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How To Remove Dead Grass

Removing dead grass from your lawn after months of cold weather can be tedious, but it is essential for maintaining a healthy, green grass lawn. Dead grass looks unsightly, but it can also lead to weed growth from weed seeds blowing around, eventually leading to more severe lawn issues.

The good news is that removing dead grass is a relatively simple job with the right tools. First, you will need a spade or square shovel. You can then use the shovel to remove dead grass clippings, roots, and patches. If you have larger areas, you may want to consider using a sod cutter or rototiller. You may need a weed eater or spray Roundup for tougher weeds. You should consider using a power rake or dethatcher if you have large yards.

Once you have removed the dead grass, you must prepare the soil for a new lawn. Test the soil to ensure it has sufficient nutrients, and then add organic matter and rock salt if needed. If you install new sod, you will want to rake the soil to ensure it is level. Once the soil is ready, cover it with black plastic or plastic sheeting to block direct sunlight and kill off any remaining thatch. (Learn How To Get Bermuda Grass To Spread)

dead grass

3 Methods to Try When Removing Grass from Your Lawn

The three best methods for removing brown grass from your lawn are using a shovel, weed whipping it down to the soil, mowing it down and out, or using a sod cutter. You can do this yourself or hire a lawn care service. So, don’t get discouraged if you see patches of dead grass popping up on your once-healthy lawn. In these cases, the best thing to do is to figure out the source of the dead grass, remove it, then treat it.

1. Use a Shovel and Rake

Remove grass from the difficult place with a shovel, cutting around the entire patch and leaving a little extra space on each side if your grass is dead due to soil problems or pests. Give your grass about two weeks before removing it if it is dead due to being sprayed with weed killer or another type of weed management.

Remember that when removing your grass this way, you must dig deep enough to remove the grass roots. Even if you are using a grass killer, sometimes the roots are not affected, and the grass grows, and the issue area may remain.

2. Use a Weed Eater

To remove dead grass, consider using a weed whipper next. Before using grass killer, you should whip the grass as low as possible. The liquid will be able to reach the roots more quickly and efficiently as a result. If you are battling with animals such as grubs, doing this will also help you treat the area more efficiently using pest control products.

3. Use a Sod Cutter

If you are fortunate enough to possess or have access to one, this is likely one of the easiest and quickest ways to deal with dead patches of grass. In addition to cutting away at the roots, a sod cutter also mows your grass. Employing a sod cutter will save you time and work by doing two duties at once. (Learn How Deep Are Corn Roots)

Natural Ways to Remove Dead Grass

There are easy, natural ways to deal with this situation without using dangerous chemicals if you are trying to remove grass from your entire lawn due to poor growth or because it is growing in places it shouldn’t. Here are a few all-natural methods to remove and kill dead grass from your entire successful lawn.


You will be astonished at how well and quickly the area will die if you sprinkle some rock salt (or table salt) over the grass you are trying to get rid of. This process works so effectively because the salt sucks water from the grass and kills it by dehydrating it.

We like all of these alternatives for easy and natural grass-killing methods. Using the methods for getting rid of dead grass from your lawn will yield some remarkable results.

Products For Removing Dead Grass From Lawn

We provided numerous methods to help you remove dead grass after its destruction and natural solutions to speed up the killing of undesired grass. When attempting to remove dead grass, you should look at the following products.

Thatching Rake: A thatching rake is specifically made to help break up and remove dead roots that have grown along with live ones. Compost: Use compost to cover your grass. Not only will you swiftly and efficiently kill the grass, but the compost will also help bring nutrients back into the soil, resulting in vibrant and healthy new growth.

Plastic Sheeting: You can use plastic sheeting to kill problem areas in your lawn. The best option is black plastic sheeting because it will trap heat inside, speeding up the process and block sunlight. This stops photosynthesis from occurring too soon.

Herbicides: Herbicides, often known as weed killers, are very effective in killing grass and make removing any dead organic material or debris simple. While using herbicides, following the directions and picking one made specifically for the task at hand is crucial.


Will Grass Killed by Roundup Come Back?

Roundup killed grass will not grow back from the root. Roundup is a potent chemical herbicide that kills all plant types. A grass plant won’t grow back if it turns brown 14 days after being sprayed with Roundup.

Roundup kills grass completely, preventing regeneration from the roots. Roundup does not kill seeds. In areas that have previously been sprayed with Roundup, weed and grass seedlings may sprout.

As a pre-emergent herbicide, Regular Roundup will not kill any weed or grass seeds in the soil. It’s time to plant a new lawn or take additional weed prevention precautions in an area where you’ve killed grass with Roundup.

Can You Plant After Using Roundup to Kill Grass?

Your lawn is ready for new grass or other plants if you wait 14 days after using Roundup and your old grass is dead. Just remove the old grass first. Within three days after spraying Roundup, it is acceptable to plant grass and garden vegetables in those areas.

After removing dead grass from existing lawn, you can immediately plant new grass. Take in mind that this applies to regular Roundup products. Certain Roundup formulations are engineered to stop new plant growth for several months after application. Whatever you plant in the area where one of these was used to kill grass growing the grass won’t grow. (Read What To Put Under Inflatable Pool On Grass)

Your Main Options for Removing Dead Grass After Applying Roundup

With very little margin for mistake, Roundup is an efficient post-emergent herbicide that will kill grass and weeds right down to the root. Yet this process takes time. Rushing the process may only result in partial removal of dead grass and plant materials or disruption of the process, resulting in only the top layer of weeds or dying grass. 

