There’s almost nothing worse than having patchy or thin grass on your beautifully laid lawn. It is every homeowner’s worst nightmare because it totally disfigures the lawn. Patchy grass can be a huge problem, especially if you don’t know what may have caused it. It may be easier just to add fertilizer and spread seeds, but that is not a solution to the problem; in fact, it may worsen the situation of your lawn. There are several things that can cause patchy grass, and identifying the source of the problem is the first step to solving the problem. Patchy or bare grass may be caused by spilling of fertilizer or oil from your lawn mower, pets, insects, insufficient sunlight, or even lawn disease. In this article, we’ll discuss a few tips and an easy guide on how to protect your lawn and keep it beautiful.
What Causes Patchy Grass or Bald Spots on a Lawn?
Patchy grass can be a result of a number of things ranging from heavy foot traffic to pests and even full-blown lawn disease; this is why identifying the cause is a huge step to fixing your lawn. Some of the causes are preventable, while some require serious attention. Here are some likely reasons why you have bald spots all over your lawn.
Mowing your lawn the wrong way can cause bald spots or patchy grass to appear on your lawn. If you don’t mow your lawn properly or trim your grass too low, it’s possible to see bumps or raised spots on your lawn. Also, while mowing your lawn, there may be spillage of oil or petrol across the lawn. This oil damages the soil leading to this terrible bare or bald spots all over your lawn.
Amount of Shade
Sunlight is a very important component needed for your grass to grow. If a part of your lawn is blocked from the sunlight by trees or a building, then the growth of grass in that area may be stunted. This shade makes it difficult for the seeds to grow like they are supposed to, leading to the appearance of a few bare spots around that shaded area. This problem can be a bit difficult to solve, especially if the obstacles blocking the sunlight cannot be removed. In cases like this, you may have to replace the grass in those patchy areas.
Weeds are very frustrating and almost cannot be avoided. They compete with the grass for sunlight, water, and other nutrients, leaving your plants with barely enough nutrients for growth. Weed growth can be stopped by herbicides or other weed killers that control these unwanted species and stop them from spreading across your lawn. Also, mowing your lawn as frequently as needed can control the growth of weeds and keep it from damaging your lawn.
Lawn Insects or Pests
Plant-eating insects and pests are one of the most common causes of bald or bare spots. Pets are known to be very problematic because they can severely damage your lawn. The best way to handle the insect problem in your lawn is by spraying pesticides or other insect-killing chemicals. Once you have gotten rid of all the insects and pests, the plants can heal on their own and flourish.
Lawn disease is a severe problem. If it is not checked or noticed in time, it can spread across the entire lawn and destroy all your plants. There are different types of lawn disease; some of these diseases include
- Brown patch lawn disease: This mostly affects cold-season grass and is common in spring and fall. It causes circles of dead grass that can be up to 3 feet wide.
- Dollar spot disease: This appears as dollar-sized circles around the lawn and can be up to 6 inches wide. These circles may merge eventually to form large irregular blocks around your lawn.
- Leaf spot disease: This can be identified by dark brown rot on the crown and roots of your plants, oval spots with brown margins, and brown centers on the leaves of your plants. This causes the grasses to thin and die out.
Lawn disease can be treated with generic fungicides and other chemicals that kill fungi. Call for a professional if you are not sure how to deal with this problem.
To keep your soil in the best condition, it needs a balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and other components. Fertilizer providers your soil with all the components it needs to grow your plants. When spreading fertilizer, it is possible to miss some areas or put an insufficient amount in some areas causing these areas to appear unhealthy and different from the more fertilized areas of your lawn. This can be easily fixed by adding fertilizer to those patchy areas.
How to Repair Patchy Grass or Bald Spots on Your Lawn
Once you have figured out what causes the patchy grass or bald spots in your lawn, fixing it should be much easier. The best way to repair these bald spots or patchy grass is by planting new seed or patching it up with sod. Below is an easy step-by-step guide on how you can repair your lawn using both methods.
