Dead Sod and wanting to restart

Asked March 26, 2020, 2:07 PM EDT

Hi, When i purchased my house October 2017 they had installed Sod and we were to water it daily. We did this until the ground began to freeze. Present date we have bald spots all over our yard, some places have sunken and the grass just doesn't want to grow. What should i do? When can i rake? When should i put down grass seed? I also want to repair the sunken area near my concrete walkway, should i grade with top soil? Just looking for some repair and refresh tips.

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thanks for the question.

Once your lawn has dried out, gently rake things up to remove any dead grass. Having done that, consider having your lawn aerated assuming that you have not done this since you moved in. Compacted soil often exists with sodded turf.

Low spots could be filled in with top soil that can be purchased in bulk from various gardening centers. Do not use what is sometimes called “black dirt”. Top soil is far preferable.

The type of grass seed that you plant will depend upon how much light your yard receives. Avoid using any seed mix that contains significant amounts of annual ryegrass. While it germinates and grows quickly, it dies every fall and must be re-seeded. A good grass to consider is fine fescue. Fescues are good choices for lawns - they are shade and drought-tolerant - but they green up later in the season than Kentucky bluegrass.

Once the raking, aeration, and addition of top soil in low areas are completed, you could top seed with the appropriate grass. While fall is the best time to do this seeding, it can also be done in the spring (mid to late May).

Here are some publications that will provide information on these and other points:

https://extension.umn.edu/lawn-care/renovating-lawn-quality-and-sustainability

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/lawn-care-calendar

https://turf.umn.edu/news/finding-right-grass-seed

https://extension.umn.edu/lawns-and-landscapes/lawn-care

Please get back to us should you need further direction and/or information.

Good Luck!!