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Lawn & Garden

Repair Bare Spots in Your Lawn


After hours of diligent effort, your lawn is a beautiful sight.  Beautiful – except for that bare spot.  The grass is either completely missing from that area or has not grown the way the rest of the lawn has.  Once you determine the reason for the bare spot, you can effectively treat that space and transform the bare patch into a thick and healthy part of your lawn. 

Common Causes of Bare Spots


There are number of reasons why the lawn has a bare spot:


* Using the lawn as a pathway or storage space

* Urine burns, predominantly from dogs

* Fungus in the lawn

* Insects, particularly grubs, eating the lawn roots

* Non-selective herbicides that kill every growing plant


Resist Using the Lawn as a Pathway or Storage Space


Some bare spots can be easily identified and have a simple fix.  Bare patches caused by constant foot traffic, areas where garbage cans are stored, or the spot left behind from a children’s wading pool, can be easily corrected.  Consider creating a gravel pathway or adding stepping-stones for foot travel.  Find a permanent location for the garbage cans by either moving them inside the garage or a building a dedicated cement pad for daily storage.  Items left on the grass for an extended period time, such as a garden hose and sprinkler assembly for watering the lawn or the kiddie pool, should be emptied and stored elsewhere when not in use.  If that is not possible, move the items around to keep from continually stressing the same section of grass.


Urine Burns From Dogs


Dogs often prefer one location to “do their business.”  Repeated and frequent use causes a nitrogen burn to the lawn.  The area must first be neutralized before planting new grass to obtain the proper growing conditions.  If possible, encourage your dog to “move around” to minimize nitrogen concentration.




Irregular shapes and patterns identify bare spots caused by fungus.  Often living grass is located in the middle of the dead spots.  First, treat the area with a fungicide that is suitable for use on your grass type.  Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for spreader settings if using a granular fungicide or the correct nozzle dial for hose end spray applicators. 




Insects like grubs, the larvae of Japanese beetles, eat the root system of your lawn.  Our post, Get Rid Of The Grubs In Your Lawn, details methods to stopping and eliminating grubs before they destroy the lawn and attract moles.  Fire ant mounds should be destroyed and free from ant colonies before attempting to treat the bare spot. 

Non-selective Herbicides

If the bare patch is due to an application of a non-selective herbicide, check the manufacturer’s instructions for the time to wait before reseeding.  Depending upon the product applied, this timeframe can range up to a whole year.  Be sure to read and follow the information found on the back of the product package for best results. 

Another source of lawn spots occurs when selective herbicides are applied to remove specific weeds.  As those weeds die, they leave a space where they previously crowded out grass from growing.  Dead weed spots may appear - which means that new grass can grow in that area. 


Special Tip: Do NOT empty and rinse out hand-held sprayers over your lawn after applying herbicides or insecticides.  This is a common mistake.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper disposal and cleaning of unused chemicals and containers. 


Get Ready to Repair


Once the cause of the bare spot has been identified and corrected, use a rake or shovel to loosen and remove the dead weeds or grasses.  Destroy this plant material - do not compost it.   Then loosen the ground and replant with new seed mix.  There are special formulations to help with fast lawn repair.



Seed + Mulch + Fertilizer = Spot Solution


The spot repair patching products are ideal for small areas that need to be filled in.  The repair patch package includes mulch, seed, and fertilizer that are pre-mixed.  Formulations are available in a variety of grass types as well as for use in sunny or shady exposures.  The packaging label lists the number of spots or square feet for lawn coverage.  Once the dead grass is removed and the soil is loosened, simply apply the recommended amount of seed mixture per the manufacturer’s instructions and water as directed.  You may need to water twice a day until the grass sprouts and grows.  The seed mixture grows quickly to fill in the bare spots.  Do not mow over the spot until the grass exceeds the recommended mowing height.  Tightly reseal the package in case more bare spots develop or the area needs filled in later during the growing season.


Special Remedy for Dog Spots


Special problems – such as those caused by dog urine - require special solutions.  These unique seed mixes repair the damaged lawn by using a neutralizer to minimize the effects of pet urine salt.  Some formulations can be used in sun-to-shade exposure and even high-traffic areas. 


Click here to learn How to Control Disease In Your Lawn.

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Posted 2016-01-29T21:00:10+0000  by Eileen_HD_ATL Eileen_HD_ATL