Bald Spots are inevitable if living in Tennessee long enough. The seasons are extremely unpredictable and lawn pests can do a number on lawns. Even those who have wonderful lawn management routines in place can still be suseptible! So what to do about those irritating bald spots? With a little planning and elbow grease, we have an easy step-by-step guide to get your grass back!
Why are there bald spots in my lawn?
Before you take measures to grow new grass, take some time to figure out why there's a bald spot in the first place. Do you have evidence of winterkill? Is there an insect problem? Is the spot due to kids games (does little Johnny play quarterback from the same spot)? Has Rover been leaving his calling card? Whatever the cause, make sure it is addressed and corrected before laying sod or planting new seeds. Otherwise, the new grass will have the same fate as the old.
To seed or not to seed.
The question now is whether to seed or lay new sod. This might be answered by the size of the bald area or the time of year. If small enough, sod can be a great quick fix. If too costly to sod, seeding the spot is the solution but it will take patience and TLC to see the end result. Now that we're almost to summer, seeding will be risky. Seeds need time to grow before the summer scorch comes! The fragile seedlings will dry out and be damaged if too hot. You can still seed now, but the optimum time for seeding is early spring or in the fall.
But for this article, we're going to assume that the bald spot in your lawn is a rather large area and you've choosen to remedy it by seeding.
Steps to Repair the Bald Spot
#1 - Spread compost or top soil using a hard rake over the bald area. The new layer should be about one-half-inch thick. Dig down into the dirt a bit to mix the new soil in with the current dirt. You can spread seeds directly over the bald area, but the seeds will sprout much quicker if growing in loose, fresh soil.
#2 - Use a hand spreader or sprinkle grass seed thickly and evenly over the area overlapping the edges a bit.
#3 - Sprinkle Straw (this can be wheat straw that's purchased at your local garden center or you can also use pine straw if you have it on-hand) over the newly seeded area. There are two benefits here- the straw keeps the birds from eating the seeds and it will help the seeds stay moist while sprouting.
#4 - The grass seeds must stay moist until they sprout. Water the newly seeded area twice a day for about ten minutes each time until the grass is about an inch tall. The new grass is very fragile, so do not mow and limit foot traffic on the area for two months.
#5 - Watch your new grass grow!