Gas Spill on Lawn

Lawn damaged by gasoline spill. Photo:

Question: I was filling my lawn mower with gas the other day and accidentally spilled some on the lawn. Now there’s a dead patch. What should I do?

Lucas Shand

Answer: First, of course, you should never fill your lawn mower’s gas tank (or that of any other power tool, for that matter), on a lawn. Move it to a driveway or other inert surface where spills can be mopped with a few old rags. Accidents happened so easily!

This gas can claims to be spill-proof … but still, don’t use it on a lawn! Photo: SureCan

And there actually are spill-proof gas cans that greatly reduce the risk of a spill, but even so, you should still never fill a gas tank on a lawn.

A few drops of gasoline falling on a lawn won’t do any damage, but obviously enough spilled on the lawn in your case to kill the grass.

Replace damaged lawn with fresh soil, then overseed. Photo:

Much of the gas will evaporate and microbes in the soil will eventually digest the rest, but rather than wait a year or so for the grass to fill in on its own, dig out the dead patch to a depth of about 2 inches (5 cm) and replace with fresh soil, then overseed with quality grass seed. (💡Helpful hint: consider using low-maintenance lawn seed.) Water regularly as the new grass sprouts. Within a month, the damage should no longer be visible. 

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

3 comments on “Gas Spill on Lawn

  1. Arborists are often instructed to fill their saws over bare soil or ground cover so that they do not stain pavement with bar oil, or gasoline that contains engine oil. I prefer that they do it on the chipper hopper, where any spill will get whisked away by debris.

  2. We had lots of wind s few days ago. I was just in the back yard checking furniture and noticed a can of gasoline that was covered ended up spilling on the dirt and I noticed the above ground cap to the septic tank was off? ( this part looks suspicious). if someone poured some gas in there?what to do? And what could happen? Or if an accident? Either way not sure if how much or any got in there?

    • Honestly, if I were you, I’d check with your local municipality, maybe the fire department. I can’t imagine this is anything but a coincidence, but you might want to check it out.

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