Are you having issues growing your grass or you simply don’t know where to begin? Don’t stress. We are here to help! We will teach you all quality methods on how to fix a patchy lawn!
A healthy lawn is visually appealing and provides a perfect place to relax with family and friends. It also improves property values. In fact, a lush lawn could increase your property's perceived value by up to 15%, depending on where you live.
There are other significant benefits to maintaining a healthy lawn, such as reducing soil erosion and water runoff. Maybe your lawn is patchy and covered in weeds. If you're wondering how to fix a patchy lawn, you can use this guide to get started.
How to Fix A Patchy Lawn
First, gather the tools you may already own, or want to invest in, such as a garden hose, rake, and sprinkler. Additionally, you'll need to plan to either rent or buy an aerator, broadcast spreader, drop spreader, and power rake. Finally, purchase high-quality grass seed, lawn starter fertilizer, and a broadleaf herbicide that targets weeds, not grass.
Kill the Weeds
Broadleaf herbicides are liquid or granules and typically contain a mixture of herbicides to combat various types of weeds. While they won't kill grass, they may kill plants you want to keep, so use them with caution. Fall is the best time to use broadleaf herbicides as the weeds will absorb the poison into their roots.
It's best to apply the weed killer at least a few weeks before you reseed the lawn. Make sure to wear gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, and long pants to protect against harmful chemicals. Organic herbicides are a safer option, but they typically require multiple applications, more labor, and also cost more.
How To Fix A Patchy Lawn
After killing the weeds, mow the lawn as short as possible. Then use an aerator to break up the soil. It works best if you go back and forth over the area several times. Aeration loosens the dirt and makes it easier for the new grass to germinate and grow deep roots.
Once you've aerated the soil, use a power rake to remove any debris, including grass, dead weeds, and rocks.
Fertilize the Soil
You need the right fertilizer to help the new grass grow and develop strong roots. Healthy soil contains leaves, grass, minerals, and other organic matter. Poor soil has weeds, increases erosion and runoff, attracts insects, and leaves your lawn looking patchy.
Fertilizer adds nutrients to the soil. Not only that, but fertilizer plays a significant role in achieving optimal grass density and in maintaining your lawn's overall health. If you're taking the time to learn how to fix a patchy lawn, consider too little or too much fertilization could be the culprit.
Plant the Seeds
You'll need a spreader to distribute herbicides, fertilizer, and grass seed. There are basically two kinds of spreaders, a broadcast spreader, and a drop spreader. A broadcast spreader flings (broadcasts) the product in all directions to ensure it covers as much ground as possible.
Using a broadcast spreader is usually the most efficient solution for large lawns. You can do two or more passes from various directions to ensure you evenly distribute the seed. A word of warning, it's best to use a drop spreader around flower beds, so you won't accidentally get grass seed in your garden.
Additionally, a drop spreader is ideal around sidewalks and driveways. Drop spreaders are more precise, as they drop the product in a line instead of broadcasting it in all directions. The thing to remember about a drop spreader is that it's challenging to ensure you don't miss a spot.
Ultimately, you want to use a broadcast spreader for most of the lawn and a drop spreader for the details. After spreading the grass seed, lightly rake it into the soil. You don't need to bury it completely.
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Certain types of grass grow better in specific climates—for example, cool-season grasses such as Fescue and Bluegrass work best in northern regions. Warm-season grasses including Bermuda, Centipede, and Bahia are excellent choices for the Gulf and deep South. And in the transition zones, sun and shade, Bermuda, Fescue, and Zoysia are all viable options.
Kentucky Bluegrass and most warm-season varieties are creeping grasses that spread by runners. These grasses typically have tough stems and roots. Bunch grasses like Fescue spread from the plant's crown, so it's important to mow high.
Seeds or Sod?
When you're researching how to fix a patchy lawn, you'll discover laying sod is the quickest way to go. You can lay sod any time. There's no need to worry about rain washing it away. On the other hand, it's best to plan for the right time and season to plant grass seeds, and that depends on the climate zone.
You prepare the soil for sod the same as seeding. However, instead of using a spreader, you cut a piece of sod to fit. Then place it, press it into the soil, and walk on it to settle it in place with its edges snug against the lawn it touches. It's important to water the sod deeply and often to encourage root growth.
How To Fix A Patchy Lawn : Maintenance
Now that you've learned how to fix a patchy lawn remember that maintenance is essential to keep it pristine. After planting the new grass seeds, mist the lawn in the morning and more frequently if the weather is hot and dry. Make sure the soil isn't soggy but also don't let it dry out as the grass seed begins to sprout.
Water for about 20 minutes. Then use a spade to determine the water's penetration. It should be 1/2-inch in depth. Be sure to continue to keep the soil watered as the grass begins to germinate. Once the new grass is ready to mow, you can cut back on watering. Twice a week is a good rule of thumb for watering after the first mowing. You'll want to soak the soil more deeply each time to encourage deeper root growth.
We hope this article has helped you in your journey to a great lawn!