How To Eliminate Bald Patches In The Lawn
- Written byDoityourself Staff on Sep 14, 2011To ensure our content is always up-to-date with current information, best practices, and professional advice, articles are routinely reviewed by industry experts with years of hands-on experience.Reviewed by Kathy Bosin on Mar 03, 2017
Most home owners have, at some point, personally experienced the dreaded bald patch in the yard. No matter how beautiful the rest of our lawn is, those bald spots always stick out, waving their proverbial fingers in our face. Before attacking these ugly spots with an arsenal of lawn care products, it is important to determine the origin of the problem because each source may require a slightly different approach to care.
There are many reasons for those ugly spots, such as bug infestations, seasonal dryness, mowing damage, pet waste, grass diseases, and killer weeds.
There are many munching culprits that attack either the fresh green growth on the surface of the grass or the tender roots below ground. The worst offenders are caterpillars , billbugs, white grubs, fiery skippers, and ataenius. These pests have voracious appetites, so it is important to identify them as soon as the damage is detected.
Avoid using broad-spectrum pesticides because they kill the good bugs along with the bad. This typically offers a greater advantage to the bad bugs in the end.
How To Fix Thin Or Bald Spots In Your Lawn
If your lawn just has bald spots, its as simple a fix as patching them.
For this youll have to purchase grass seed online or from your local hardware or big box store, then its a matter of planting it and giving it the water it needs to establish itself in your lawn.
How you plant grass seed depends on which type of seed you purchase.
For standard grass seed, youll have to cut out the dead area and remove the top few inches of turf. Rake the area until its smooth, then mix the seeds with topsoil and cover it with straw or a thin layer of compost to keep the seeds moist and warm for germination.
Water your new grass seed in the morning and mid-afternoon if needed .
Why Your Lawn Has Bald Spots And How To Fix Them
If youve spent enough time in your yard, youll know that at some point it will experience unwanted brown, yellow or blank patches. And while it isnt always preventable, its always good to know why your lawn has bald spots and how to fix them.
In this article, we take a look at the different things that can cause green grass to change in color, stop growing or die.
Hopefully, it will help you diagnose any problems may be happening with your lawn, so you can quickly fix it.
After all, nobody likes an ugly lawn especially if you spend some time taking care of it.
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How To Repair Bare Spots
The cause, of course, determines the cure.
If the bare spots are dog spots, Churchill suggests flushing the area with water to move excess salt through the soil. Afterward, prepare the soil for repair by scratching it up, even adding in some new soil to make the area level with the rest of the lawn.
If the cause of the bare spot is disease or other growth issues, Churchill says to scruff up the straw or dust from the dead area, add new soil and mix into the existing soil. Then overseed the area and water in as you would with new grass seed. If the area is bigger, you may want to consider sprigging or sodding to fill the bare spots. Generally, reseeding the spots will do.
Once you repaired the bare spots, Churchill says you shouldnt need to change maintenance practices, other than spot-irrigating the areas that were reseeded, sprigged or sodded.
Urine From Pets Or Wild Animals
Dogs, cats, and wild animals urinating on your lawn will usually leave a telltale brown, straw-like patch due to the high concentration of urea that burns the grass. But just around this dead spot, there may a ring of very dark green, unusually healthy grassthe result of a higher-than-normal nitrogen level. If you catch an animal urinating, then you may be able to prevent the burn by watering the spot thoroughly immediately afterward.
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Grass Seed Germinates Readily In The Spring So This Is The Ideal Time To Fix Any Bare Patches That Have Appeared And Make Sure Your Lawn Is A Solid Block Of Perfect Green
New lawns can be started from seed in spring, and bare-patches over-sown with seed to help them fill out. Patches can be caused by a number of reasons. Dog urine can burn grass and cause it to die back. If you leave a thick layer of lawn clippings on the surface of the lawn they can smother the grass below and create a bare patch. Sometimes a hole is left behind after youve removed a particularly hefty weed. Moles can wreak havoc. Whatever the cause, bare patches of grass are easy to fix with some grass seed.
If youre filling in patches, be sure to choose lawn seed that will match your existing grass. For example, if your lawn is made of fine-bladed fescues, choose a fine or luxury lawn seed mix, but if its a hard-wearing lawn with thick-bladed ryegrass, a box of general purpose lawn seed will suffice.
In general, with lawn seed the adage that you get what you pay for holds true. Good quality lawn seed will have high germination rates and shouldnt contain rogue grass species, giving you a better lawn in the long run.
