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.
What Should I Do To My Lawn In The Spring
Spring is the perfect time to start thinking about lawn care. The ground is recovering from a long, cold winter, plants are starting to grow, and the earth is ready to receive new seeds. When the weather starts to warm, the first step in your lawn care strategy is deciding what you would like to achieve and what you need to do to make it happen. Your next step is to start cleaning up. Rake your lawn free of decomposing leaves, trim back shrubs and branches, and clear out all the weeds. Once your lawn is cleared of debris, tend to your irrigation system. Test your system and decide whether any repairs are necessary. Now its time to nourish the lawn. If you opt to aerate your lawn in spring, the national average cost is $70-$100. Consult with your lawn care pro, as some regions benefit from only aerating in fall. If you have bare spots, you can overseed the lawn to encourage new growth. Next youll want to fertilize the lawn to ensure it grows in rich and lush. Professional fertilization services may range from under $50 to over $200, depending on your lawn size. If you have a bad weed problem, you can apply pre-emergent herbicide to prevent a weed outbreak. Make sure the irrigation system is routinely watering your lawn, and then enjoy watching the grass grow.
The Last Of The Lawn Renovation Steps: Maintenance
Now that youve gone through the steps of fixing your bad lawn, chances are, you want to keep it that way. This is where maintenance comes into play. Since youve already invested in improving your lawn, you dont want to set yourself back to where you started.
Investing in ongoing lawn care will keep your lawn in good shape so that you can continue to enjoy it. As time goes on, your healthy lawn will also begin to naturally choke out weeds and defend against environmental stressors, diseases, and pests.
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How To Bring Your Lawn Back To Life In 5 Simple Steps
Does your lawn look dead and dying or filled with brown grass instead of green? Don’t give up hope quite yet. Chances are there’s still life in that “dead” lawnit’s just calling out for help. You can answer its cry and restore your lawn to lush, living beauty with all-in-one Pennington Lawn Booster and these five easy steps:
How To Treat Poa Annua Weeds
Poa annua weed becomes visible in winter and early spring in dormant lawns, such as Bermuda grass, which turn a straw color in the winter. In fescue and other cool-season lawn grasses that stay green all year-round, poa annua can leave bare spots in your lawn when it dies off in summer heat.
One poa annua weed clump can produce hundreds of seeds in a season. Seeds also can lay dormant for several years before sprouting again, making this weed difficult to control.
Poa annua thrives in compacted soil, wet soil from over-irrigated lawns and lawns with high applications of nitrogen or fertilizer. Also, if you mow too low, youre creating an environment where the weed seeds will get sun and germinate, creating more weeds.
Solution: treat it like crabgrass, although its a cold-weather weed.
1. Get control before germination begins. In the South, apply pre-emergent to your grass using a garden hose for applying liquid or a spreader for granular application. The best times to apply pre-emergent are January or early February, as soon as weather permits in winter on southern lawns. Then, apply it again in October. In April and July, use pre-emergent with fertilizer.
2. Be cautious. For cool-season grasses needing over-seeding in the fall, do not apply pre-emergent at that time. Poa annua is green in the winter, so it coexists well with fescue and rye.
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Getting Started & Maintenance Musts
Reading a Seed Bag Label
Q: Can you help me decipher all the information on my bag of grass seed?
A: Here’s what each of the important label elements mean:
A_Pure Seed: Look for a blend of two or more varieties. A single variety is more susceptible to being wiped out by disease.
B_Variety: Every common grass, such as tall fescue, should have a variety name. If no variety name is listed, it’s a lower quality seed.
C_Other Crop Seed: These are annual grasses, such as winter wheat or rye. Be wary if there’s more than 2.5 percent.
D_Inert Matter: This is the stuff that won’t grow, such as dirt and broken seeds. More than 3 percent is a red flag, unless it’s a seed coating meant to enhance germination.
E_Weed Seed: No bag is completely weed-free, but avoid ones with more than 0.2 percent of these seeds.
F_Noxious Weeds: The best bags will have none of these invasive plants.
G_Tested: Similar to an expiration date. Walk away from bags with a test date more than one year old.
Improve Your Lawn’s Water Drainage
If your lawn has ever been waterlogged for hours or even days after a heavy storm, you may need to fix your lawns water drainage. Poor drainage is usually either caused by the soil or the layout of your lawn or garden.
A lawn with thick areas of thatch or compacted soil can prevent water from being absorbed. In this case, it is best to aerate the lawn to improve the flow of water.
The layout of your lawn and garden should naturally slope away from your house, however any dips can allow water to pool and cause damage to your grass and roots. In this case, you should consider adding gutters and drains to divert rainfall away from your lawn to prevent water-logging.
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Make Your Lawn The Envy Of The Block With Consumer Reports’ Expert Advice
If the lawn outside your window is giving you the blues, join the club. After a brutal winter walloped much of the country, our Facebook and Twitter feeds have been buzzing with lawn care woes from exasperated homeowners . Fortunately, many of the most common problems have fairly straightforward fixes, as youre about to read. And just in case your yard is already the envy of the block, our experts have advice on money-saving tips, the right and wrong ways to fertilize, plus results from our latest tests of mowers, tractors, and more.
Making Bad Soil Better
Q: The contractors who cleaned up the oil spill on our property tried three times to plant grass on the fill they brought in, but only weeds came up. I’m enclosing a packet of the fill for your inspection. What will we have to do to get a nice lawn?
Margaret Kachur, Rahway, N.J.
A: Roger Cook replies: There’s no way grass is going to grow in that rocky soil. It should have been screened before it was delivered to remove all the stones, twigs, and other debris.
