Patching a Lawn

A lawn with bare patches significantly detracts from the exterior appearance of a home. The house itself can be ever so beautiful, but an unattractive lawn leaves behind a bad impression. Instead of allowing bare patches to fill in with weeds, eliminate them by preparing the soil, replanting grass seed, and properly caring for the area.

Recommended Times for Reseeding

There are recommended times for reseeding bare patches according to location and climate. Certain conditions are required for germination. In warmer climates, the best time to eliminate bare patches is early summer or late spring before temperatures become too hot. In cooler climates, reseed in late summer or early fall for best results.

Grass Seed Selection

Don't buy grass seed without carefully reading packaging labels. To avoid inadvertently planting weeds along with grass, choose grass seed labeled "certified." Grass seed labeled as certified is inspected for quality and purity, and it contains fewer weed seeds than other varieties. It's in your best interest to spend a little more for better quality seed.

To maintain a uniform appearance, try to choose grass seed of the same or similar variety to surrounding grass. If you're unaware of the variety of existing grass, read labels, and choose seed that's best suited for your location, climate, and soil. After mowing a few times, the new grass will eventually blend in with the previously planted variety.

Ground Preparation

There's more to reseeding a bare spot than simply scattering seed over the ground. The ground must be properly prepared, especially if the dead spot is a result of disease. Dead grass and remaining live growth must be removed, and the ground should be leveled and properly furrowed.

Begin by removing all live growth in a partially bare area with a heavy-duty spade, and remove the sod at least six inches beyond the bare area. Remove any rocks and debris, and break up large clumps with the tines of a heavy garden rake. Work the soil while leveling, and loosen it to a depth of approximately 1/2 inch.

If it's necessary to supplement existing soil, don't request topsoil without knowing what it consists of. You might end up with poor quality soil that's lacking in nutrients. Instead of topsoil, insist on fertile loam. Fertile loam is superior in texture, and it's full of essential vitamins and beneficial nutrients.

Furrow the ground by crosshatching vertically and horizontally with a garden rake or a flat-ended shovel. Doing so will help grass seed become embedded within the nooks and crannies of the soil. Seeds scattered on hard flat ground will eventually blow away or end up washing away during the first hard rain.

Reseeding Tips

Too many seeds in one location will create an overwhelming demand for water and nutrients. You can avoid placing too many seeds in one location by using a grass seed spreader. On average, one square inch should contain between 10 and 20 seeds. Consult package labeling for specific recommendations.

After the prepared area has been seeded, go over the soil with a light-duty rake. Alternately you can drag a section of chain link fencing over the area to lightly sweep soil over the seeds. Either method will cover the seeds adequately enough to secure them beneath the soil.

If the newly seeded area is sloped, consider covering the soil with peg cheesecloth. The cloth will hold the seed in place while it germinates and forms a good root system. Grass will grow through the holes in the cloth, and it can be removed after sufficient establishment.

Covering the seeded area with salt marsh hay is another good way to hold seeds in place while providing beneficial nutrients. Mulch will also help ground retain valuable moisture. Salt marsh hay is a preferred option since it's free of weed seeds, and it decomposes rapidly compared to other mulches.

Watering a Newly Seeded Area

Lightly water a newly seeded area, and after the seeds are embedded in the soil, water the area at least once a day. Water more often if temperatures are high and during times of excessive wind. The ground should be kept evenly moist but not overly saturated. Once the grass reaches an approximate height of two inches, it should be watered regularly to keep the roots moist and well nourished.


Keep pets and children off of newly sown grass, and don't mow until it reaches a height of about three inches. Subsequently strive to maintain a height of about 2 1/2 inches for a beautiful looking healthy lawn.