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How To Repair Patches In Your Lawn

Dead patches in your garden can look quite ungainly. When you spot one it is always advisable to deal with it quickly. Weeds can take over dead patches so it is better to avoid this if possible, to keep your lawn looking fresh. As with a lot of garden tasks this will require a bit of patience and perseverance, however the benefits of having a flawless lawn will easily outweigh the work.

Grass with patches of yellow

Identify The Problems

Before you start the repair work you will need to determine what has caused the patches in the first place, otherwise any hard work you put in now will be worthless, as you will need to repeat yourself at a later stage. Patchy spots in your garden can be caused by a number of things including rust, dog urine, fungus, bugs, animal digging or simply a lack of water and high temperatures. Prevention is always key to avoiding patches in the long term.

Each cause carries its own telltale sign so being aware of the risks to your garden is important – forewarned is forearmed. As an example, dog urine is high in nitrogen - it can resemble a fertiliser burn and turn the grass yellow. If you spot this early you can dilute the concentration with water to minimise the impact.

Repairing The Damage

  • Clear away any debris
  • Before you get started you will need to remove any dead or matted turf. To give your seeds the best chance of germinating successfully, removing debris will help the growing conditions. As you are likely to remove a couple of inches of thatch, use clean topsoil to fill in the area. This means you can at least keep the area level with the rest of the garden.

  • Prepare your soil
  • Once you have filled in the area with topsoil, you will need to rake out the area until it is smooth and flat. Any clumps may prevent seeds from growing. If the soil is dry, consider watering the ground before you place the seeds into the soil, just to make sure the seeds have enough moisture to germinate straight away. A soil fertiliser can also be a good option as well.

  • Re-seeding
  • Using your rake, create some shallow holes (roughly 5 to 10mm) in the surface for the seeds. You will need to ensure an even distribution across the patch just to avoid any gaps. After you have reseeded the patch you should look to rake over the seeds to mix it with the soil. Your main priority now is to make sure the birds do not peck at your new seeds; the last thing you want is all of your hard work to be undone. Covering them with straw can be a good option as it can hold in the moisture and also protect them from the birds.

  • Water often
  • It is important that you give the seedlings a chance to grow as strongly as possible. This means watering every day in the morning or evening for the first couple of weeks until they germinate. You don't want to drown out the soil as this can destroy the seeds, so use a very fine spray if possible. After the first couple of weeks you can reduce the amount of watering to once every other day. New grass is very prone to drying out in the first six months or so, therefore you need to be careful.

  • Using the lawn mower
  • This will depend completely on how well your seeds have grown, but typically you should start to see shoots after a couple of weeks. Once the new grass is around 5cm tall you can then cut it with your lawn mower on its highest setting. Before you do this however, you will need to ensure that the grass is dry and your lawn mower blades are sharp. Sharp blades will give your lawn a clean cut.