With the cooler weather and rainfall, grass that survived the summer stress will have returned green. Any brown grass now is likely dead. There are three options to revive the dead areas:

  • Let it recover on its own
  • Sod the area
  • Seed the area

Kentucky bluegrass will move laterally 3 inches per month during the growing season. Using this information, based on the size of your brown patch, you can calculate how many months it will take for the grass to fill in. While you wait for it to move laterally, you will have more weeds in those areas. This is an excellent option if there are a few small spots, but not a good option for larger damaged areas.

Sodding provides instant recovery. If you choose this route, make sure to prepare the site by removing all dead material. Loosen the dirt to encourage rooting and provide copious water after installation. Because of issues blending in the sod with the existing lawn and amount of work to prepare the site, we only recommend sodding if instant recovery is desired.

Seeding is our preferred method of repair because it can blend with the existing lawn better and the right type of species and varieties for your property can be used. Dead grass can be left in place. We recommend aerating to disturb the soil and provide a place for seed to soil contact. Watering afterwards is required to establish seed properly.

Given our background in turf research and desire to continuously innovate our methods, we started a trial a few weeks ago focused on 4 different methods to prepare a lawn for seed.

  • Stripping off the dead turf to bare dirt and raking in the seed
  • Mechanical aeration of the dead turf and seeding over the top
  • Applying seed over the dead grass and raking it in
  • Apply seed over dead grass and doing nothing else

The result: Eight days after seeding treatments 1 and 2 have significant seed germination (Photo 1 above). Treatments 3 and 4 have minimal germination (Photo 2 above).

We will keep collecting data and adjusting our practices to provide you the best results.