How to repair a lawn from too much fertiliser

Updated February 21, 2017

Regardless of the grass type of your lawn, using general fertilisers can help with growth, health and sustained viability. But too much fertiliser can damage and even kill a lawn. One of the main dangers of over-fertilising lawns is that an excess amount of nitrogen from the fertiliser infiltrates the soil, causing the lawn to yellow and eventually brown. To repair the lawn from this damage, you need to use a few simple, lawn-cleansing techniques that will return your lawn to a healthy state.

Remove any brown or dead grass from your lawn. The easiest way to remove this dead grass is to rake the lawn. A simple garden rake will remove grass blades that have already dislodged from the main lawn. If there are large patches of brown or dead grass, use a garden hoe to dig out the lawn.

Rinse the entire lawn with water. If you notice that your lawn has not yet turned brown, but is starting to yellow, you need to rinse the nitrogen out of the lawn and soil. Even if your lawn type doesn't need excessive or even heavy watering, the way to remove the nitrogen is to flood the soil so that the nitrogen can drain away. Using a sprinkler or a water hose, flood the lawn until there is 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) of standing water on the lawn.

Plant turf in the areas where you have removed large patches of dead lawn, but only after you have thoroughly rinsed your lawn and it has dried. Depending on the type of grass growing on your land, you will need to follow the specific planting and care instruction for turf or new seed for it to grow properly and match the existing and healthy lawn.

Fertilise your new lawn according to the package directions using a water-soluble fertiliser. Remember that fertiliser is not the enemy, and it can help maintain a healthy lawn if used sparingly and according to the instructions.


Get your lawn's soil pH levels tested to see how much nitrogen is naturally in the soil. Depending on the results of the test, you may want to buy a lower-nitrogen fertiliser, which will cause less damage to a lawn that already receives nitrogen naturally. An associate at your local garden centre can refer you to a certified soil analyst.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Water hose
  • Turf
  • Fertiliser
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About the Author

Jessica Jewell is a writer, photographer and communications consultant who began writing professionally in 2005. Her chapbook, "Slap Leather," is forthcoming from dancing girl press. Her recent work has appeared in "Nimrod," "Harpur Palate," "Copper Nickel," "Rhino," "wicked alice," "Poetry Midwest" and "Barn Owl Review." Jewell was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University.