Will Watering Dead Grass Bring it Back?

Browned or dry grass does not mean it is completely dead; sometimes the grass is just dormant and hibernating from the harsh weather elements. So, will watering dead grass bring it back?

No, watering will not bring back to life dead grass. However, water may revive dormant or drying grass as a result of drought or severe dehydration.

Will watering dead grass bring it back?

Before you think of reviving the dead grass, you want to first test the grass to ascertain if it is completely dead or is just dormant. If it is dormant, then you can go ahead with the process of reviving it. If it is dead, then this is bad news and you have to plant a new lawn.

Whether dead or dormant, patches of brown and dry grass on your lawn is unsightly and does not augur very well for your image especially when the lawn is on the front side of the house.

No amount of water can bring back dead grass. Dead grass does not even have the ability to absorb any water. Thorough watering can only revive a dormant or severe dehydrated grass. Otherwise remove the dead grass from your lawn and start afresh.

What does dead grass look like?

You cannot tell if the grass is dead or not by just looking at it. This is because you might think the grass is a goner while on the other hand it is just dormant. However, there are signs that you should look out for in dead grass; the brown color and dryness.

When grass is dead, it loses its lush green color because it has no life in it, and this why it turns brown. And because dead grass has lost its succulence out of dehydration, its texture becomes hard and this is why it is dry.

You can also easily tell if the grass is dead if its straws are easily coming off. This is because dead grass has a dead root system so coming off should not take a muscle. 

Dormant vs. dead grass

Telling the difference between dead and dormant grass is usually confusing at times, why? This is because these two are similar in terms of appearance and texture. But with a few tests, you can tell the difference between dead and dormant grass on your lawn.

One of the tests is known as ‘tug test which is performed by pulling the grass straws. If it plucks so easily, then the grass root system is decomposed, which means that grass is dead. If the grass is dormant, the whole lawn will most likely have a uniform brown color because it means the grass is just dehydrated.

On the other hand, brown patches are a clear indicator of another problem, other than dehydration. And because the main reason for dead or dormant grass is dehydration due to dry climatic conditions and lack of enough watering, then you can water it to see if it is dead or just dormant.

If the grass is just dormant, then it should get its lush green color and succulent texture after a few days. If the grass is dead, then nothing happens to it, even with weeks of watering. 

Can you bring dead grass back to life?

After investing so much of your hard-earned resources and precious time, the thought of dead grass can be so disheartening. Dead grass cannot be brought back to life. But the good news is that, there is a fix for dry brown grass patches that you see on your lawn..

Even in the hot climatic conditions, the grass can be brought back to its glory days with watering, coupled with other effective practices. This is because heat does not kill grass; but the dehydration that results from a hot climate.

How to Revive Dying (Dormant) Grass

You can bring dying grass back to life through the following:

1. Water it thoroughly.

The main reason behind drying or dormant grass is dehydration that is caused by several factors. Lack of enough watering in hot climates or seasons like the summer leaves the grass with very little water for its survival, thus it weathers off.

During planting, you may have applied so much fertilizer on some spots than others or failed to water it. Fertilizers have chemicals that draw water from the areas nearby, hence leaving the grass with very little water for its survival.

This is why it is advisable to water the lawn after applying chemical fertilizer; to dissolve it and render it absorbent by the roots of the grass.

Ensure not to overwater your lawn because doing so only blocks air from penetrating the ground and this does more harm than good. Excess water would also cause the rotting of the roots and this would only cause further death of more grass. 

If you are the busy type, there is some good news. You can buy a smart sprinkler; this can be customized and set to sprinkle the grass up to a certain distance, at a specific time of the day and for a particular amount of time.

2. Mow the drying grass

Another great method of reviving your dead lawn grass is by mowing it. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Very overgrown grass does not allow sunlight to penetrate the straws of the grass, hence improper or stunted growth, while at times the growth stops completely. This happens when the grass is taller than ¾ inch.

Mowing reduces the height of the grass, exposing the freshly cut blades to sunlight and nutrients. But for the best results, consider leaving the clippings on the grass; these decompose to form a composite that is full of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

3. Top dress it

When the layer of the soil upon which the grass is growing is too thin, then grass may dry off. This is because with a thin layer of soil, the root development is curtailed and they will not gather enough water to nourish the grass.

You can reverse this situation by top dressing the grass. You can do this by either adding topsoil or some composite manure. Mulching is also a great alternative, which ensures the soil does not lose much of its water through evaporation in hot weather.

You can also aerate the lawn to reduce soil compaction, thus enhancing root development. This provides the roots of the grass with a solid enough ground for enhanced root development. 

4. Weed it

If you are keen, you will most likely see weeds and moss on the dead grass. Weeds may result in the death of lawn grass because these have a better and heavily distributed root system than the grass.

With these roots, they compete with the grass over the little water and nutrients available in the soil. At times, these weeds will overgrow the grass, hence blocking it from receiving enough sunlight for proper growth, and this results in the death of the grass.

The most notorious grass weed include dandelions, so weed it at its onset. And as you do this, ensure to remove the weeds from the roots to prevent its return. 

5. Fertilize it

Sometimes the lawn soil may be exhausted, especially if you have lived with one type of grass for way too long. This results in the depletion of the essential nutrients that support the proper growth of the grass.

Fertilizing the lawn reintroduces the grass with vital nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Chemical fertilizer is not very advisable since this has some harmful chemicals that poison the lawn soil with elevated acidity that raises its PH levels.

But when used within the right quantities, NPK fertilizer is still good and safe for reviving your dead lawn grass. Ensure to water the lawn after applying the fertilizer to prevent it from blowing with the wind and accelerating its absorption by the roots.

As you do this, keep in mind that excess fertilizer only works by poisoning the grass instead of nourishing it, and this causes the death of more grass. 

6. Aerate it

Very compacted soil hinders proper development of the root system; hence it cannot reach further for maximum nourishment. Aerating the grass using a hollow tine rake mixes the foundation and topsoil. This ensures the enhanced root development of the dormant grass, hence reviving it.  


If your grass has gone torpid on account of heat or lack of hydration, giving adequate water ought to permit it to start effectively developing once more, reestablishing its rich green shading. Simply be certain not to overwater it, because suffocating your grass can be similarly as awful as drying out it.

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