Bald. Bare. Thin. Whatever you call it, one thing is certain: Patchy lawns stink. Until automatic, self-repairing lawns are invented, we’ve got the next best thing — quick and easy bare spot repair. Read on for the simple how-to, plus a few extras for keeping your lawn looking lush even longer.
Quick Guide to Lawn Repair
1. Patch your lawn.
2. Water well. New seed and sod require more frequent watering. Keep your soil moist, but don’t drown it.
3. Feed your lawn. After 6 to 8 weeks, give your new grass the nutrients it needs to grow lush and strong.
4. Kill weeds and pests. As your grass expands, bugs and weeds will invade. Check the label before applying weed or pest control on new grass.
5. Mow later. Be sure to wait until your lawn is at mowing height (3½ to 4 inches) before you mow.
How to Repair and Seed Your Lawn
1. Fill In Bare Spots
Most of us know that simply hoping bare spots will fill in on their own is futile. Did you also know that watering those bare spots and doing nothing else won’t work either?
2. Water Well
Lightly water the newly seeded, sodded, or plugged areas daily (or as needed, depending on the weather) for at least 2 weeks to keep the top inch of soil consistently moist but not soggy. Once the grass seedlings develop and start to fill in, gradually increase the amount of water the lawn receives so the top two inches of soil is kept moist. After the grass reaches mowing height, it’s best to water deeply once or twice a week to encourage the grass roots to grow deep in the soil. A good, thorough soaking rather than a quick watering will ensure that the water gets down to the root system, helping roots grow strong and deep for a thick, more drought-resistant lawn.
3. Follow with Food
Tender seedlings, as well as existing grass, need nutrients to help them grow thick and strong. This will provide a steady supply of nutrients to encourage the kind of grass growth that will crowd out weeds and withstand the stresses of heat, drought, and normal wear-and-tear.
The easiest way to feed your lawn is with a spreader. It helps you distribute fertilizer evenly so you don’t have to worry about applying too much or too little.
4. Kill Weeds and Pests
It’s important to keep bugs and weeds from ruining your new lawn.
5. Watch for Grubs
It’s easier to control grubs in the spring before they hatch, or in early summer when they’re small and haven’t yet caused a lot of damage to your lawn.
6. Wait Before Mowing
Both new grass seedlings and sod need time to grow, so wait until they’ve reached mowing height (generally 3.5 to 4 inches) before cutting them for the first time. After that, go ahead and resume your usual lawn cutting regime. Just keep in mind that mowing your grass a little higher will help it crowd out weeds.