Will Watering Dead Grass Bring It Back? – How to Fix It

Have you ever been out of town for a while and returned and spot brown grass or brown patches in your lawn? What does that mean? Did your grass die? What should you do further? It’s very confusing, right? Hop onto the article ahead for a perfect guide. 

The most common query is, 

Will watering the dead grass make them alive? 

No, watering the dead grass in the lawn won’t bring it back as it is already dead and dead grass doesn’t grow back whatever you try or do. The reason behind it is the roots as they are also dead, which takes up the nutrients and water from the soil and provides it to the leaves and other parts of the plant to grow.

Now you know that watering the dead grass doesn’t work. Are you curious about the reasons for How and Why your grass died? Scroll further to understand it completely. 

If you are seeing your lawn as brown instead of green, then there are 2 possibilities. Either the grass is dead due to some problem or it is dormant because of the season. But what are the differences between dead and dormant grass? Let’s see:

Will Watering Dead Grass Bring It Back? - How to Fix It

Difference between Dead and Dormant grass

Dead grass:

  • They are now dead and can’t come back to life, whatever you do. 
  • It can be caused by a disease or shade or lack of nutrients in the soil. 
  • Unhealthy lawns can also cause dead grass patches which can’t be revived. 
  • The dead grass becomes brown from its green colour and the leaves fall to the ground.
  •  The roots of the dead grass are also dead and won’t grow new grass from it.

Dormant grass:

  • It goes dormant in the stressful season like cool-season grasses go dormant in summer and warm-season grasses go dormant in the cool season. 
  • The dormancy of the grass is to conserve essential nutrients and water in the stressful season and to grow back to normal when the season ends.
  •  The dormant grass looks like it is dead from the brown colour but it is not. 
  • The roots of the dormant grass are alive and can grow new grass leaves from it when the conditions are right.

How to check whether the grass is dead or dormant? 

There is always some confusion in the lawn owner’s head when he sees brown grass on the lawn. Is the grass dead or is it dormant? How will you determine it? 

The main thing to determine first if the grass is dormant or dead is to see what season your lawn is in and what is pattern in which brown grass is occurring. Let’s see in detail how you can determine if the grass is dead or dormant.

  • Check grass type
  • Look for the pattern of patches
  • See if your region is currently facing a drought 
  • Pull the grass and observe if still unsure

Checking Grass-type

If you are seeing brown grass in your lawn, the first thing to see is what type of grass you have in your lawn and what season you are in as cool-season grasses go dormant in summer and warm-season grasses go dormant in the winter season.

So if you have cool-season grass and you are currently in a warm-season then there is more probability that the grass is dormant and not dead due to the seasonality. But if you are in a cool season then it can be dead.

Observing patches 

If you’re seeing brown patches instead of the whole lawn turning brown, then the most probable thing is the grass is due to a disease or soil compaction or the patching is not getting proper nutrients or water or sunlight which it needs to grow.

See if there is any problem in your lawn that is causing these patches by testing the soil for nutrients and pH levels of the soil. Another thing to check is whether the patch is getting proper water or not.

If your region is facing drought 

If your region is facing a drought, then it is possible the grass has gone into dormancy to conserve water from the soil and will revive back when it gets enough water consistently to grow thick and healthy.

But if the grass is facing drought for a long time then it may be going to die when all the water from the soil dries. So you need to provide some amount of water to the dormant grass to make it survive the dormancy.

Pull the grass and observe

If you are still confused if the grass is dead or dormant then you can do a test by pulling the grass from the soil. If the grass comes out very easily then it means the grass and the root is dead but if the grass resists pulling out or comes out with the roots then it means the root is alive and can produce new grass leaves.

As in dormancy, only the leaves become brown to conserve nutrients and water but the roots stay alive to grow back new leaves when the dormancy period ends. 

What to do if the grass is dead?

If you find out that the brown grass in your lawn is dead and not dormant, if it is a patch then you need to remove the dead grass with the help of a rake and then reseed or top-dress that patch. 

If the whole lawn is facing that issue then you need to first see what is causing the problem in the lawn by testing the soil and seeing if the soil is loose enough for the roots to grow healthier and then start over and reseed your whole lawn. Watering the dead grass or trying to make it grow back won’t help as it is already dead.

Let’s see in detail how you should reseed the lawn after removing the dead grass. 

