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How to Fix a Scorched Lawn: Tips for Reviving Your Lawn After Heat Damage

nickpeplow real still of a household lawn that has one or two a 7ecf42b6 cd9c 405a 9ebb 1ff974da599e min How to Fix a Scorched Lawn: Tips for Reviving Your Lawn After Heat Damage

Summer heat can do a number on your lawn. The sun, combined with a lack of moisture, can quickly turn your lush green grass into a dry, brown wasteland that nobody wants to look at. Fortunately, all hope isn’t lost. With a little bit of time and effort, you can bring your scorched lawn back to life.

In this article, we’ll share some tips on how to fix a scorched lawn and revive it from heat damage.

Understanding Heat Damage in Lawns

Before we get started on how to fix a scorched lawn, it’s helpful to understand how heat damage occurs. When temperatures rise above 85°F, the heat can cause what is called heat stress on grass. Heat stress causes grass to lose moisture faster than it can replace it, ultimately leading to drought-like conditions.

When there is a prolonged period of high temperatures mixed with low moisture, it can result in a scorched lawn.

The impact of heat stress on your lawn can be severe, and it’s important to understand the causes and symptoms of heat damage to take appropriate action.

Causes of Scorched Lawns

Several factors can lead to a scorched lawn. Some of the leading causes include:

Hot Weather

During hot weather, your lawn can lose moisture faster than it can replace it. This can lead to dry, brown patches that are unsightly and unhealthy for your grass. It’s important to note that even if you live in a region with hot summers, your lawn can still be healthy if you take appropriate measures to keep it hydrated.

Lack of Water

If you’re not watering your lawn regularly, it can quickly become dehydrated, making it more susceptible to heat stress. It’s important to water your lawn deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth and prevent surface evaporation.

Low Humidity

When humidity levels are low, moisture leaves your grass more quickly, leading to increased stress on your lawn. If you live in a region with low humidity, it’s important to take extra care to keep your lawn hydrated.

Soil Issues

If your soil is compacted or contains too much clay, it can reduce the amount of water your grass is able to absorb. This can lead to increased heat stress and ultimately result in a scorched lawn. It’s important to aerate your lawn regularly and amend your soil as needed to improve water retention and drainage.

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Identifying Heat Damage Symptoms

If you suspect your lawn has suffered from heat damage, there are some telltale signs that you can look out for:

Discolored Grass

When your lawn is scorched, the grass blades can become brown or yellow in color. At times, the edges of the blades can curl up and appear burnt. If you notice discoloration on your lawn, it’s important to take action to address the underlying cause of the heat stress.

Bare Spots

When the grass dies, it can leave behind bare spots on your lawn. These areas will need to be reseeded to regrow. If you notice bare spots on your lawn, it’s a sign that your grass is under stress and needs extra care.

Brittle Grass

If your grass blades are dry and brittle to the touch, it’s a sign that they’ve been dried out by heat and moisture loss. Brittle grass is more vulnerable to damage and can break more easily, leading to further stress on your lawn.

The Impact of Heat Stress on Grass

Heat stress can take a severe toll on your grass, and it’s important to act quickly to minimize the damage. If not addressed soon, it can lead to permanent damage to your lawn, including:


When grass is severely stressed from heat, it may enter dormancy – a survival mode where it conserves energy by slowing down growth and changing color. While dormancy can help your lawn survive periods of extreme heat, it’s important to take action to address the underlying cause of the stress to prevent long-term damage.


Areas that are frequently exposed to heat stress can eventually lead to thinning of your lawn. Without intervention, the thinning can continue to spread, leaving large areas where your grass is unable to grow back. It’s important to take action to address the underlying cause of the stress to prevent further damage to your lawn.


Heat-stressed lawns can be more vulnerable to soil erosion. If your lawn isn’t able to hold onto moisture, it can quickly lead to swaths of bare or eroded spots that are unsightly and can cause future problems. To prevent erosion, it’s important to ensure that your lawn is properly hydrated and that the soil is healthy and able to absorb water.

By understanding the causes and symptoms of heat damage, you can take appropriate action to keep your lawn healthy and prevent long-term damage. With proper care and attention, your lawn can thrive even in the hottest summer months.

Assessing the Severity of Lawn Damage

Once you’ve identified that your lawn has suffered from heat damage, the next step is to determine how severe it is. Knowing the extent of the damage will help you figure out which steps you need to take in the recovery process.

However, it’s important to note that heat damage isn’t the only thing that can harm your lawn. Other factors such as pests, disease, and over-fertilization can also cause damage. Therefore, it’s important to properly diagnose the issue before taking any action.

