There’s nothing more frustrating than finding those unsightly balding patches in an otherwise level and beautiful lawn. Repairing those patches, however, can be quite simple if you know how.
Why is My Lawn Balding?
Patches can have several causes. The most common is domestic animals, whether they’re yours or a visiting neighbors. Urine with high acidity will burn the tender blades of the grass. A good management strategy is to make sure you clean up after your pet quickly, to minimize the time the grass is exposed to potentially destructive acidity.
Repairing the Patches
When repairing these patches, however, you’re going to start by raking them over with a good quality, firm straight rake. You’ll find the damaged grass will come out easily, leaving a bare patch of earth behind and leaving the undamaged grass untouched. Redo it several times until you see the patch is clear of dead matter.
Your next step is critical. Lawn burns are caused, as we mentioned, by a high concentration of acidity. If you don’t alter the acid balance back to a better ph, you may as well not bother attempting the repair. A simple scattering of lime, however, will drop the soil ph comfortably. There’s no exact measurement required as lime is perfectly safe for grass, so use a generous scattering and smooth it to the edges of the patch to be sure you treat the whole area.
Next up, add a layer of mulch to the mix to cover over the bald patches. You can spread another layer of lime on top of this mulch layer if you wish. Finish the layering off with some topsoil, and you’re ready to get planting.
Re-seeding the Patches
If you’re patient and have a runner-style lawn (Kikuyu is a great example of a runner-type grass) you can simply leave the existing grass to spread into the newly prepared areas and close the holes. Don’t let pets or children dig in the prepared areas though. Mostly, however, you’re going to want to seed over the treated patches. Don’t overdo the seeding, as it will be counterproductive and you’ll end up with no growth at all. Stick to the recommended density for your specific seed. It’s always a good idea to match the lawn type you have and the needs and purposes the lawn is used for to the grass type you are using- a lawn specialist in your area might be able to make recommendations for you if you’re not sure.
Use a very fine layer of top soil over the seed- not enough to cover it completely, it’s fine to leave some seed visible. The soil is a barrier against birds. Press the new seed layer down lightly. You can fertilize the lawn directly now if you desire, and a good watering in is highly recommended. You’ll need to keep the patches watered according to the recommendation for your grass type while the seeds are germinating.
Here’s a video showing you the process in great detail. Special thanks to Dan for putting up this great tutorial!