How To Bring Back Dead St. Augustine Grass

Are you worried about St. Augustine grass not growing in your garden? Or have your neighbors highlighted you have dead patches in St. Augustine grass around parts of your yard?

If you answered yes, you are not alone. Every year, many gardeners encounter the same issues and watch as it appears their lawns are dying. However, all is not lost. In our guide, we can show that you can resurrect your St. Augustine grass, although it will be based on how much damage your lawn faces.

If you see your St. Augustine grass die and it is dead, there is little chance of restoring it, yet if you catch it in time, there are many things to do before you give up and start again. With yellowing, thinning, or bare spots, adequate watering, fertilization, and insect and weed control can help revitalize your lawn.

St. augustine grass

By the end of this guide, you’ll know enough to make sure your St. Augustine grass grows green again in the shortest amount of time. (Find the Best Fertilizer For St Augustine Grass)

Should I Rake Dead St. Augustine Grass?

Your grass can handle dethatching once it has grown to where it has to be mowed. This will take place in mid-to late-spring in St. Augustine.

Because a thatch rake does not hurt the stolons, it can be used for most of the growing season, but you should still allow enough time for a modest layer to form before dormancy.

It is here you should understand what can lead your lawn to this stage and appear as if it is dying.

Poor lawn care and maintenance cause a St. Augustine grass lawn to look dead because of the brown patches scattered around the lawn. Yet, sometimes, this browning doesn’t mean your grass is dead.

grub worms

Grub Damage

A grub worm infestation is signaled by over 5-10 grubs per square foot in your grass, which will eventually show when you develop brown patches on your lawn.

When you have a pest infestation, the grubworms eat away at the root system of your St. Augustine grass lawn, causing it to die in areas because of a lack of ability to absorb water and nutrients.

Chinch bugs or grub damage in a St. Augustine lawn, or any other grass species turf grass, appear as irregularly shaped brown patches of dead grass that never green up despite being watered frequently.

When Japanese beetles are in their larval stage, brown patches of dead grass occur in late spring, summer, and early fall. Apply grub control early in the spring to destroy the larvae before they become active and damage your lawn to prevent dead St. Augustine grass during this season.

Frost Damage

Frost damage can cause St. Augustine grass to grow and flourish green, then turn brown and appear burned in late winter and early spring. Frost damage manifests itself differently in different grass types, but St. Augustine grass becomes brown quickly and also uneven.

At these times, you can revive St. Augustine grass, but if the damage is too severe and your grass is dead of winter kill, you’ll need to replace it with new sod.

You can reseed St. Augustine grass with other turfgrasses in the fall, such as Bermuda grass, as this can help fill in and green up your lawn.

If you mow your grass too short in the fall, you risk damaging it with frost. You’ll find many dead, matted spots on the lawn, where you can rake to eliminate the dead grass.

Drought Stress

Drought stress symptoms include brown dead grass, poor growth, and wilting in your St. Augustine lawn because of insufficient soil moisture. Although it can be seen as drought tolerant, it can suffer from drought stress in temperate climates through the summer as temperatures rise and there is little to no rain.

If your St. Augustine has no water for over 6 weeks, it will turn brown and exhibit indications of death. With a good lawn watering routine of around 2-3 times a week, you’ll find this is the best way for how to bring back dead St. Augustine grass.

Fertilizer Burn

Excess fertilizer applied to your grass results in fertilizer burn. St. Augustine grass might show signs of withering, browning, and yellowing if over 1 pound of nitrogen is applied per 1000 square feet.

Soluble salts are found in many lawn fertilizers, and these salts burn root tissues and cause your lawn to turn brown or discolor when you apply fertilizer in the wrong amounts.

The following are symptoms of excessive fertilizer burn on your lawn:

  • Leaf scorch because of too much nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Leaf tips turning brown.
  • Lower grass blades turning yellow.
  • A nitrogen fertilizer crust appears on the soil surface.

Poor Soil Quality

If there is enough fertility, aeration, and moisture, St. Augustine grass can grow on a variety of soils. Poor soil quality and soil compaction might cause the grass to die and turn brown.

A lawn with a thin layer of topsoil and concrete, gravel, or rocks beneath it, for example, could cause St. Augustine grass withering. Heavily compacted clay soil prevents roots from growing deep enough to absorb nutrients and water, leading the grass to die slowly.

To revive dead St. Augustine grass, poor soil quality can be remedied using soil amendment methods. To revive and bring back St. Augustine grass, you’ll also need to make sure the soil pH and nutrient levels are in the correct range. (Learn How To Make St Augustine Grass Thicker)

Turf Diseases

Fungus or brown patch diseases, two common St. Augustine lawn diseases, can make your grass look dead and leave brown spots. Brown patch disease is identified by regular rings of dead grass and rusty-looking growths in a St. Augustine lawn, followed by yellowing and browning.