After applying Roundup, always wait the full two weeks before starting any landscaping or the removal of dead grass and plant matter. Wait 14 days to start weeding after you’ve sprayed grass, weeds, or any other plants with Roundup. This gives the Roundup enough time to work its way through the plant’s system, killing it at the root. 

If you start cutting or removing the grass earlier, you risk disrupting the herbicide’s process and allowing pest grass to grow again.

  • Before removing dead grass, wait 14 days after using Roundup.
  • The systemic, non-selective herbicide Roundup takes 7 to 14 days to kill plants.
  • The grass might not be killed if you try to remove it too soon after using Roundup; instead, it might grow back.
  • It’s time to get rid of the old turf once the Roundup has ultimately killed your grass.

Here’s how:

Sod Cutters

From your neighborhood hardware store, you may rent a sod cutter. This practical, motorized piece of equipment will remove your lawn’s existing grass and the top 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) of topsoil, where grassroots are thickest.

Sod cutters are an excellent option for getting your lawn removal when you see grass dying and root material to reveal topsoil. Before preparing to seed the lawn or lay new sod, removing any dead grass and tough weeds that won’t die is crucial.

Mow and Dethatch

lawn mower mowing

You can remove dead grass from an entire lawn without a sod cutter by using your lawn mower and a dethatcher or power rake. Follow these instructions to do so:

To cut the grass close to the soil level, set your mower blade to its lowest setting.

Thoroughly mow your lawn covered yard and bag the grass clippings as you go.

Finish by raking dead grass, dead weeds, and root material with a dethatcher or power rake.

Raking lawn does not remove any valuable topsoil from your entire yard and is frequently quicker than using a sod cutter. This is the best option to remove dead grass from an entire yard if you plan to reseed your lawn in the upcoming months. (Read Best Grass To Choke Out Weeds)

String Trimmer

Use a string trimmer to cut the dead grass off at ground level after using Roundup to kill grass coming up between bricks or concrete seams. For small patches of grass in your yard, you can also apply this method. A string trimmer used near to the ground will cut off dead grass at ground level and remove dense lawn thatch.

Best For: Eliminating dead grass from between pavers or in concrete seams.


A rototiller may recombine dead grass with soil if handled correctly. This breaks up the soil, making it easier for new grass seeds or sod to take root. To speed up rototilling dead grass’ decomposition, it mixes dirt with dead grass.

Follow these steps to make this method work for you:

  1. Use the lowest setting on your mower to cut the dead grass. The dead grass clippings should be bagged.
  2. Till the dead grass area thoroughly with a rototiller until it is 6 inches deep (15cm).
  3. For this purpose, you can rent this heavy motorized equipment. While preparing the ground for the installation of sod or seed, it is very helpful to till the dead grass seed into the soil.
  4. Tilling, on the other hand, may bring buried weed seeds to the surface, where they may try to sprout. For two weeks, water the area and kill any weeds or unwelcome grasses that sprout.
  5. Huge areas where new seed or sod will be planted are the best candidates.


Dead grass spots not killed by Roundup spraying, use a spade or square shovel to remove dead grass from lawn.

  1. The area of dead grass should be cut into parts that are roughly 8 inches square using your shovel (20 cm).
  2. 2–3 inches (5–7.5 cm) of topsoil should be removed together with the 8-inch pieces of dead grass.
  3. The ground is prepared for new sod or seed by removing the topsoil, which gets rid of the roots and thatch.

On a lesser scale, this method practically duplicates the work of the sod cutter. The day before you plan to remove the dead grass, water the area to make your job easier. This will make digging simpler.

Preparing small areas where seed or new sod will be planted near to existing grass is best.

What is the Easiest Way to Remove Dead Grass Killed by Roundup?

After using Roundup to kill the weeds, you can use a sod cutter to remove the dead grass and soil from a whole lawn, mow the dead lawn very short and dethatch it, or rototill the dead grass into the top 6 inches (15 cm) of soil.

Use a string trimmer to cut off the dead grass and weeds or raise the soil level to remove it from a specific area. You can also use a shovel to remove dead grass and root material. Regardless matter the type of grass, these methods will work, giving you a clean slate on which to either fix your lawn or begin a new one.

dead grass on field

After Removal of Grass Killed By Roundup: Preparing Large Yards

Even when used exactly as the manufacturer advises, Roundup, or glyphosate, has a multitude of effects on all soil types. Glyphosate decreases pH, which causes the soil to become more acidic.

Apply Water to Help Neutralize Any Remaining Roundup

If the weather is dry and the soil is poor, Roundup has a known half-life of up to 60 days in the soil. Roundup can completely break down in as little as 21 days, but under typical circumstances, it frequently takes up to 2 months.

Flooding the area after removing any plant matter that was treated in Roundup will help prepare the site for new plant life. This will also help you get pH readings that are more precise and help you prepare for reseeding.

Check and Amend pH

The soil may become somewhat more acidic as a result of using Roundup. Check the pH after two weeks to 2 months and before adding any new plant life. Do a soil test, then adjust with lime or another alkalizing agent. (Learn How Much Straw To Cover Grass Seed)

Add Compost or Organic Matter

Sure, it is feasible to purchase and add microbes to your soil but working with “live” compost or other untreated, decaying matter will frequently be less expensive and help correct any nutrient deficits that applying Roundup may have caused.

Check Soil Texture and Amend if Needed

Applying Roundup and then removing new sod installation, might cause the soil to temporarily have a “dusty” feel and have little organic matter in the topsoil to supply nutrients to new plants.

It’s a good idea to lay a light mulch on top of the new seeds or around any new plants when seeding a new lawn or adding any new plants. Seedlings may have a difficult time growing if you don’t fertilize them as well.

How To Remove Dead Grass