Turf Grass Science: Effective Methods in Rescuing a Dying Lawn

Turf Grass Science: Effective Methods in Rescuing a Dying Lawn

October 20, 2021 Off By Clarence Reese

In summer, your lawn can quickly frizzle, making your lush green turfgrass into crispy brown shades. You may also have noticed that they become patchy and straw-like during winter. 

Many homeowners believe that brown turf means dead. But the good news is that your turfgrass may only be in the state of dormancy. 

So, can you save a dying lawn? Generally, yes, depending on particular circumstances, like what is causing the browning in the first place. Drought is the primary reason for dying grass. If your lawn is totally dead because of drought, you may need to find a turfgrass grower near you to replace your turf. 

What Are Dormant Grasses?

Grasses naturally “shut down” and turn brown to conserve water and nutrients during the colder months. Hot and dry conditions can stress out grasses, so they go dormant. Fortunately, they can safely go dormant for three to four weeks without dying, though extreme drought will kill them over time. 

Brown turf is visually unappealing, but they will green up once conditions improve. In addition to the weather, be aware of other reasons for lawn browning, including excessive nitrogen, insects, cultural practices, lawn diseases, pet spots, fungus, and poor soil conditions. If your location has acidic soil and a cooler climate, consider a TifBlair Centipede Grass a centipede variety with minimal fertility requirements. Click right here to know more.

How to Revive Dying Lawn

It doesn’t need a lawn expert to salvage a dying lawn. Taking some simple actions can do the job.

1. Apply Fungicide

Though most lawns recover without chemicals, you may need to combat brown patches with fungicides. Depending on the fungicide, improvements can show after as little as 24 hours. 

2. Eliminate Excessive Thatch

Thatching is when some decomposing plant materials create a layer of buildup across your soil’s surface. A Thatch thicker than a half-inch can negatively impact the movement of nutrients, air, and water. Also, excessive thatch prevents roots from developing correctly, causing disease and insect issues.

Eliminate any excess thatch using a power rake or vertical mower. Comb through the grass in a back and forth motion with enough pressure to reach the bottom layer of thatch and penetrate the soil slightly.

3. Water Your Lawn Properly

Ensure to water your lawn correctly since excessive moisture can lead to brown patches. 10 a.m. or between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the ideal times so that the grass dries out fully before nightfall. If you let your grass remain wet all night, it can become more susceptible to pests and disease.

For instance, a beautiful variety called Zeon Zoysia turfgrass requires 1″ of water once a week. In summer, increase it to 2 1/2″ per week to keep your lawn healthy.

4. Aerate Your Lawn 

Because timing is the key, aerate your lawn in late spring and early autumn using a solid and long-handled fork. Lawns can become compacted through various weather conditions that restrict the absorption of water, air, and nutrients at the root level. 

Dig the fork down into the lawn and create small holes. Leave at least a set of holes every two feet or until the entire lawn is aerated. This will stimulate new growth, improve water drainage, and de-compact your lawn below surface level. 

5. Mowing Can Grow Your Grass Thicker

When the cold winter is almost over, and your grass seedlings are established and dry, start mowing at least once in two weeks in spring. In summer, mow your lawn once a week to encourage full and thick regrowth. 

6. Stay off Your Lawn During Drought

Avoid foot traffic and lawn equipment on your lawn, especially during drought. The weight of these activities can compact the soil, which makes it more difficult for the lawn to absorb moisture.

7. Leave Grass Clippings on the Lawn

Grass clippings can give much-needed moisture. After mowing, leave these clippings but don’t let them get too thick or clump together in mats since they can suffocate the lawn.