Sep
02
2021

How to Repair Bald Spots in Your Lawn

Bald spots on an otherwise full, healthy lawn can be the result of pet urine, heavy pedestrian traffic, infestation by maggots or other pests, or a variety of other causes. There are several ways to effectively repair these areas, but you also need to consider the causes and fix them if possible. For example, if a bare bruise occurs because natural foot traffic is constantly affecting an area, then no solution is permanent unless you also solve the traffic flow problem. And if the bald spots were caused by a maggot problem, new bald spots will appear as soon as you fix the old ones unless you address the maggots.

There are two simple ways to restore bald spots to your lawn: reseeding and sward mending.

Reseeding of bare patches

This simple method is inexpensive and only takes around 20 minutes of your time plus a little maintenance before your first or second mow. Its disadvantage is that it takes several weeks for the patch to fully blend into the rest of your lawn.

  1. Rake the area

    Rake and remove dirt or dead grass from the area with a garden rake.Now is the time to check the area for grub damage as well. If the damaged lawn pulls up slightly, like a carpet being lifted, you may have a maggot problem that needs to be addressed.

  2. Loosen the soil

    Break up the soil with a hard-toothed lawn rake or garden cultivator. If the soil appears heavily compacted, you can aerate it with a manual core aerator.

  3. Change the ground

    Add a few inches of compost or loamy soil and use the rake to mix it into the existing soil. Turn the rake upside down and use the top edge to smooth the surface by spreading some of the mixture into the adjacent areas.

  4. Spread the seeds

    Sprinkle grass seeds evenly over the area, thick enough to cover the surface but not so thick that the seeds pile on top of each other.Use a suitable seed for your region and your microclimate (sun or shade). Perennial ryegrass should be part of the mix as it germinates quickly.

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    Do not fertilize yet. Although this step was once recommended, most experts suggest that starter fertilizers are not useful until the grasses are well established.

  5. Rake the seeds

    Rake in the seeds lightly to distribute them evenly. This will also cover some of the seed with a thin layer of soil that can help hold it in place but is usually not necessary. Until the seeds germinate, you may need to protect the area from birds. Using reflective tape or pinwheels mounted on short stakes can help deter them.

  6. Start pouring

    Lightly water the area. Keep the seedlings moist throughout the day. If hot weather is a problem, you can cover the patch with a piece of burlap. This will provide shade and keep the tiny seedlings from drying out.

  7. Mow when you’re ready

    Let the grass grow a little longer than the rest of your lawn until the color of the patched area blends in with the rest of your lawn. This can mean two or three mowing cycles are mowed around it. Some seed manufacturers suggest waiting a full seven weeks before mowing the new grass.

Patching with sod

A quicker method than sowing is to fill in the bald spot with a patch cut from a sward. This is a good method when you need to treat multiple bald spots. A roll of sod is only a few dollars, and you can cut many patches from a single roll.

  1. Cut a lawn pavement

    Use a sharp shovel or garden knife to cut off a piece of lawn grass that is slightly larger than the bare piece in your lawn. The patch should extend about 5 cm past the edges of the bald area into the healthy grass area.

  2. Cut out the old lawn

    Put the patch over the bare area. Use a sharp shovel to “trace” around the patch of lawn in the healthy lawn around the bare patch.Remove the sward, then use a hand cultivator to remove the dead grass and the ring of healthy grass around the bare area. Remove a layer of soil from under the grass: your goal is to dig down slightly so the lawn is level with the rest of your lawn.

  3. Prepare the ground

    Loosen the soil in your bedding area with a shovel, garden rake or cultivator. You want the soil to be nice and loose so that the roots in your lawn can grow into the soil quickly.

  4. Place and water the patch

    Place the lawn in the excavated area and press it into the ground by walking repeatedly on it. Water immediately and repeat watering two to three times a day for several days until the lawn pavement is stuck together and actively begins to grow.

In no more than a week or two, your lawn should be seamless and indistinguishable from the rest of your lawn. Don’t be surprised if it’s a slightly different color at first; that will soon go away.