Repairing Your Lawn with Seed
- Use a garden rake to remove any debris or dead grass that may be around that area
- Cut the area around the dead grass with a spade or shovel.
- Lift the dead grass with the flat side of the spade.
- Fill that area with topsoil to replace the thatch or grass that you removed. This is so that that area is the same level as the rest of the lawn.
- Use a rake or any other garden tool to smoothen that area. Ensure that the soil is smooth and there are no clumps or debris in the soil.
- Spread the seed evenly across that area. The seed should be enough to cover the surface of the soil but make sure that they do not overlap.
- Rake the seed lightly to properly spread it across the area. While doing this, some of the seeds will get covered up by a thin layer of soil, but this is not enough to protect the seed from birds. Use a straw to cover the seed and retain moisture in the soil.
- Water that area lightly to keep the seeds moist. Remember to water that area every morning and evening until the seeds germinate.
Try overseeding if there are thin grasses all over your lawn. To do this, spread the seeds across your lawn with your hands or a handheld spreader. Then cover that area with an inch or half an inch of compost.
Patching Up Your Lawn with Sod
Sod is grass that has been planted already; it can also be called turf grass. It’s made up of grass and soil held together by roots and other materials. Patching up your lawn with sod is much faster and more reliable. It is usually sold in sections or rows, and a row costs only a few dollars. You can buy from a sod farm or a garden center. Here is how you can repair your lawn with sod
Calculate the size of sod you’ll need: The first step is to measure the size of the patch to know how much sod you’ll need. Estimate the length and width of the bald or bare area with a measuring tape. Use the figures to determine the amount or size of sod needed.
Cut a sod patch: Cut out a patch of sod grass using a sharp shovel or garden knife. Cut the patch at least 2 inches wider or bigger than the bald patch so that it extends into the healthy grass area of your lawn.
Prepare the patch area: Use a handheld cultivator or rake to break the soil so that the roots of the sod can grow into the oil quickly. Also, remove the dead grass in and around the patchy area. Slightly dig down the soil to create space for the sod to sit well in the soil and at the same level as the rest of the lawn.
Lay the sod: Lay the sod patch into that bald area and use your feet to compress it; do this by walking on the patch repeatedly until it fits perfectly in the ground.
Water the new sod: Water your sod thoroughly immediately after you lay it and continue to water it two to three times a day. Do this until the sod patch is root-bound with the soil and you notice it actively growing. When you first water the sod, pull the edges back a little to ensure that the soil is moist and not muddy.
It should take a week or two at most for the sod to blend and look completely identical with the rest of your lawn. At first, the sod may show a different color, but it’ll fade in no time. Wait at least ten days before mowing your lawn, and make sure you gently tug the sod before mowing to make sure it is tightly bound in the soil.
How to Maintain Your Lawn after Repair
Water your lawn
To maintain a healthy lawn after repair, you need to water the lawn as frequently as possible. Water it heavily to ensure that the water reaches the root. As the grass seeds or sod grows, you’ll need to increase the amount of water you use on your lawn, specifically in that area. Water your lawn heavily at least twice a week. Light watering is not the best idea because you need water to reach the root to facilitate its growth.
Improper fertilization is one of the major causes of patchy grass or bald spots. This happens when some areas are more fertilized than the other causing some areas of your lawn to look unhealthy, thin, or dead. You should feed your lawn as frequently as required. Fertilize your lawn about six to eight weeks after planting the new grass seeds, and then wait another six weeks to feed it again.
For more information on how to keep your lawn beautiful and healthy, read
Preparing Your Lawn For Hot Summer Days
Caring For Your Lawn During Winter
Growing Grass when Having Pets
Patchy grass can result from many different things, which is why it is important to first discover the root of the problem before dealing with it. Luckily, there are easy solutions to this nightmare, regardless of the cause. Follow the steps provided in the article to keep your lawn healthy, beautiful, and lush.