Having bare spots in your grass can really spoil the look of your lawn, so you’ll no doubt be keen to cover them as quickly as possible. This article is going to look at whether you are better off letting the existing grass spread to cover the bare patch, or whether it is best to actively reseed those spots.
It is generally faster and more effective to reseed bare patches of grass, but many grass varieties can spread to fill the bare patch if provided with good growing conditions. It’s important to identify why your grass developed bare spots and fix these to ensure the problem does not repeat itself.
If you have just noticed bare spots in your yard, your grass may spread to fix those spots. But sometimes there are underlying problems that make it hard for grass to grow in those areas. Below we’ll talk about the types of grass that spread, as well as ways to identify and address lawn problems.
What Grass Will Spread to Bare Spots in Your Yard?
Unless you built the house you are living in, you may not know what kind of grass is in your yard, but even if you did build your house, you still may not know what kind of grass you have. Grasses can also mix and change over the years, so you may have a blend instead of a specific type of growth.
If you do know what kind of grass you have, you can refer to the information below to check if your grass will spread to fill the bare spots. If you have no idea what grass is in your yard, don’t stress! The smart thing to do would be to wait a few months. After a short amount of time, if you see no improvement, you should refer to “How To Fix Bare Spots” which is found below.
If you are planning on building a home or doing a yard makeover, it’s a good idea to seed your yard with grass that will fill any spots that die over the years! Here are a few suggestions.
Cool Season Spreading Types
These grass types grow best when you plant them in the early fall. You should wait to plant these grass seeds until the soil has cooled down to 60-85 degrees. These grass types do not like the extreme heat, and should only be planted in the Northern states.
Warm Season Spreading Types
These types thrive in the heat and warm weather. They should be planted in the spring when the soil temperatures are around 65 degrees. You don’t want to plant when the temperature is lower than 55 degrees because the grass seed will go dormant. This type of grass is best grown in the south where temperatures do not get too low.
- St. Augustine
How To Fix Bare Spots
Begin by mowing your yard. You want to make sure that your grass is clean-cut and healthy. After you have mowed, you now need to remove any dead and damaged grass from the bare area. As long as you expose the soil below, you can do this by hand! Take this opportunity to level the ground out, if it wasn’t level already.
After you have leveled the soil, you need to rake the soil. Your grass may not be growing due to a lack of nutrients, so raking the dirt will help bring up the food your grass needs to survive. Not only does raking bring up fresh soil, it loosens the soil to help seedlings take root.
Choose a grass type that is best for your climate and your specific yard. For example, if your yard is in a hot climate, but gets lots of shade, you’ll need a shade-tolerant variety of grass.
Place the seeds on the rake and smooth over the soil. You want to make sure you are placing about 1 cup of seeds for every square foot. This will help to make sure all of your grass gets the correct sunlight and that the seeds all get enough soil and water to grow.
Now that your seedlings are planted, you have the responsibility to ensure they are getting the correct amount of water to help them grow. You should expect to water your seedlings about once a day. You do not want your plants to be overwatered. A good thing to keep in mind is to ensure the soil is constantly moist, but never soggy. Speaking from experience, overwatering your grass can cause more harm than good, so make sure you’re keeping a close eye on the moisture levels.
Continue to water them once a day until your seedlings are tall enough to mow. Seedlings should begin to grow 7- 21 days after you have planted them. They will not be mature enough to mow for another 3- 4 weeks.
Most Common Lawn Problems and Solutions
Aside from bare spots, there can be many problems your grass may experience. Some of these can cause bare spots, which is why it is so important to care for your lawn. If you catch these problems early on, it can save you a lot of hassle in the future.
Below are eight common lawn problems and the solutions to fix them.
Yellow or Powdery Spots (Rusts)
Rusts are a type of disease your lawn can get, the cause of which are fungal spores. It can make your grass a reddish, brown color. It can also leave yellowish, orangish spots. There is often a powdery aspect to the grass that can rub off onto your hands when you touch the grass. Rusts spread fast and easily. They can greatly damage your lawn and can be very difficult to get rid of. Before we discuss the solutions, here are some ways to prevent rusts from attacking your lawn.
- Mow your lawn regularly
- Fertilize often
- Ensure to aerate yearly
- Do not over or underwater your lawn
To solve this problem, you need to begin by mowing your lawn. You then need to rake up the damaged grass. Rinse off all tools you use to prevent the spread to the rest of your grass. If the problem continues, you may have to remove the patches of diseased grass and put in new grass altogether.
