches where the concentration of the chemical is very high. To prevent your lawn from a chemical spill, water the spot thoroughly to decrease the concentration of the chemical in one area.
  • Fertilizer burnFertilizer burn is a very common cause of patches in the lawn. Applying too much fertilizer on your lawn may burn the grassroots and leave your grass dead. Try to apply a slow-release fertilizer to your lawn so that your lawn gets all the essential nutrients slowly and is not burned out due to over-fertilization. If you spilled too much fertilizer in one area of the lawn, water it thoroughly and wash out as much fertilizer as you can.

How to bring back dead grass patches

Now you know what are the different causes which can make patches in your lawn. Let’s now talk about how you are going to repair these patches to make your look beautiful and thick.

This is how you repair bare patches in your lawn:

  1. Understand the issue – the first thing is to understand what is causing patches in your lawn. You would have known by now what is causing these patches.
  1. Prevent your lawn from future damage – now take proper precautions as discussed above to eliminate the cause which is making patches in your lawn.
  1. Prepare the lawn – the next step is to prepare your lawn for reseeding or those patches in your lawn. There are 3 things you should do to prepare your lawn.
    1. Test – first step in this is to test the soil to make sure the pH level is good and the soil has all the essential nutrients for the grass to grow healthy and thick.
    2. Dethatching – the second step is to dethatch and aerate your lawn so all the essential nutrients like oxygen and water can properly go to the roots.
    3. Herbicide – if you have weeds in your lawn then apply a pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn to make sure there is no weed growing in your lawn in the future.
  1. Reseed – After preparing your lawn, reseed your lawn. Proper reseeding is very necessary as it will make your lawn look even and healthy and won’t create any patches in your lawn. Divide the batch of seed into two parts and seed one batch vertically and the other one horizontally. This will make sure the seeds are evenly spread.
  1. Till – after seeding till the soil over the seed so that seeds are properly covered and can take up nutrients and water from the soil.
  1. Fertilization – Fertilize the lawn with the starter fertilizer to boost the germination process and to make sure the seeds have all the nutrients to grow.
  1. Water – irrigate your lawn lightly two to three times a day for the initial days to keep the soil moist so that the seeds can germinate fast as seeds need cool conditions to germinate. After a week you can reduce the frequency of the watering gradually.
  1. Take care – after all of this taking care of your lawn is very necessary for the first 2-3 months by proper watering, mowing, and fertilization.

How to Avoid Dead Grass in the Future

Once you have revived your lawn from dead grass, take care of it properly with these things in mind:

  • Irrigate the newly seeded patches with a low amount of water 2-3 times a day to keep it moist in the beginning, then gradually reduce the frequency by increasing the amount of water.
  • Make a proper schedule for mowing your lawn. Mowing once a week will promote the growth of the grass as well as make your lawn look good. Do keep in mind that don’t cut the grass more than 1/3rd of the total height as it can harm the grass and make it stressed out.
  • For the initial period fertilize your lawn every 2 months and after one year, when your lawn is established fertilize it every 6 months.
  • Aeration and dethatching are very necessary for a healthy lawn so try to aerate and dethatch your lawn every 1.5 to 2 years.
  • Keep your pets out of the lawn or try to create a specific spot where they can urinate as the urine can harm the lawn and make it acidic.

Will watering dead grass bring it back?

No, watering dead grass will not bring it back as it is dead and can’t grow back. To grow grass you need to reseed that part of the lawn. The first check why the grass is dying, what are the causes, and then prevent it by taking necessary actions then reseed that part of the lawn to grow the grass back.

Can dead grass come back to life?

No dead grass doesn’t come back to life as the roots of the grass are dead. If the roots are alive then the grass can grow back but if the roots are dead then it can’t grow back. You need to reseed the lawn to grow the grass back.

How to revive dead grass fast?

You cannot revive dead grass as it is already dead and can’t grow itself back. But you can revive your lawn by removing the dead grass and planting sod or reseeding it with grass seeds.