How to Rejuvenate an Old Lawn with Grass Plugs


Lawns, like the homes they surround, have a lifespan. On average, a lawn can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, but this duration can vary based on how well it's maintained and the soil quality in which it grows. Regular watering, fertilizing, and proper mowing can all contribute to a longer lifespan for your lawn, encouraging grass to replenish itself naturally by growing new blades.

However, despite your best efforts, your lawn may show signs of wear and tear. In such cases, it's essential to recognize that your lawn may have simply reached the end of its prime.

Signs of Aging in Lawns

Several factors can accelerate the decline of your lawn health, including extreme weather conditions like drought and flooding, consistent heavy foot traffic, soil compaction, or the presence of pests, weeds, and diseases. These factors can stress your grass, affecting its ability to regenerate effectively.

An aging lawn often displays signs of passing its prime, such as thinning grass, bare patches, and a lackluster appearance. There may also be more weeds as the grass struggles to compete for space, water, and nutrients. The once vibrant green color may fade, making the lawn look dull. Compacted soil is also an issue in older lawns, leading to poor drainage and added stress on the grass. If your lawn exhibits these signs of decline, it might be time to rejuvenate it with new grass.


How to Remove Old Lawn and Replace it with New Grass

Grass plugs are an effective method for bringing new life into your lawn. These small sections of sod consist of mature grass and an established root system, allowing them to take root and spread faster than traditional sod. When planted strategically, grass plugs can fill bare spots and restore lawn health, rejuvenating your outdoor space for years.

Proper preparation can help facilitate the successful transplanting of fresh grass plugs. Improving soil conditions can create a conducive environment for optimal growth, setting the foundation for a healthy, long-lasting lawn.

Address Any Underlying Issue

Thinning or yellowing grass blades can be a natural result of aging. However, it can also signal more serious issues like pest infestations or fungal diseases. Proper identification is crucial for a targeted treatment approach that effectively addresses these problems to restore your lawn's health and vitality. By identifying and treating these issues, you can ensure that your lawn care efforts are successful in the long run.

Remove Thatch

Lawns, particularly old ones, accumulate thatch over time—a dense layer of organic matter, like dead grass, roots, and debris. An excessive thatch buildup can hinder water, nutrients, and air from reaching the soil and roots, resulting in poor grass health and growth. For serious thatch problems, consider renting a vertical mower or a sod cutter or hire a professional service for effective thatch removal. These methods help break up and remove the thick layer of thatch, allowing your lawn to breathe and absorb nutrients more effectively.

Prepare Soil

With the thatch removed, it's easier to access the soil and prepare it for planting grass plugs. Start by removing rocks, debris, and remaining old grass and weeds. When using weed treatments, plan ahead and allow at least three weeks between applying the treatments and fertilizing or planting grass plugs to ensure the chemicals don't interfere with the new grass. Once the weeds are removed, rake your lawn to loosen the bare soil, making it more receptive to the new grass plugs.

Aerate as Necessary

You should also consider aerating your lawn to alleviate compacted soil. Core aerating involves removing small plugs of soil from the lawn, which allows air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the soil better and reach the root zone. This process creates a healthier soil structure, allowing the roots to grow deeper and stronger, resulting in a healthier and more resilient lawn.

Soil Test

Years of grass growth can deplete an old lawn of essential nutrients in the soil. Moreover, the soil composition can be altered due to erosion, among other factors. These changes can affect your soil's ability to provide the necessary support for healthy grass growth.

While optional, a soil test can provide valuable insights into the soil's pH, nutrient makeup, and structure. This information lets you make informed decisions about fertilization and soil amendments, helping you create a healthier environment for your new grass. Read here for a brief guide to soil testing.

Plant Grass Plugs

Because grass plugs are mature plants with developed root systems, they establish and spread faster than grass seeds, allowing you to enjoy a lush, new lawn in a shorter period. Additionally, our SodPods® grass plugs are cultivated on our sod farm, ensuring they are healthy and have a higher success rate than traditional sod, once planted in your lawn.

You can use a grass plug tool like the SodPods® Power Planter to dig uniform holes across the lawn to plant grass plugs. Simply place a grass plug in each hole and gently press down to secure it.


For optimal growth, we recommend fertilizing your new grass plugs with NutriPod®. It is a lawn fertilizer with a balanced formulation of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, essential nutrients that support healthy grass growth and strong root development. Drop each pod into a planting hole before inserting the grass plugs. This ensures that your new grass plugs have access to the nutrients they need to establish themselves and thrive in their new environment.


Rejuvenate an Old Lawn with SodPods® Grass Plugs

Proper maintenance is crucial to ensuring the successful establishment of your grass plugs. Water your lawn immediately after transplanting the plugs and maintain optimal soil moisture for the first 10-14 days. Delay mowing until the grass plugs have firmly rooted in your entire lawn or reached an ideal mowing height, which is between 2 and 2.5 inches for most warm-season grasses.

When you mow, consider mulching the grass clippings to help retain soil moisture and return essential nutrients to the soil, contributing to a healthier lawn.

Ready to get started? Shop grass plugs and complete lawn care essentials on the SodPods® website.


Jamie Tedder

Jamie surrently serve as Vice President on the board for Turfgrass Producers of Florida. He currently oversees the production of all grasses throughout all farms in Florida at Bethel Farms. He is actively working with top grass breeders, researchers, producers and end users from public and private institutions around the country to stay up to date on current industry developments. Being a University of Florida graduate, he has applied that knowledge to over 22 years of experience growing spectacular grass!

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