Here’s what to do. First, remove the top 4 inches of fill and discard it. Then dig up about 2 cups of soil and send itwithout rocks and twigsto be tested by your local cooperative extension service. They’ll send you back a report letting you know what nutrients it needs.
While you’re waiting for the report to come back, start by loosening up the fill with a rototiller. Then add 2 inches of sand and rototill again, followed by 2 inches of compost. Till that in, too. Now, grade the area with a rake and remove as much large debris from the surface as you can.
When you get the soil report, add the nutrients it calls for, plus a starter fertilizer for lawns, then rake in the seed. Keep the area moist, and I’ll bet you’ll soon be rewarded with a thick crop of grass seedlings.
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Put Away The Lawn Mower
Mowing is more than just a periodic lawn task. To keep grass healthy, stringent mowing practices are necessary, and busy homeowners dont always have time to fit mowing into their schedules. Cutting off more than a third of the grass blade can make a lawn susceptible to disease, so during a fast-growing season, grass may need mowing as often as every three days to avoid damaging the lawn. With artificial turf, theres no worry about finding the time to mow or how much it will cost to hire someone else to mow the yard. Other benefits include no more need to store gasoline for a mower, no need to sharpen mower blades, and no more missing out on other activities because the lawn needs mowing.
Bringing Out The Big Tools For A Lawn Overhaul
If you want to go the extra mile, rent an aerator and run it over your lawn before seeding. For the best chances of success when re-seeding a lawn altogether, pick the peak seasons to do it.
Timing is very important when it comes to lawn care, as heat and humidity add stress to any lawn and hinder growth. Its best to re-seed a lawn in early spring, or early fall.
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Determining The Cause Of A Dead Lawn
When your grass turns brown and dry, either on parts of your lawn or across the whole area, you may be itching to lay down new sod or start another plan to revive your lawn. But if you want your new lawn to last, you first have to determine the cause of death for the old lawn. If you dont fix what was wrong, you may find yourself staring at another dead lawn in the near future. There are a few common causes of dead patches or dead lawns, and it may take some detective work to find which one is responsible for your dead lawn.
Popular Lawn Care Services & Costs
- Residential or Commercial
- Landscaper Insurance
Prices you will pay for lawn services will vary based on your yard size, the location of property, current health of the yard, and if it’s a residential or commercial property. Climate also makes a big difference, especially in wet climates. This will dramatically increase your yearly cost because the rate of growth of your grass.
Typically, a lawn care service provider will provide a quote based on the square feet of the yard and if there are any obstacles. This means you can get a fairly accurate lawn care quote just from a phone call or instantly here on HomeGuide.
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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.
Use A Chemical Treatment
Use a post-emergent herbicide labeled for crabgrass. If you already have a crabgrass infestation, then a chemical treatment may be necessary to tackle the problem. All lawn weed herbicides are not made the same. Some will kill your regular grass and other common weeds. Make sure you read the label. Herbicides made to target crabgrass will be in a liquid form. It is meant for spot treatment and not for a broadcast application. Follow the directions on the label of the product for proper safety protocol.
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How To Fix My Ugly Lawn And How Long Will It Take
An ugly lawn can be very frustrating. You might feel as though youve tried to give your lawn what it needs but you still see weeds popping up or bare spots where no grass is growing. Or maybe you know youve neglected your lawn for a season or two and now it just seems beyond repair.
You may not be sure whats involved with fixing an ugly lawn.
For one, you may not be sure how much time it will take to fix your lawn. And without any lawn care expertise of your own, you might feel concerned that youll make the wrong choices and prolong the process.
It may all feel a bit overwhelming. You just want to restore your lawn with as few headaches as possible.
Thats why youre looking to understand the best methods to achieve your goals. Youd like a realistic timeline of how much time it will take, as well as what actually needs to be done to get started on improving your lawn.
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.
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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 .
Wasps Nesting In Lawn
Q: What can I do to get rid of the yellow jackets living in the ground around my house?
Ken McGarry, Chicago
A: Roger Cook replies: There are many kinds of wasps and bees that nest underground. Most are beneficial, not aggressive, and valuable as pollinators. But if you are sure that you have yellow jackets, the following strategies might get rid of them.
First, try flooding them with water in the evening, after they’ve returned to the nest. It may take several attempts over a period of days to drown them or encourage them to move elsewhere. Or you could try covering each hole with plasticagain, in the early eveningand seal it against the ground with bricks or blocks for a few days.
If that doesn’t cook them or discourage them, you’ll probably have to use an insecticide. There are many formulations of these chemicals, including some poison-free products such as mint oil. Availability varies from region to region, but you should find what you need at a garden center or home supply store.
Dealing with white grubs, chinch bugs, or other such pests? We’ve got you covered in How to Deal With Common Lawn Problems
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Planting New Grass And Reviving A Dead Lawn
There are two ways of planting new grass and reviving a dead lawn. The first is to lay down seed. Use a high-quality grass seed and spread it evenly over your prepared lawn. For a larger lawn, you can rent seed spreaders from your local garden store. After the seed is laid down, cover it with a thin layer of soil.
The second method is to lay down sod. Sod is grass that is already growing and comes in rolls or squares with the roots and soil attached. To lay down sod, place it over the soil, making sure each section is set tightly against the one next to it to avoid empty patches. If you are only filling in dead spots, you can use plugs to fill in wherever you need new grass.
Whether you use seed or sod, follow up planting by rolling. Rolling sod helps press it down into the soil so the roots can attach to the ground. Rolling seed helps push the seed down into the earth so it can take root and grow strong.