Applying Miracle-Gro lawn fertilizer can kill your grass by overloading the soil with too much nitrogen at once. To fix this, you must first thoroughly water the lawn to wash away excess fertilizer. Then, begin the process of reseeding your lawn. Remove the dead grass, aerate the soil, and spread a thin layer of compost evenly over the lawn surface. Next, spread new grass seed and gently rake the compost to cover the seeds. Water your seedlings twice daily until they sprout. Moving forward, use a slow-release fertilizer to prevent future fertilizer burn.
Why Did Miracle-Gro Kill Your Grass?
If your grass has turned brown, dry, and dead after applying Miracle-Gro, it is almost certainly due to fertilizer burn. Fertilizer burn occurs when the soil is overloaded with too much nitrogen at once. This dries out the soil and even draws moisture out of grass roots and blades, killing the grass plants. This type of fertilizer burn can occur whenever fast-release fertilizers are used, but it is especially common if the fertilizer was applied in dry, hot conditions.
Is Miracle-Gro Bad for Grass?
Miracle-Gro products that are designed for use on lawns are not bad for grass. However, Miracle-Gro fertilizer must be used very carefully. Miracle-Gro makes high-nitrogen, fast-release fertilizers. This type of fertilizer increases the risk of fertilizer burn. When using these products, it is very easy to make a small mistake and kill your grass.
What Can You Use Instead of Miracle-Gro?
Instead of Miracle-Gro, we recommend using a slow-release fertilizer. This organic, slow-release lawn fertilizer only releases nitrogen into the soil as your lawn needs it. As a result, it is almost impossible to burn your lawn and kill grass with a slow-release fertilizer. The nitrogen content in slow-release fertilizers is typically lower than Miracle-Gro products, but it will almost never kill your grass.
7 Steps to Repair Dead Grass Caused by Miracle-Gro
Unfortunately, dead grass plants will not come back to life. With the following steps, you can salvage a lawn that was damaged by Miracle-Gro and add new grass to your lawn to fill in dead spots.
Wash Away the Miracle-Gro
Excess Miracle-Gro can remain in the soil and continue harming your grass if you don’t act immediately. To start repairing your lawn, water it for 3 hours. This will help to wash excess Miracle-Gro out of your soil and prevent further fertilizer burn. Repeat this process a total of three times, with two to three days between waterings. Then, your lawn will be ready for new grass.
Remove the Dead Grass
Use a rake to remove patches of dead grass in your lawn. Rake forcefully enough that the dead grass blades come free. Then, gather up the dead grass and throw it away. If your entire lawn has been killed by Miracle-Gro, you can use a dethatcher attachment for your lawn mower to more quickly and easily remove the dead grass. Once the dead spots are mostly bare and you can see the soil below, move to the next step.
Rent a core aerator from your local hardware store. Following the instructions for the aerator, pass back and forth across your lawn to aerate the soil. Then, pass over the lawn again, this time following an up-and-down pattern. Aerating will help your surviving grass spread to retake your lawn, plus it will allow your new grass seeds to take root easily. Just make sure to follow these tips on what to do with plugs after aeration.
After aerating, spread a ¼-inch to ½-inch layer of compost evenly on top of your lawn. You can use this organic compost for the job. Simply pour small mounds of compost every five feet (1.5 meters) in your lawn. Then, use a garden rake to spread the compost evenly. It should not cover the surviving grass. Instead, it should sit on top of the soil, just below the grass blades.
Add New Grass Seed
Choose a grass seed that matches the grass type growing your lawn. Then, follow the instructions on the bag to find how much seed to spread for your lawn. It is best to spread the seed with a lawn spreader, like this one. If your entire lawn was damaged by Miracle-Gro, spread the seed throughout the yard. If only some areas were affected, follow our steps for reseeding a patchy lawn.
Cover Your Grass Seed
Once you’re done spreading grass seed on your lawn, use your garden rake to gently rake the compost over the grass seed. Covering grass seed improves its survival rate, helps it take root faster, and protects it from scavenging birds that will eat the unprotected seed. It’s okay if some grass seeds are visible, as long as the majority of them are covered by ¼-inch of compost.
Water Your Seedlings
In order to repair your lawn after it has been killed by Miracle-Gro, it’s essential to water your lawn twice daily. Our guide to watering new grass seed includes details on when to water and how long to water. Soon, you will see green grass sprouts. At this point, there is probably no need to add fertilizer, since there will still be Miracle-Gro remaining in the soil. Wait one to two months before boosting grass growth with a slow-release lawn fertilizer.
How to Fix Grass Killed by Miracle Grow
If your grass has died after applying Miracle-Gro lawn fertilizer, follow these steps:
- Water your lawn thoroughly 3 times to wash away excess Miracle-Gro and prevent further damage.
- Use a rake or dethatcher to remove the dead grass.
- Aerate your lawn with a core aerator to help grass spread and retake dead areas.
- Spread a ¼–½-inch layer of compost evenly across your lawn.
- Evenly spread grass seed on the dead areas.
- Rake the compost over the grass seed to cover it.
- Water your grass seed twice daily until you begin to see new grass sprouts.
A lawn that has been damaged by Miracle-Gro can recover within one growing season when you follow these tips. Soon, the damage will be completely gone.