Lawn Rehabilitation


Hi. My grass didn’t do well over the winter and some dog pee has made it worse. I’m so confused about what to do step by step to revive it as all companies coming in give contradictory info. What’s the right order? Killing weeds, aeration, fertilization, grading, overseeding, composting.



Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

I can understand your confusion since based on different recommendations you have received.

based on specific issues and tine of the year.

I will provide you with a step by step process, but without seeing your exact situation, other methods or steps may be more appropriate to best match the needs of  your lawn.

Rather than me re-writing the book on lawn care I am providing you with both a list of steps which most likely fits your situation, but also a link to the website from Washington State University. which provides a broader overview of different methods based on different scenarios.

This method is recommended if:
 Thatch is heavy.
 Desirable grasses have been crowded out.
 If weedy perennial grasses have invaded the area, they must be killed before renovation will be
 Turf has been damaged by insects or diseases.

This method of renovation is best done in the spring, giving the turf time to recover before fall:
1. Mow the lawn at approximately 3/4 inch in height.
2. Use a power rake to remove accumulated thatch. Most attachments for lawn mowers will not do an
adequate job for this type of renovation. Go over the turf in two directions.
3. Rake up debris and mow again at the same height.

4. Aerate

5. If any regrading is needed, this would be a good step here before seeding.

6. If turf looks very thin, reseed the lawn.
Choose a grass seed best suited for the area and its use.
Reseed in perpendicular directions at 1/2 the seeding rate for your chosen seed.
Maintain constant surface moisture for germination of newly applied seed.

7. Remaining grass stems and crowns will soon begin to green up. Adjust lawn mower to
recommended height and mow regularly even if turf is thin.
6. Keep turf healthy by regular fertilizing, watering and mowing.


You will also find more detailed tips and information on lawncare (such as composting and weed control) in the following website link from Professional Lawncare Association of Ontario;


Best of luck with a green healthy lawn !!