Fork over the soil at the base of the bare patch, and scatter additional top soil over it if necessary, to create a crumbly seed bed for the lawn seed. Scatter the seed over the patch at the rate given on the packet and rake it in to cover the seed and prevent birds eating it. Many brands grass seed comes with a coloured protective coating thats supposed to make the seeds less visible to hungry birds.
More tips on getting your lawn summer-ready here.
Patching Bald Spots In Your Lawn
When you notice small bald areas in your Fargo-Moorhead lawn, you can easily fix the spots by planting new grass. Before planting new grass, it is important to try and figure out what caused the bald patch. Unless you figure out the cause of the problem, you will likely find yourself repeating this process down the road. Inspect the dead spot, looking for issues such as water drainage problems, overly compacted soil, insect infestation, or too much shade. Once you have corrected the problem, its time to plant your grass.
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Gasoline Or Other Spilled Chemicals
Harsh chemicals spilled on the lawn also affect the grass. While this isnt always the case, chemicals with high concentration can do a lot of damage even in small amounts.
When you spill them in your lawn, things like gasoline, herbicides and other chemicals can produce dead spots that prevent grass from growing.
If you happen to spill some while moving them across your lawn be sure to quickly water the areas to dilute the chemicals distribute them. This makes them less potent. Water also helps wash them away into the gutters.
How To Repair A Bare Patch Of Lawn
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Bare patches can be a nuisance and usually let the garden down. But there are certain tricks that can be useful in these circumstances. From shade to compaction, there is a solution for most bare patches. This article provides some suggestions for repairing a bare patch of lawn.
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Need Help Let The Professionals Take Care Of Your Bald Spots
If you are a homeowner that cares about having a healthy, thick carpet of green grass all year round, Evergreen can help. We offer lawn services that will keep your lawn green, and let you spend more time with your family rather than working in your yard. With over 30 years in the lawn care industry, we know how to get the job done right, and we love seeing the results of our work. Dont let bald spots take over your lawn! If you have any questions about fixing dead patches of grass or want a professional to take care of it for you, feel free to give us a call at !
Want to know more about lawn maintenance?
Cultivate The New Grass
Once you have made the repairs, youll need to be sure to do the necessary upkeep to ensure your lawn grows properly.
At the outset, water three times a day for 7-10 days. Use a fine spray from a hose to avoid washing away any seed or soil. Once the grass starts growing, water once a day with a fine spray. By keeping the soil moist you make it easier for the roots to penetrate the ground.
Monitor the area closely during the first year, and if you see any problems cropping back up, investigate the area to see what the problem is.
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What Causes Bare Spots In My Lawn
If you notice Bare Spots in your otherwise lush, green and healthy lawn, they could be the result of excessive foot traffic, poor soil conditions, pet urine, grub infestation, chemical spills, fungal disease, buried rocks, or a variety of other things. Several approaches exist to effectively patch these Bare Spots, however, it’s important to understand and address the underlying cause, so that this same problem doesn’t continue to manifest in your lawn. If you’re uncertain about the catalyst for your Bare Patches, give us a call or submit a question and we can offer some insight.
Applying Your Seeding Mixture
Choose a repair mixture suited to your climate, grass type and sunlight exposure. Premium grass seed, moisture-retaining mulch and stabilized-release fertilizer in Pennington One Step Complete safeguard germinating seed and nourish emerging seedlings until the lawn is ready for normal care regimens.
Smooth the seeding mixture over the soil, applying it at a rate of 1 cup per square foot. This ensures adequate sunlight for germinating and proper seed-to-soil contact for quick, thorough grass establishment. Forget about planting depth and seed stabilization simply cover exposed soil thoroughly, and water the seeding mixture well.
Proper watering is the most important and often the most neglected part of the spot repair process. Moisture-retentive mulch reduces necessary watering and keeps protected seed in place, even on slopes, but expect to water at least once daily. Let weather guide your efforts adjust your watering to keep repaired areas consistently moist, but never soggy.
Keep repaired areas evenly moist until seedlings reach the recommended mowing height for your chosen grass type. For example, a dense shade mixture should reach 2 1/2 to 3 inches tall, and tall fescue should measure 3 to 4 inches, before you reduce watering to a normal weekly or twice-weekly schedule. Seedlings emerge over seven to 21 days after repair, depending on your mix, and reach mowing height in three to four additional weeks.
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How To Repair Bald Spots In Your Lawn
Learn how to fix bald spots in your lawn by repairing with seed or patching with sod.