Mild Heat Damage

If your lawn has been mildly affected by heat damage, your grass may look wilted or thin, but it can recover with some TLC. Signs of improvement can be seen in a few days to a week, depending on lawn conditions and weather patterns.

One way to help your lawn recover from mild heat damage is to water it deeply and infrequently. This will encourage deep root growth and help the grass withstand future heat waves. You can also mow your lawn to a slightly longer length to provide some shade for the soil.

Moderate Heat Damage

If your lawn is moderately damaged, it can take a bit longer to recover. Your grass may have brown patches or be thin in areas, but it can regrow with the right intervention after several weeks.

In addition to deep and infrequent watering, you may need to aerate your lawn to improve soil compaction and allow for better water and nutrient absorption. Applying a slow-release fertilizer can also help promote growth and recovery.

Severe Heat Damage

If your lawn has been severely damaged by heat, it may take longer to recover, require more intensive interventions, and even require professional lawn repair services. Intensive care may be needed for several weeks or months to help restore the lawn to its former state.

In addition to the aforementioned interventions, you may need to consider overseeding or sodding to help fill in bare patches. It’s also important to continue monitoring the soil moisture levels and adjusting your watering schedule as needed.

Overall, assessing the severity of lawn damage is an important step in the recovery process. By taking the appropriate actions, you can help your lawn recover and thrive once again.

Immediate Actions to Take After Heat Damage

The first 24-48 hours after heat damage occurs are critical for your lawn’s recovery. The following immediate actions can help your lawn regain its strength:

Watering Your Lawn Properly

To prevent your lawn from drying out entirely and to reduce the effects of heat damage, water your lawn early in the morning or late in the evening, as this is when the temperature is cooler and more moisture can be absorbed. A common mistake is to water the lawn during the heat of the day; the water can evaporate too quickly, causing the grass to continue drying out.

When watering your lawn, make sure to water deeply and thoroughly. This will encourage the roots to grow deeper into the soil, making the grass more resilient to future heat waves. Additionally, avoid overwatering your lawn, as this can lead to issues with fungus and other diseases.

Adjusting Your Mowing Routine

Throughout the recovery process, it’s important that you boost your lawn’s resiliency to stressors. One of the best ways to do that is to adjust your mowing routine, so you’re not cutting your grass too short. Scalping the lawn can damage the grass, making it more difficult for the lawn to absorb the water it needs to recover.

When mowing your lawn, make sure to keep the blades sharp. Dull blades can tear the grass, leaving it vulnerable to disease and pests. Additionally, vary the direction in which you mow your lawn, as this can help prevent the grass from developing ruts and becoming compacted.

Providing Shade and Protection

One of the most immediate things you can do to give your lawn a boost of recovery after heat damage is to provide shade. You can use umbrellas, canopies, or shade cloths to cover the affected area and help retain some of the moisture in the grass.

Another option is to plant trees or shrubs around the perimeter of your lawn to provide natural shade. Not only will this help protect your lawn from the sun’s rays, but it can also improve the overall aesthetic of your yard.

Applying Fertilizer and Soil Amendments

After a period of heat stress, your lawn may need a little extra help to recover. Applying fertilizer and soil amendments can provide the nutrients and organic matter your lawn needs to thrive.

When choosing a fertilizer, look for one that is high in nitrogen, as this will encourage new growth. Additionally, consider applying a soil amendment, such as compost or peat moss, to improve the soil’s ability to retain moisture and nutrients.

However, be careful not to over-fertilize your lawn, as this can lead to issues with runoff and water pollution. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package carefully, and consider consulting with a lawn care professional if you’re unsure about how much to apply.

Long-Term Solutions for Reviving Your Lawn

While immediate actions can help your lawn recover from heat damage, long-term solutions involve more direct interventions, including:

Aeration and Dethatching

To fix damaged lawns, it’s important to address the soil quality. Aeration and dethatching can help to loosen soil and remove any dead grass, allowing increased water and nutrient absorption for your lawn. Thus, boosting the new grass’ regrowth process.

Overseeding and Fertilizing

The next step in fixing heat-damaged lawns is overseeding and fertilizing. This process involves adding new grass seeds and applying fertilizer to promote faster and more robust grown.

Soil Amendments and pH Balancing

Lastly, soil amendments and pH balancing can make a huge impact on the success of your lawn recovery. Tests can be conducted to determine soil quality, and appropriate amendments made to enhance your lawn’s regrowth. Adjusting pH levels is also crucial as grasses prefer greater acidity and slight alkalinity.

The End Note

Reviving a scorched lawn can be time-consuming and tiresome work. However, with the right level of care and attention, you can bring your lawn back to its former glory. Be sure to take steps to protect your grass from heat damage and choose the right grass type according to the climatic conditions in your area.