Your lush green grass has been overtaken by dead brown patches. These unsightly patches of dead grass threaten to ruin the beautiful outdoor aesthetic of all your summer barbecues and events.
Brown patches are caused by factors including, but not limited to foot traffic, lack of fertilization, fungus, grub infestation, animal urine, chemical spills, and/or drought. Dead grass patches are also more likely to occur in older lawns than younger ones.
Before you start repairing the brown patches on your lawn, study the growth patterns of these areas to see what might be contributing to the dead grass. Understanding the underlying factors will help you avoid recurring brown patches.
While repairing brown patches is not particularly difficult, you should be aware of best practices and recommendations for the optimal grass regrowth. We are going to equip you with the tools and knowledge for how to fix a brown patch in your lawn through two main methods: reseeding bare spots and patching with sod.
How to Plant Grass Seed in Bare Spots
Perhaps you are already familiar with how to seed your lawn. However, reseeding dead spots in a lawn calls for added attention to detail. We have outlined the steps on how to plant grass seed in bare spots for your next lawn repair.
- Remove Debris
Before you start seeding the brown patch, remove any leaves or debris from the area. This removes any obstacles in distributing the seeds evenly among the dead grass. If the brown patch was caused by urine or chemical spills, thoroughly rinse the area several times before reseeding to dilute any harmful chemicals.
- Break up the Soil
Refresh the soil of the brown patch by taking a rake or a garden cultivator to till the ground. This will help ensure that the soil is loose and ready to take in the new seed.
- Add Compost
Using compost is a great way to add nutrients back into the soil. Add a 2 to 3-inch layer of compost or loamy soil and use the rake again to mix it with the existing soil.
- Even out the Surface
Use the top of the rake to make a flat and even surface to start sprinkling the grass seed.
- Sprinkle the Seed
Evenly distribute a thin layer of grass seed over your brown patch.
- Protect the Seeds
If you choose to sprinkle the seed on top without pre-mixing it in the soil, place a thin layer of straw over the area to prevent birds from eating the seeds. Once the grass starts to bud, remove the straw.
- Keep the Area Lightly Watered
As the grass begins to grow and cover the brown patch, keep the area lightly watered. Water the area once or twice daily to keep the area moist. Be sure not to overwater the brown patches.
- Lightly Fertilize
Apply fertilizer to the area when the seed starts to germinate and establish. This will encourage the grass to grow and fill in the brown patch quickly.
- Wait to Mow
Seeing your brown patch area start to flourish with little grass blades will be exciting. However, this area is still in a vulnerable state. Refrain from mowing newly seeded areas until the grass blades are at least ⅓ higher than the normal grass.
- Monitor the Area
Continue to monitor the area to ensure that dead grass does not return. If brown patches return, you may have an underlying problem such as a lack of grub control or other insect infestations. Consider seeking help from a lawn service specialist.
How to Patch Bare Spots with Sod
For a quicker fix than reseeding, try using sod. Sod is a fairly inexpensive way to repair bare spots of dead grass.
- Remove Debris
Similar to reseeding, remove any leaves, dead grass, weeds, or debris from the brown patch area before getting started.
- Till the Soil
Using a garden hoe or rake, till the soil a few inches deep to break up the solid pieces of dirt.
- Measure the Area of the Brown Patch
Use a tape measure to evaluate the width and length of your brown patch. Then, purchase a piece of sod from your local gardening store that will fully cover the area.
- Select the Right Turfgrass
Be sure to select the correct turfgrass sod for your lawn, identify the grass you have growing, and try to match this when buying pieces of sod.
- Cut the Sod
Using a sharp shovel or garden tool, cut a piece of sod that is slightly larger than the area you are covering.
- Lightly Fertilize
Applying a small amount of fertilizer to the soil before laying sod will encourage the roots to establish and anchor down the sod piece.
- Firmly Place the Sod Piece
Place the sod on top of the brown patch matching the shape as best you can. Compress the sod down into the lawn by tamping it down with a rake and then immediately walking on it.
- Water the Sod Immediately
The sod will need more water than regular seed grass. Keep the area moist by watering two to three times a day if needed. Monitor the edges of the new sod – they will dry out first.
- Hold Off on Weed Control
Hold off applying any weed control to the new area until you have mowed at least three times. This will prevent any turf injury and allow the turf to establish.
- Assume Regular Lawn Treatment
When the turf is bonded and actively growing, you can assume regular lawn treatment schedules. This will usually be around 14 days after the sod has been placed. However, be careful not to cut this new grass too short when you start mowing.
Brown patches don’t have to get in the way of your luscious, green backyard dreams. Follow these easy steps to fix patches of dead grass on your own.
If you find that the brown patches or dead grass are a recurring issue, call us today for a free lawn consultation. Find out how we can help you better care for your lawn.