A complete guide to grass patch repair and how to fix bare spots in lawn.
As a homeowner, the last thing you want to see is bare patches in your lawn. Bare spots can appear for many reasons, including disease, pest infestation, shade and excessive foot traffic. For whatever reason, your lush lawn has been replaced with ugly bare patches.
It’s important to provide your yard with proper care to restore its health and beauty. Here are the best ways to fixing bare spots in lawns. Plus, we will cover grass patch repair and how to identify the cause of these patches.
What Causes Bare Spots in Your Lawn?
Before you begin filling in and fixing your lawn’s bare spots, it’s important to determine what caused these spots. Even if you provide your lawn with the best possible care, your yard may still suffer from diseases. Plus, your grass may have insect pests below the turf. The following list includes other possible reasons for bare spots to occur in your lawn:
- Heavy foot traffic
- Spilled chemicals
- Poor soil conditions
- Urine from pets or wild animals
- Salt burn from anti-icing techniques
- Fungal disease
- Insect infestation
- Cold weather
- Excessive shade
Identify the Cause, then Fix Bare Spots in Lawn
While it may seem difficult to find the true cause of bare spots and patchy grass, diagnosing the issue is quite simple. If your yard has bare spots due to pet urine, you will likely notice a dark green ring around the dead spot. On the other hand, dead grass patches from pest infestation, such as grub worms, will easily lift from the ground when gently tugged on.
If the bare spots are the result of fungal disease, you might see a coat of white covering the grass. Fungus can also cause a yellow ring expanding from the dead spot in the turf.
Other signs to look for are irregularly shaped bare patches (cause by chemical spills). Bare spots that normally grow back in the spring are typically caused by cold weather. And bare spots near shady areas are often found under trees.
On most occasions, bare spots are the result of an underlying issue in your lawn. Perhaps your lawn is infested with pests, or maybe it simply receives heavy foot traffic. Whatever the case may be, correcting the issue is the first step to fixing bare spots on your lawn.
Consider collecting and submitting a soil analysis. You can also send a soil sample to your local extension office to identify what might be causing the problem. After all, you don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on applying products that might not work.
There are numerous reasons for bare spots, so it may take some time to find the underlying cause. Once the issue is identified, treatment should be easy to fix bare spots in your lawn. Plus, it should also be easy to prevent bare spots from appearing again in the future.
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How to Fix Bare Spots in Lawn
After you determine the cause of bare spots in your lawn, the next step is solving the issue. There are several methods you can use to fix bare spots in your lawn. This can either be done by applying treatment or fertilizer—particularly for lawns with disease or pests. Or, the solution can be accomplished by reseeding your lawn. Keep in mind, however, that seeding your lawn may not always solve the issue of bare spots.
There are several methods for repairing bare patches on your lawn. Below are the most common techniques for filling bare spots in grass yards.
1. Grass Seed
One of the most common methods for repairing bare spots is to seed the bare patches. This can easily be done by raking the bare spots to loosen the ground. Then, add a few inches of compost and gently rake it into the existing soil. Next, sprinkle enough grass seed to cover the entire surface, and lightly rake the soil to evenly distribute the seed.
Lightly water the area at least once a day for the first ten days. Once the seed germinates, you can cut back on your watering schedule. Below are pictured a few grass seed varieties that can be used to fill in bare spots in home lawns. Click here to view a few recommended grass seed varieties.
2. Grass Plugs Can Fix Bare Spots in Lawn
An alternative to applying grass seed is planting grass plugs in the bare spots to create a uniform surface. A grass plug is an individual turf plant grown in a tray, which may then be used to fill in your lawn’s bare spots.
Over time, the grass plugs will spread and fill in the bare spot. Before planting a grass plug, however, it’s important to determine the cause of bare spots to prevent the patches from occurring in the future. For more information, refer to this grass plug installation guide.
3. Treat Lawn with Insect or Disease Control Products
If the cause for bare spots is disease or insects, then you’ll need to treat your lawn with an insect control or disease control product. One way to distinguish between these two problems is to do a soap flush test. If any insects float to the surface, then the problem is insect pests. Often, pests such as fall armyworms, chinch bugs, or mole crickets will float to the surface.
If insects don’t appear, it may be possible you have a disease issue instead. To be certain, send a sample to your local extension office. Make sure to choose the correct treatment for your lawn, and always follow the directions on the product label. Depending on the damage done to your lawn, you may still need to seed the bare spots or plant grass plugs.
4. Apply Fertilizer to Fix Bare Spots in Lawn
For lawns with poor soil conditions, applying fertilizer may help fix the bare spots in your lawn. Additionally, fertilizer may promote healthy grass growth for lawns that have been reseeded.
Be careful not to over-fertilize your lawn, as doing so may cause issues and even create bare patches in the turf. For best results, fertilize your lawn every six weeks, beginning six weeks after seeding your lawn.
For new lawns, try the Lawnifi® New Lawn Starter Box. It’s filled with the nutrients that newly installed sod, plugs or seed need to establish. If you’re not planting any new vegetation, the Lawnifi Annual Program is a great liquid fertilizer package. This contains three separate boxes for each active growing season: spring, summer and fall.
For those who prefer traditional granular fertilizers, Lawnifi Foundation is a good choice. This slow-release nitrogen fertilizer feeds lawns for up to three months at a time. Each bottle or bag of Lawnifi covers 5,000 sq. ft. Learn More About Lawnifi Here.
Bare spots often occur due to cold weather or excessive shade. If that’s the problem, it may help to grow a different type of grass. The best grass types for shady areas, include St. Augustine grass and zoysia.
For lawns that experience cold weather, cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue and perennial ryegrass may thrive best in your lawn. Learn more here.
I hope these tips will help identify and fix bare spots in lawn areas. With a little practice, you can successfully do grass patch repair to solve the issue of bare spots.