One of the most disappointing things is having a thin lawn when you are trying your best. It can be extremely frustrating for someone who seems to do everything right and your grass continues to grow thin and sparingly.
Grass that is growing thin is likely doing this because of the soil it is planted in. To fix this, you need to test your lawn’s pH levels. After getting the readings, adjust your lawn’s soil as needed. After doing this, you should overseed with your grass to promote lush growth.
Uneven Growth (Often in Shade)
We all have that one area of the yard that is almost constantly covered by shade and has a hard time growing. Most types of grass need a lot of sunlight to grow thick and fast.
To help you solve your shade problem you should begin by making sure the trees in your yard are properly trimmed and pruned. This should help remove any unnecessary shade in your yard. If most of your yard is in the shade, you should find a type of grass that will grow in your area, that does not need as much sunlight.
For thicker grass, you can mix shade-tolerant grass with ground cover grass. This should help give a thick texture to your yard.
Light Rings Filled in With Grass
Sometimes referred to as fairy rings, light rings are unappealing to the eye and harmful to your yard. To help these, you would proceed with the same solution for bare or bald spots.
Begin by digging up the earth, rake it over. After the earth has been mixed, pour seed over the top. Follow instructions written on the seed container.
It may seem impossible to some to grow grass on an inclined slope, but it’s not! The trick is to care for the grass, specifically to make sure it can root deeply to grow properly.
Make sure that the grass type is correct for your climate and for the area you are growing your grass. If your slope is in the sun, make sure the grass you are growing is not a shade tolerant grass seed. Make sure it’s getting the needed water, and fertilizing in order to really thrive.
If you are still having issues with your patchy slope, you may want to consider breaking up that area of your yard. This can be done by planting trees, bushes, or other plants. You can also put big boulders in the area. Breaking up the area can help your grass to get the correct water flow (not over or underwatered).
Moss can quickly overtake your grass if you are not careful. Shady, wet, lawns are perfect breeding areas for moss and mushrooms. Once you begin to see moss, it may only be a short time until you feel as though you have lost control of your yard. To fight moss, follow these tips and tricks.
Keep your trees and bushes trimmed and pruned. This should eliminate any unnecessary shade in your yard. You obviously do not want to overcut your plants, but cutting off the unnecessary and overgrown branches will not only make your tree/plant look better, but will in turn also help your grass get the sun it needs.
In areas where your grass is thinning because of either the moss or the overwatering (which will eventually cause moss), you should rake the earth and overseed with grass that is fit for your area. If your grass is the shade, you need to plant shade tolerant grass seed.
Watch the amount of water you are putting on your yard and the pH level of the soil. Do not overwater your grass, and when you do perform a pH level on your soil, care for your soil accordingly.
Everyone experiences weeds in their yard. For some, it takes constant care to rid your yard of weeds. I know for many households, weeding the yard can become a Saturday chore for the kids. Aside from weeding (or having your kids help) how else can you rid your yard of weeds?
Weeds can suck away water, sunlight, and nutrients from nearby plants. This can cause the surrounding grass to become weak and thin and it’s a bit problematic if the weeds are widespread.
Mow your yard regularly, and if the weeds haven’t gotten out of control, pull them by hand, making sure to get the roots if you want to make sure they don’t grow back.
If you are still having issues, you should make sure you are not overwatering your yard. If you give your grass too much water, weeds may take advantage of that excess and grow. Grass usually only needs about one inch of water a week. If your area has a wet season and you often get rainstorms, you may want to track the water level to make sure you are giving too much water.
Damage From Pets
We all love our pets, but that does not mean we have to love everything they do. Urine from pets can permanently damage your grass. It has a lot of nitrogen which makes your grass turn brown. To solve this problem, follow these steps.
Begin by digging up the affected area. Reseed and fertilize with a stronger fertilizer. After you have redone that area of your grass, care for it as needed to allow it to grow to its fullest potential.
Now that you have fixed your yard, to prevent this from happening again, you need to set up designated areas for play, and designated areas for your pet to relieve itself, maybe a rocky, or gravel-covered area where you don’t have to worry about your vegetation. This will help prevent your pet from urinating on your yard again which should prolong the life and health of the lawn.