heavy traffic on lawn

Is Foot Traffic Hurting Your Lawn?

For some people, lawns are just for show. But for others lawns are meant for running and playing, whether that be from kids, pets, or adults.  If your lawn is patchy, brown, and dying from heavy use, it just may be time to shop around for a different grass variety that will work for your unique needs.

How to tell if heavy traffic is hurting your lawn?

Thinning areas are typically your first sign of an issue. Thin areas that continue to receive traffic can result in brown and bare patches that could potentially lead to more severe soil issues. Traffic creates added pressure on the soil, making it denser, which in turn can restrict air and water flow that is needed for healthy turf growth.

If you notice your grass has areas that are thinning, patchy, brown, or dying consider the specific grass variety used in your lawn.

kids playing soccer on lawn and compacting soil, traffic tolerant grass

Have high traffic tolerant grass?

If the grass variety used in your lawn is said to have a high traffic tolerance, be sure to check and see if your lawn needs aeration or has excessive thatch buildup. Dethatching and aeration may be warranted to maintain healthy growth.

A quick test to help determine if your lawn needs aeration:

  • When the ground is moist, try pushing a screwdriver through the grass into the soil. If the ground is too hard to penetrate, you should aerate. 

Have low traffic tolerant grass?

If the variety of grass used in your yard is not traffic tolerant, consider replacing with a more durable variety.

Stages of Lawn Impact from Heavy Traffic

Traffic Tolerant Grass Varieties

While traffic tolerance is only one of the many factors to consider when selecting a grass variety, it is a critical one in making the best choice for your lawn.  Typically, warm-season grasses, such as Bermudagrass and zoysia, are better equipped to tolerate high traffic during the warmer growing months. Whereas cool-season grasses, like fescue, will handle heavy traffic better in the cooler months.

One of the most important steps when considering a grass variety is to ensure you select a variety that will perform well in your region.


Bermudagrass is commonly used on golf courses and sports fields in the south for a reason! It is extremely durable! Bermuda is a warm season grass with deep roots and a quick growth rate leading to this grass varieties’ durability.


Zoysiagrass is another high traffic tolerant grass often used in the south. Zoysia is a warm season grass that has an extensive root system that produces thick, compact turf that grows well in a wide range of soil types.

zeon zoysia sod from NG Turf installed at Sugarloaf golf course

Tips to Prevent Lawn Damage from Traffic

  • Aerate to reduce soil compaction.
  • Allow new grass (seed or sod) time to establish a healthy root system before allowing kids and pets to play on it.
  • Rotate areas where outdoor activities occur so one areas isn’t used more frequently than the rest of the yard. If able, consider alternating the location of playsets in the yard.
  • Keep off grass when wet and more prone to damage.
  • If foot traffic can’t be rerouted, you may want to consider adding gravel, mulch, or stepping stones as an alternative to grass. If grass is a must, sod can always be added to large areas with significant traffic damage.

If your yard has already been damaged, read our related article on tips to repair bare patches in your lawn

one year warranty on NG Turf farm fresh sod


If you have questions about damage being cause by heavy foot traffic in your lawn or what grass variety will work best in your unique space, don’t hesitate to give our Certified Turfgrass Professionals a call at  770.832.8608 or  send us a message at info@NGTurf.com.  We are always happy to help.


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