How to reseed the lawn after removing dead grass? 

  • Test the soil – the first thing you need to do before anything else is to test the soil to see what amount of nutrients your soil already has or if the soil is healthy or acidic and what you need to provide to the soil to make it healthier again so that the grass doesn’t die again. 
  • Find the cause – after you have tested the soil, see the pH level and nitrogen levels of the soil. If the pH is higher than 7 or lower than 5 then the soil is acidic and you need to restore the pH level of the lawn. If the nitrogen level is low then you need to fertilize the soil to increase the nitrogen level. 

If after testing the soil, the nitrogen and pH levels are good then you need to find out what caused the grass to die in the lawn. Was it the improper watering or was it a shade or some other disease that made the grass die? What to do after knowing the cause? 

  • Prepare the soil – After you have tested and found the cause of the problem, then you need to prepare the soil to make it healthy and rich for the grass seed to properly germinate and grow in your lawn. Aerate the soil and dethatch to make the soil loose and free from dead grass so that roots can establish themselves properly in the soil. After this apply a batch of starter fertilizer to the soil to provide all the essential nutrients to the seeds to boost germination. 
  • Spread seed – after you have prepared the soil, now it’s time to spread the seed in the lawn. Spreading the seed properly is very crucial as if not done properly it can create patches in the lawn. 

Divide the whole quantity of seeds into two batches, and first spread the seeds vertically into the lawn spreading the seeds in every corner. 

When you have applied seeds vertically into the full lawn then take the second batch and spread the seed horizontally into the lawn. This will ensure that the seeds are spread evenly throughout the whole lawn and there is no patch left that can look ugly in the future. 

Steps after seeding the lawn. 

Rake – After seeding the lawn, raking the soil is very important. Raking helps the seeds to get covered with a thin layer of soil which helps the seed to be cool and moist, helping in the germination and providing essential nutrients from the soil. It also provides the security of the seeds from birds and animals which eat seeds. 

Water – After raking water the soil very lightly to keep the soil moist. Don’t water heavily as it can make the seeds float and drain out from the lawn. Light water the lawn 3-4 times a day to keep the soil moist throughout the day for a week.

After the first week, water your lawn once a day and increase the duration and after the second week slowly decreases the frequency and increase the duration of the watering until you water your lawn once a week with 1 inch of water.

This will ensure healthy growth of the roots in the soil which will make it heat and drought resistant and make your lawn thick and healthy. 

Maintain – Now you have completed the process of reseeding the lawn but the job is not done yet. You need to properly maintain the lawn to keep it healthy and thick and to see if the problem is occurring again or not. Maintain the lawn with proper mowing, regular watering, and proper fertilization of the lawn. Mowing, watering, and fertilization are the key to a healthy and perfect lawn. 

Can dead grass come back to life?

No, dead grass won’t come back to life, whatever you try or do to it as the roots of the grass also die when the grass dies and if the roots are dead the plant can’t get water and other nutrients from the soil to grow and become green. If the grass is dead, you need to remove it from the lawn and reseed that area.

What to do if the grass is dormant?

If you find out that the brown grass in your lawn is dormant and not dead then you don’t have to worry much. If it’s because of the seasonality the grass will come back to normal when the stressful season ends.

You just need to provide the grass with essential nutrients at the beginning of the dormancy and sometimes in the middle so that the grass can survive the dormancy very easily. 

If the grass is dormant due to the stress of drought then you need to provide water to the lawn so that the grass can survive the heat and drought and can come back easily when the heat and drought ends.

Should you water dormant grass?

If the grass is gone to dormancy because of the stress of heat and drought then you should water the dormant grass every week to make sure the grass doesn’t die due to lack of water as the roots need a few nutrients and water to survive the dormancy. 

How to revive dead grass fast?

You can’t revive dead grass on the lawn. The main reason behind it is that the grass is dead because the root of the grass is dead which provides essential nutrients to the leaves and other parts of the plant and it cannot come back to life again and can’t be revived with any kind of process or trick or in any other way.

So in the conclusion to the article

Can dead grass come back to life? 

No, as we have discussed above, the dead grass can’t come back to life because it can’t take up the essential nutrients from the soil to grow in the lawn. The grass needs to have live roots to take up nutrients and water from the soil to grow new leaves and revive itself.