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How To Repair a Bare Patch on a Lawn

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How To Repair a Bare Patch on a Lawn

Breaking up the soil with a rake.

photo © Kelly Burke
Repair a bare patch on a lawn and quickly have it blend in with this easy, step by step process.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 20 minutes initially and some upkeep until first or second mowing.

Here's How:

  1. Rake and remove any debris or dead grass from the area.
  2. Break up the soil with a hard toothed lawn rake or a garden cultivator.
  3. Add about 2 inches of compost or loam and incorporate it into the existing soil with the rake.
  4. Turn the rake upside down and use the top edge to even out the surface, spreading some of the mix to the adjacent areas.
  5. Sprinkle seed evenly across the area. Thick enough to cover the surface but no so thick that the seeds pile up on top of each other. Use the appropriate seed for your region and micro-climate (sun or shade). Perennial ryegrass should be a part of the blend for its' ability to quickly germinate.
  6. Add a starter fertilizer, preferably one containing a selective, pre-emergent weed control like Tupersan. This will allow the grass seed to germinate but not any weed seeds. This step is optional for organic lawns or for budget concerns. However, if synthetic starter fertilizer is not used, be sure to use good compost and/or organic fertilizer.
  7. Lightly rake in the seed and fertilizer to a depth of about 1/2 an inch. Be careful not to rake away the seed and fertilizer from it's desired location.
  8. Use a roller or just step down repeatedly on the patch to ensure soil to seed contact.
  9. Lightly water the area. Keep the seedlings moist throughout the day until they're an inch or so high.
  10. After a couple of mowings, the patch should blend right in with the rest of your lawn.

Tips:

  1. A garden cultivator is excellent for loosening the soil.
  2. Use a bit of burlap to cover the patch. It provides shade prevents the seedlings from drying out.
  3. Try to time repairs with appropriate weather for germination and growth. Avoid times of drought or stress conditions.
  4. If birds are trying to eat the seed, use reflective tape specially made to scare birds away.

What You Need

  • Hard toothed lawn rake
  • Garden cultivator (optional)
  • Loam or compost
  • Grass seed
  • Starter fertilizer with pre-emergent weed control (optional)
  • Lawn roller (optional)
  • Burlap and lawn staples (optional)
Related Video
Lawn Care: Fixing Bare Patches
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