How To Fix A Patchy Lawn

A lush stripy lawn - how to repair a patchy lawn
Credit: The Grass People

A lush stripy lawn - how to repair a patchy lawn
Credit: The Grass People

You'll quickly notice if you need to fix a patchy lawn. And it makes sense to try to do this as soon as a patch starts to appear. As well as keeping your lawn looking as nice as possible, filling a bare patch will reduce weed growth.

If you've started to notice your lawn looking patchy or a little threadbare, then it's time to do something about it. And we'll explain what you need to know, right here.

How To Fix A Patchy Lawn

Before getting started, it is worth spending a little bit of time trying to work out what the underlying cause of bare patches is. There are many potential causes - urine from animals such as cats or foxes; destructive insects; plant disease, are all potential reasons for patches in your lawn.

If you do suspect any of these might be the reason, then try to take steps to address those issues before repairing your lawn, to minimise the risk of the problem reappearing.

As a rule of thumb, it's recommended by the likes of the Royal Horticultural Society that it's best to repair lawns in the Spring or Autumn, when the weather is damp and cool. This gives your lawn the best chance of recovering.

Once you're ready to fix those bare patches, here's what you need to do.

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Lawn Repair Using Seed

  • Start by mowing the grass as closely as possible, and use a rake to remove any clippings, and to scarify the bare patch. Roughing up the soil will also allow seeds to bed in more successfully.
  • Sprinkle some topsoil or compost over the bare patch.
  • Scatter grass seed over the bare patch, ideally using the same type of grass as you already have. Cover with some more topsoil (this will help prevent birds from eating the seeds before they have a chance to grow).
  • As an alternative to grass seed, you can buy a dedicated lawn repair mix. These will usually provide a combination of seed, mulch and fertilizer, to help the grass to grow successfully.
  • Once you've covered your grass seed with soil, water the area with a watering can, fitted with a fine rose.
  • Leave the grass to grow until it's at least three inches tall before cutting it.

Lawn Repair Using Turf

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Replacing a bare patch with sod is faster than growing from seed. Here's how you do it:

  • Cut out the damaged patch of turf, using an edging iron. Use a spade to lift it out of the soil.
  • Lightly fork the soil in the removed area.
  • Cut a strip of sod the same size as the patch you have just removed. You can either use a new strip of sod, or cut a piece from another part of your garden, as long as you know it won't be missed.
  • Place the new turf into the damaged patch. It should fit snugly. If there are any gaps, fill these with topsoil or a dedicated lawn top-dressing.
  • You can either walk over the newly laid turf to settle it in place, or press it down with the back of a rake.
  • As with seed, water it in with a watering can with a fine rose. It's important to keep it well watered to allow the roots to grow into the soil beneath the sod you laid.

Will A Patchy Lawn Repair Itself?

In the right conditions, a patchy lawn can repair itself. Grass is extremely tough stuff, and it's surprising how much it can withstand.

That being said, grass is competing with weeds and other plants that are themselves extremely resilient, and these can out-compete your lawn in any bare areas.

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If you want to make sure this isn't going to happen, then follow the tips we outlined earlier. And your lawn will hopefully soon be back to its best.

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