How to Fix an Unhealthy Lawn: Repair Guide

By Britt Olizarowicz

If you have somehow started to lose control of your lawn, this is the guide you need. Whether it is bare spots, excess foot traffic, weeds, burnout, or more, we can give you ideas on how to retain a healthy lawn. Some homeowners worry that a lawn replacement is necessary, but sometimes there are ways to avoid that with a quick and easy fix. Let’s dive into how to fix your lawn and make it green again.

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Common Types of Lawn Damage

Lawns get damaged for several reasons, some of them having nothing to do with your maintenance and more with the weather or climate. Here are the most common types of lawn damage.

Winter Damage

A harsh winter can do a number on your landscaping. If you get through the early spring and notice that there is still damage to the turf, it was likely caused by issues over the winter season.

Lawn Pests

Anything from grubs to moles can move in and start deteriorating your lawn. Lawn pests do a lot of damage, and they can do it quickly; knowing the signs and what to look for is essential.

Pet Damage

Pets will cause issues with new grass as they are known to dig up turf and pull at it when they run and move around. In addition, pet urine can leave yellow and browned-out spots on the turf.

Weeds and Thatch Issues

When grass is weak, the weeds move in and take over. In addition, thatch can create a problem with airflow through the grass and bring about issues like fungus and brown spots.

Drought or Overwatering

The perfect balance of water on your lawn may be hard to find. Homeowners need to pay close attention to their watering habits, or fungus and dead grass can quickly come about.

Grass burn

Grass can burn out if you mow it too short, if it doesn’t have enough water, or if it is exposed to a non-selective herbicide. Grass burn will typically be very easy to spot with streaks or circles of brown and yellow spots.

7 Quick and Easy Ways to Fix an Unhealthy Lawn

As you start to work on issues in your lawn, it’s essential to pay attention to the time of year and the reason you may have problems like crabgrass, weeds, and bare patches. Here are 7 quick and easy ways to fix an unhealthy lawn; more than one may apply to your lawn needs.

Rake It Out

Raking out the area that is impacted is one of the most important steps to fixing a lawn. When raking out an area, you can see if there is a thin layer of new growth underneath or if the area has completely died out.

When you rake out, you will remove grass clippings and other organic matter and leave the area open to water and air. This process, with the addition of a little grass seed, can be all that you need to repair a patchy lawn.

Invest In A Great Spreader

If you are a DIY person and want to be able to keep your grass looking great through the growing season, you will need a spreader. When coloration is an issue, chances are you need fertilization. The spreader can also be used for applying grass seed to strengthen grass growth. Spreaders help when a weed and feed product needs to be applied as well.

With a lawn that looks like it is starting to get a weed problem, post-emergent weed control can be applied with a great spreader. Always check the application rates and settings and follow them closely.

Do A Soil Test

Soil tests are easy, inexpensive, and can quickly help you green up your turf. Many companies allow you to send away for a soil test, but local garden centers can also read the results at times. The soil test could help you see issues like low potassium levels in your grass.

Before you spend too much time working on ways to fix your lawn, the soil test is a great step to take.

Apply Lime or Gypsum

Pet spots are a significant problem for homeowners, and sometimes they can be neutralized. If you see your animal has just created a spot on the turf, head over and flush it out with some water. The water will help to ensure the burn to the grass is not as strong. Then you can apply some lime or gypsum to the area and water again with the garden hose.

Pay close attention to this spot and rake it out if necessary. Following these steps can help ensure that you don’t lose all the grass in this area, and your lawn renovation needs will not be nearly as bad.

Spot Spray or Pull Weeds

Weed killer is tough because it will sometimes kill the grass around it. Crabgrass preventers and spot sprays for weeds can help you get a handle on the weed growth before it takes over. Remember that issues with compacted soil, improper watering, and lack of fertilization will weaken your turf and allow weeds to take over.

If you want to stay on top of the weed situation, start pulling them when you see them and then treat them with a pre-emergent.

Time The Water

All grass needs water, but homeowners are notorious for watering a new lawn too much or too little. Pay close attention to when and for how long you water your grass.

Follow our guide on the best time to water the grass and how much water to apply.

Apply Chicken Manure

Chicken manure is a great way to green up your lawn. If you are struggling with the coloration of your grass, add some chicken manure to the spreader and let it do its thing. Most of the time, fertilization like this, whether organic or inorganic, should be applied after mowing and be watered in after application. Check the chicken manure packaging for the proper spreader rates, and complete this process in the spring.

