Do I need to remove dead grass before seeding?

Most people’s lawns have dead grass that lays just above the soil when the summer season is over. Whether you’re going to replace your entire lawn or just reseed dead patches, renovating your turf during the spring or fall will give you great results.

So to answer the question, do I need to remove dead grass before reseeding, the answer is yes because it will allow the growth of a healthier, greener, and lusher lawn. If the dead grass if more than half an inch long, you should completely remove it before you plant new seeds.

Different types of grass seeds

Type of seed grass
Growth habit
Kentucky bluegrass
Dark blue-green
Spreading rhizomes
Tall fescue
medium to dark green
Bermuda grass
Dark green
Spreading, rhizomes or stolon-like
Zoysia grass
Light to dark green
Spreading, rhizomes or stolon-like

Recovery process

Once the summer season is over, there is a recovery process that includes 3 steps that include dethatching, aeration, and seeding that will ensure you get the desired results.


The dead grass in your lawn that is right above the soil is known as thatching. This dead grass layer can be beneficial if it’s in small amounts, but if it builds too quickly it can prevent air and water from reaching the grass around it and this will cause the grass to die. So removing it will help improve the health of your lawn an also when you’re preparing your lawn for seeding. This process of removing the thatching is called dethatching.

How to dethatch

Dethatching is when you remove the top layer of dead grass for a greener healthier lawn.

If the dead grass is more than half an inch it has begun to weaken your grass and it’s time to dethatch.

Tips for dethatching your lawn

  • The day before you start dethatching, water your lawn.
  • The next day mow your lawn to half the normal level of the grass.
  • Remove all sprinkler heads and other hidden objects to prevent them from getting damaged.
  • Dethatch in two different directions to allow for the removal of the dead grass from different angles.
  • Reseed your lawn starting with the grassless spots left after you’ve finished.
  • Before you plant anything after dethatching, you need to aerate the soil.


With time soil naturally, compacts and aeration perforate the soil which allows for water, air, and nutrients to reach the grass roots and helps to remove mild thatch. Aeration is a must when seeding to allow the new grass to germinate and the roots to grow deeper making your lawn more drought-resistant and vigorous. If your lawn handles heavy traffic, you’ll need to aerate it at least once yearly.

How to aerate your lawn

You can use a spike aerator or a push plug aerator to poke many holes in the soil at once to break it up without removing any soil or grass. The plug aerator will remove plugs of grass and soil about 2-3 inches deep and about 0.75 inches wide.

Tips how to aerate your lawn

  • Water your lawn a day before you aerate the soil.
  • Use a single pass to aerate the entire lawn, then pass several times over specific areas that are compact.
  • Allow the removed plugs to dry, then break them up with the back of a rake or your mower.
  • Fertilize, mow, and water your lawn.


Once the summer is over, your lawn will have many brown patches or thinning sections that aren’t very appealing. Seeding will help fill these bare patches and in the areas, you’ve dethatched the grass to achieve a more beautiful lawn. Even if you have a green healthy lawn, overseeding can help fill it up to make it lusher. The best time to seed our lawn is during the fall because the cool temperatures will help the new seeds to retain the moisture and germinate well.

How to seed your lawn

Ensure that the seeds you’re planting are right for your lawn. You can get a seed blend that includes two or more grass species to help improve your lawn’s appearance. Also, read the label to how much seed to spread per sq. feet. First before spreading the seeds, sprinkle the lawn with fertilizer then apply the seeds and rake the soil loosely. Make sure you water them.

Maintaining the grass

Once the seeds have germinated and the grass has started growing, reduce the amount and frequency of watering. Don’t use a herbicide for weeding till early autumn if you reseeded in spring to allow your grass to develop a healthy turf. Don’t mow till the grass is about 3 inches and raise your mower’s cutting height to prevent scalping.


Growing your new lawn from grass seed is one of the easiest and most satisfying home improvement chores you can undertake to achieve that beautiful green lawn you’ve always wanted.


Which is better coated or uncoated seed grass?

Coated seeds have a much greater surface area than the uncoated seeds and this increases seed to soil contact which increases the seed’s opportunity to grow.

Can you mix grass seed?

Most grasses are a mix of more than one type with each serving a different function. It’s best to mix cool-season or warm-season grasses.

William Smith

William Smith has been rendering his services to a botanical garden for the better part of his adult life and has recently moved to landscaping firms. His love for gardens has been nurtured since he was a kid, evident from the various garden centers and estates that have benefited from his services. Smith is a natural when it comes to gardening and when combined with his acquired degree in landscape design, you can expect a high-quality professional job, thanks to his experience and expertise. During his free time, Smith does gardening as a hobby and runs forums where he offers expert ideas on gardening.

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