Does your lawn have bald spots that need repair? We can help you with some easy steps for patching or seeding those problem areas and getting the lush lawn you’re after.
Before turf can be treated, you need to determine the cause of the problem. If you eliminate fungi, bugs, grubs or other pests as causes, you may just need some seeds.
Once the ground temperature warms to about 52 degrees Fahrenheit, seeds will grow. Good seed-to-soil contact will get the seeds germinating fast.
Patch Up The Bald Spot
There are two ways of doing this. The first step is to sow some grass seeds into the bald areas. This is a good option if the grass within a considerable section of your garden is either thinning out or completely bare.
Although this is a cheaper way to repair a lawn with bald spots, you’ll have to be patient because it does take a while for the seeds to germinate and the new grass to grow.
A quicker, but slightly more expensive, way to patch up the bald spots is by using a roll of grass sod. What’s nice about it is that the grass is already grown, so it looks like an instant fix. All you’ll have to do is to cut out the right size of sod to fit the bare spot, place it there, and press it down firmly by lightly walking on it.
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How To Repair A Thin Lawn By Overseeding
If the turf has been damaged by pet urine, it will resemble a patch of straw in the center with a dark green ring around the outside. The urine acts much like a fertilizer burn. Ohio State University scientists recommend watering the area to dilute the concentration of urine. If you are able to keep pets off the lawn, the grass can be reseeded.
Weed Control & Prevention
As an extra preventative measure against weeds, make sure to use a weed killer. I recommend using a starter fertilizer + weed preventer .
You have to be careful about what you use, because some pre-emergent weed preventers will prevent your grass seed from germinating.
Once your grass is growing, eliminate weeds early by using a post-emergent weed killer. New grass cant withstand a weed killer until its fully grown in, usually after youve mown it 3 or 4 times. After that, its safe to use.
To spot-treat for established weeds, I recommend using the herbicide Tenacity. Theres a video and how-to included in my article on eliminating lawn weeds.
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How To Repair Bare Spots In Lawns
Learning how to fix bare spots in lawn spaces is an essential part of lawn maintenance. The best method for grass spot repair is to overseed with new grass seed in the affected area. Overseeding, or planting new grass seed, allows for a healthy new start and can result in a virtually undetectable repair.
The best time to sow seeds for lawn patch repair depends on the type of grass you have. Youll want to match the type of grass seed to what is already growing. Cool season grasses do best when planted in late summer to early fall. Warm season grasses perform best when the seed is sown in spring or early summer.
If youre not sure what seed to use, give your local extension office a call. They can identify the perfect grass for your area and help figure out what types of grass will give you the quickest grass spot repair solution.
Using Too Much Fertilizer
Fertilizer is made from chemicals which when overused can kill your grass. The main culprit for this is nitrogen, which needs to be used moderately.
The right amount of nitrogen helps your grass grow thick, green and lush. But, using too much or spilling a good amount of it in one area also causes that area to die. As a result, your garden will have bald patches.
Like chemicals, if you accidentally put too much fertilizer or spill it in your lawn, quickly water it down with the garden hose to limit the damage.
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Fixing Large Thin & Patchy Sections Of Lawn
If your lawn is looking thin overall, you can try over-seeding or re-seeding instead to revitalize it. The principles are the same as fixing bald spots, but youre applying to your entire lawn.
First, youll have to rake your lawn thoroughly to remove any debris, such as leaves or dead grass. Then youll spread the seeds over your lawn and cover with a half-inch of compost or topsoil. Rake again, gently this time, to get the seeds in the grass. You want good seed-to-soil contact for the grass to grow. After that, water your lawn in the mornings and evenings until the grass starts to grow.
Water Alone Won’t Work
Most of us know that wishing and hoping bare spots fill in on their own is futile. Did you also know that watering those bare spots and doing nothing else won’t work either? Sure, water is essential for growing a green, healthy looking lawn. But water’s only a part of what you need to fix those dead spots in your lawn and keep them from coming back.
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Preparing Bare Spots For Repair
Mow damaged spots and surrounding areas at normal spring mowing levels, and then remove dead or damaged grass to expose clean soil. If leveling is needed, add or remove topsoil, rake spots briskly, and then smooth the surface. Loose, smooth soil invites new seedlings to take hold.
Delay adding pre-emergent herbicides or weed-and-feed products to repair areas. Unless applied at least five to six weeks before seeding, these products hamper seed germination and rooting.