Lawn illnesses are more common in the fall and spring because the temperature is warm and humid, allowing fungi to thrive and spread in lawns. A St. Augustine lawn can be attacked by take-all root rot and gray leaf spot, causing it to turn brown and brown with dead patches.

You may revive St. Augustine grass from brown patch disease by treating lawn illnesses early and applying an anti-fungal treatment to bring dying grass back to life.

Will St. Augustine Grass Fill In Bare Spots?

If you have a St. Augustine grass lawn, you’ll need to sod or plug any bare spots. From your local garden center, purchase a few pieces of sod or enough plugs to fill your bare spots. Then cover the area with a thick layer of lawn dirt.

Giving your lawn 1–1.5 inches of water every week, providing your soil with the proper nutrients, and eliminating any pests such as chinch bugs or other animals that may destroy your St. Augustine grass are the best ways to revitalize it.

There’s no way to revive St. Augustine grass if it’s completely dead. You’ll need to start from scratch to develop a healthy lawn.

Here are a few steps on how to revive St. Augustine Grass:

More than a few methods deal with restoring your lawn through proper care, such as improving soil quality, dethatching, watering, and more.

Perform a soil test:

Perform a soil test. You can get simple to use at-home kits to test the soil and make sure you have healthy soil or what amendments you need to add.


Too much thatch can injure your St. Augustine grass, and anything above 1/2 inches can cause problems. Thatch is a decomposing layer of organic debris, such as grass clippings that form between the soil and the grass blades. After a while, they choke your grass and restrict access to nutrients, air, and water.


Careful Mowing:

Aim for the highest or second-highest setting on your mower. This will assist in healthy growth, have stronger roots, and better compete with weeds so your St. Augustine grass thrives.

watering the plant

Will Watering Dead Grass Bring It Back?

If your St. Augustine lawn appears brown, it is dead, dying, or dying. If your grass appears to be dead, you may still resuscitate it if you act quickly.

Unfortunately, you’ll need to plant new grass seeds or lay new sod after it’s completely dead.

Before your lawn becomes unsalvageable, you’ll have roughly five weeks to restore brown grass. Excessive heat and dry conditions can also cause the grass to go dormant, but if the right procedures aren’t performed, the grass will die. (Find the Best Liquid Lawn Fertilizer Concentrate)

Dormant grass will become green again with watering, however, dead grass will remain brown.

To resurrect your lawn and get it to thrive again, you must first figure out what is dying it and turning it brown. Drought problems can be readily solved by watering your grass as needed, but pest and disease problems may need a different strategy.

Here’s how to revive St. Augustine grass and grow it back:

Water Lawn Adequately

Prolonged drought and dormancy make St. Augustine grass die off in small patches that turn brown.

Watering a lawn properly can go a long way, especially in warm weather. Rather than watering your grass once or twice a week, consider watering it three times a week throughout the summer.

Make sure the water soaks into the soil 6 inches deep and soaks the root system.

Avoid watering at night and ensure you have proper drainage. Soil aeration helps water seep into the soil to reach grassroots around compacted dead spots.

Watering requirements for St. Augustine lawns:

  • How much: ¾ inch of water
  • Frequency: 2 times per week
  • Growing season: 1-2 inches of water
  • Drought season: up to 6 inches of water

When the St. Augustine grass emerges from its hibernation, give it plenty of water to help revitalize any brown patches of withering grass. Watering grass a little more frequently in the spring than you did when it was still dormant helps with fresh growth.

Amend Your Soil

When your grass wilts, turns brown, and has dead spots because of a thin layer of topsoil or heavily compacted clay soil, the best cure is to improve the soil quality.

The greatest solution for poor soil quality is to change the soil to make it conducive for the growth of healthy St. Augustine grass. Because St. Augustine grass love well-draining soils like sandy soil, the aim is to make sure your lawn is aerated.

Here’s how to restore a St. Augustine grass by amending the soil:

  • Add gypsum, compost, or humic acid to clay soil to improve it.
  • If the grass is drying out in dead spots because of compaction, core aerates it.
  • To give a substrate for roots to develop deep, add nutritious topsoil.
  • Do a soil test to verify if the soil pH and nutrient levels are suitable for St. Augustine grass before amending the soil in your yard to get the dead grass to grow back.

Flush Excess Salts

Fertilizer burn can give the impression that your lawn is withering. As if it were dead, the grass turns yellow and eventually brown.

To revive and re-grow St. Augustine grass that has been burned by too much fertilizer, water generously to flush away the excess nitrogen salts that are causing the grass to burn.

  • To get rid of the excess salt, soak your lawns deeply where they are turning brown with water every day for a week.
  • Reduce fertilizer burn by watering the lawn at least 1 inch every day.
  • To allow the dying grass to grow deep roots, water the yard evenly using a sprinkler.
  • Over-watering your lawn can cause fungal infections, yellowish or light-green color, and poor development, among other issues.

How To Bring Back Dead St. Augustine Grass (2)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.