Fixing Salt-Damaged Grass in the Spring
Fred Newcombe

This Spring, you may be seeing brown, unsightly patches of turf, especially along driveways and pathways. This is likely salt-damaged grass—a result of ice-melt products that were applied throughout the winter to mediate the wintery conditions. In addition, snow blowers and snow plows can chew up perimeter grass. Thankfully, fixing salt-damaged grass is a relatively simple process that will yield quick results. The key is addressing the issue now, before weeds have a chance to take hold. 

Steps to Address Salt-Damage:

diluting using a garden hose for fixing salt-damaged grass   text overlaying grass for instructions on fixing salt-damaged grassraking lawn for fixing salt-damaged grasshand topdressing and overseeding lawn to fix salt-damaged grass

  1. Flush affected areas with a garden hose to dilute the ice-melt. It works best to use a hose with a nozzle so water will be spread evenly and effectively. Let this area dry thoroughly before moving on. 
  2. Apply gypsum to reduce the uptake of salt through the plant roots. At this point, you want to counteract the ice melt that is sitting in your soil profile. PJC’s Gypsum supplies Calcium and Sulfur to the soil without adjusting soil pH. It counteracts salt damage, improves CEC, and increases soil porosity. Because Gypsum improves soil chemistry and soil structure, your turf grass will get the boost it needs given the stress it has been under.
  3. Gently rake to loosen blades for better seed-to-soil contact. We want to emphasize the importance of gently. Do not aggressively rake and uproot your existing turf. Lightly exposing the soil will help with step four, but you do not want a bare patch of soil after this step.
  4. Topdress and overseed with Perennial Ryes and Fescues. These seed varieties have a higher resistance to salt products and will therefore take root more easily. Do not skip this step! Weeds will proliferate in bare spots. In an all-natural approach, grass seed is our best defense against weeds. We want grass seed to proliferate this Spring to build a resilient lawn.

Contact us for additional gypsum and grass seed information for fixing salt-damaged grass. We’re here to offer practical steps to implement organic turf care (and we’ve got the products to back them up!).