Simple Steps to Keeping Your Lawn Healthy

Keeping your lawn healthy does not need to be a full-time job. In fact, if you start taking care of your existing grass just a little bit better, you may not have to fix a lawn. Instead, you can work on new germination and keep the color looking great without having to worry about fixes. Here are some simple steps to keeping your lawn healthy.

  • Set the lawn mower to the proper height for your grass type; too short will stress the lawn
  • If you want a green lawn, make sure to fertilize it at least two times per year
  • Overseeding, aeration, and dethatching should be part of your annual maintenance procedures
  • A sprinkler system with a timer will help to keep water levels where they need to be
  • Pre-emergent weed control makes post-emergent weed control considerably easier to deal with
  • Pay close attention to lawn fertilizer and weed control application times as they will vary depending on climate and on the product being distributed
  • Periodic soil tests can identify issues before they get out of hand

What Is the Best Way To Repair Grass?

The best way to repair grass will depend on why you have bare patches and dead spots, but there are some basic steps you can follow to ensure your grass is headed in the right direction.

Step 1: Identify The Issue

If you want your grass to stay looking great, you must understand the issue that has caused the problem. Whether it is pests, incorrect mower height, or a sprinkler not on the proper timer, determine what the issue is.

Step 2: Rake It Out

Rake out the area so that the spot can get air again; this also allows you a better view of any other issues that you may find.

Step 3: Soil Test

If you are still unsure as to what has caused the issue, think about a soil test to confirm your thoughts.

Step 4: Treat

Treat the turf depending on the issue. This could include anything from dethatching to lawn pest spray to fertilization.

Step 5: Grass Seed

Once the area has been prepped, add in some grass seed and water accordingly.

Step 6: Monitor

It can take both time and money to repair grass; keep a close eye on dead patches that you are working on filling in. These sensitive areas sometimes need help with a bit of extra water or some boosters to speed up growth.

Compare Top Lawn Care Services

Sometimes keeping a lawn green and healthy is a bit more than you can handle. If this is the case, you are not alone. The key here is that to keep a great-looking lawn, you must invest time. Time is something that not everyone has to invest in, and these top lawn care services can step in and help.

Our Top Recommended Lawn Care Professional

TruGreen is the best overall lawn care professional. With locations throughout the United States, more than 15 years in the industry, and fair pricing for all customers, TruGreen has created a name for itself as one of the best lawn care professionals to ever come to market. One of the great things about TruGreen is its broad depth of knowledge and the ability to not only maintain a lawn but to fix it as well. If your grass is in bad shape, reach out to TruGreen, and they will put together a plan to get it back.

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Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you can now see how to fix lawn issues and why preventative maintenance is so important for keeping these lawn issues at pay. Whether you have winter damage, problems with pests, or you have been overwatering, take a close look at your lawn maintenance procedures and start to make some changes.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I fix my whole lawn?

Check out the video below for a step by step on fixing your lawn:

How do I bring my lawn back to life?

One of the best ways to bring your lawn back to life is to do a soil test and then apply a fertilizer that helps bring your yard the nutrients it needs. If the grass looks weak or bare, chances are it has a nutrient deficiency, but it is also essential to check on watering practices.

How to fix my lawn from drought?

When you experience a drought, it makes sense to start watering as soon as possible. In addition, increase the mower height so that you do not stress the lawn any further. Fertilization is a good step; once the drought situation gets a tad better, chances are your lawn will be depleted and need the nutrients from the fertilizer to make a full recovery.

How do I fix my lawn from being too wet?

Turf that is too wet typically needs better drainage. Installing drains in areas where water pools can help prevent the turf from getting too wet; in addition, aeration tends to allow water to move through the soil considerably easier. Compacted soil can create areas that are too wet, which will, in turn, bring about fungus-related problems in the grass.

How do I fix my lawn from weeds?

Proper weed control involves both a pre-emergent solution and a post-emergent solution. Treat for weeds before you see them with a pre-emergent control; once they pop up, you can use post-emergent. However, pre-emergent is much more effective and must be used in combination with post-emergent weed killer. Pulling weeds in areas where the issues are bad is also a smart idea.

House Method’s Rating Methodology

At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each lawn company/service according to our methodology.

Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each lawn care service’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the lawn care companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.

We developed a formula to objectively determine the best lawn care companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:

  • Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
  • Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at the number of lawn care coverages, including weed control, seeding, irrigation, aeration, dethatching, and more.
  • Trust (10): What do customers say after their lawn has been serviced? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
  • Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same lawn services.
  • Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as organic treatments, pest control, or a mobile app? We looked for perks each company offers that set them apart from the competition.
  • Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
  • Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.

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