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Dead patch of grass

Pulled a boner over the winter. Made a batch of home made ice cream and without thinking dumped 2-3 gallons of leftover salty ice water in the yard. Now I have a 20-30 square foot dead area in my lawn.

My neighbors think it's my dog's fault. I'm letting her take the rap for now. She's OK with that.

I thought it might clear itself up but it's July and still nothing.


What's the best option? Dig it up, replace the topsoil and seed it? How deep? How about transplanting shovels of scooped up grass from the back yard?

Re: Dead patch of grass

Ice cream in the middle of winter? You live in Florida or something?

Seriously though, the salt will eventually leach out of the soil, but it can take a long time, even years. It depends on the permeability of your soil. If you have hard clay soil, it will be awhile.

The salt probably hasn't penetrated very far yet. You might get by with removing an inch or two. You could rent a sod cutter, set it to two inches and cut away the dead grass and send it to a landfill. Then replace it with two inches of compost and topsoil, heavy on the compost and till it in to a depth of 6". Then spread about a 1/4" of compost over the top and reseed or cut small patches of sod from the back yard and transplant them as plugs in the front. The plugs will love the compost and spread quickly.

If you use the plugs, you might also use a weed preventer as well as weed seeds will love the compost too. Weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for years and new weed seeds are always blowing into the yard, so the tilling will stir them up and cause them to germinate. Don't use the preventer if you choose seeding though.

Re: Dead patch of grass

Scott and Pennington sell grass seeds with soul and fertilizer in a bag - especially made for problem areas like you have.

BTW, I'm yet to see a dog which can ruin 20-30 square feet of grass in one shot, and I'm sure your neighbor knows this...

Re: Dead patch of grass

You can also put down some gypsum(same stuff in dry wall). Gypsum will neutralize salt. It should be spread at 50lbs per 1000sq.ft. It also puts calcium back in the soil, as well as loosen clay soil.
-Attention to Detail Landscaping

Re: Dead patch of grass

Original poster here - with a follow up on your great suggestions.

My dead spot is now repaired.

I was unable (or unwilling) to use plugs from another area - I neglected to mention that my dead spot was under a silver maple tree. The roots made it too difficult to do adequate soil prep.

Instead, I vigorously raked and scratched up the surface as best I could, then spread gypsum based fertilizer liberally. Watered afterwards. Then spread a 100 lb. bag of topsoil over the area followed by seeds. Watered at least 2x per day for a month or so.

I now have lush grass in my former dead spot.

Thanks for your suggestions.

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