Fix Bald Spots in Your Lawn in 4 Easy Steps!
Nothing is more irksome than seeing a bald spot in your otherwise carefully manicured lawn. After all the time, effort, and money you put into your lawn, it’s almost insulting to see that brown patch of dirt sitting right in the middle of your beautiful green grass! Early fall is the perfect time to fix these problems areas and to fill in those bald patches with healthy, green grass.
Let’s get to it!
Step 1 – Identify the Cause
Figuring out why your lawn has bald spots is your first step in figuring out how to properly them. Many things can cause bald spots on your lawn, and certain problems require particular solutions. The most common offenders are:
- Foot traffic
- Insect Infestation
- Chemical Burn
- Unhealthy Soil
To figure out which of the issues is the cause of your lawns bald spots, investigate the area and use a process of elimination. If there are bald spots where people walk repeatedly, then foot traffic is likely the culprit. If it hasn’t rained in a while, then it’s likely that drought is to blame (but you already knew that).
If there are sections of your lawn that are full of broad leaf plants, weeds need to be dealt with. If your lawn appears chewed up in sections, has noticeable rings, you can see grubs or adult insects, then infestation is the cause.
If you recently applied a pesticide or are using chemicals within an area (gasoline for example), then you know you have a chemical issue in the grass and soil. Any other issues usually points toward a lawn disease, which may requires consulting an expert to figure out your next steps.
Step 2 – Get a Tailored Solution
Each issue is going to require a tailored cure, so let’s figure out what’s what.
Foot Traffic – You planted or inherited a lawn, cared for it, and people walked all over it. What’s up with that? Footpaths happen because people are walking in the same area, or the same path, repeatedly. These bald spots can take months of walking to show up but are very noticeable when they do. One solution is to create a natural stone walkway to encourage people to walk where you want them too, sparing your lawn. In fact, we have a blog all about creating a natural stone pathway right here!
Another solution is to reseed the bare area with Jonathan Green’s Black Beauty Heavy Traffic® seed, which grows deep roots and tough, durable turf grasses.
Drought – To properly care for your lawn in times of drought, do your best to water your lawn during regulated hours. If areas eventually go bald because of drought, reseed them with Jonathan Green’s Black Beauty Original®, which is their most drought tolerant blend for sun & shade lawn areas. It is specifically designed to grow well in clay or sandy soils.
Weeds – If weeds choked out your grass plants, then died off leaving bald spots, use a grass seed formulated for how much sunlight and traffic these bare areas receive. Next year, make sure that you apply Jonathan Green’s Crabgrass & Weed Preventer®. Another good option is to use Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra hose end sprayer. It covers 10,000 square foot and is an excellent option throughout the year to get rid of weeds in your lawn.
Insect Infestation – If your lawn has glaring bald spots thanks insects feeding on the roots of your lawn, get yourself some Jonathan Green Organic Insect Control®. It kills and repels over 100 types of insect pests with a patented blend of organic, all-natural plant oils – all while being perfectly safe to use around children and pets!
Chemical Burn – Over fertilizing is one of the quickest ways to kill your lawn. From general discoloration to those telltale stripes from overlapping spreader rows, excessive or careless fertilizing can cause quite a bit of damage to lawn grasses. If you can still see fertilizer granules on the lawn, get up as much of it as you can before it dissolves. Then water the affected areas to help dilute and flush away the fertilizer’s mineral salts. If the chemical burns result in bald spots, add some fresh garden soil and then use Jonathan Green’s Lawn Repair®, which is an all-in-one product that contains a balanced formula of grass seed, lawn food, soil food, and seed-protecting mulch.
Disease – If disease is your problem, you’re going to need a treatment unique to the disease. All diseases need to be handled differently, so please head to koopmanplants.com and fill out the form there for a tailored response. We’d love to help you get the right solution to your problem!
Unhealthy Soil: Maintaining a healthy pH level in your soil is the way to get the best out of your lawn. Bald spots can be the result of grass plants being unable to grow in soil with an inhospitable pH level. But Koopman can help! All you need to do is gather a sample of your dirt (a plastic cup of dirt does fine) and bring it to us! We can test your soil, determine its pH level, and let you know how to treat the affected area best.
Step 3 – Plant New Seed
Once you’ve determined your solution and executed a plan to get rid of the underlying cause, it’s time to seed. Late fall is the best time to seed a new area, but it can be done anytime in spring or fall while temperatures are cool, the atmosphere is moist, and the ground isn’t frozen.
Dig into the area to a depth of approximately 6 inches. This will break up any compacted soil and turn it over. (If the problem was caused by a spilled chemical such as gasoline or an herbicide, remove several inches of surface soil.)
Mix in some of Jonathan Green’s Love Your Soil® natural soil food. It improves soil quality and helps new grass seed get off to a good start. Carefully rake the soil to even it out and to ensure the bald spot will be even with the surrounding lawn.
Use a hand-held spreader to distribute the grass seed evenly across the area. The seed should be thick enough to cover the surface but not so thick that seeds pile on top of each other.
Add a new seeding fertilizer. Make sure that you DO NOT apply fertilizer that contains weed killer or pre-emergent crabgrass killer! They will prevent your new grass from growing. Lightly rake the Love Your Soil® soil food, grass seed and fertilizer to a depth of about ½ inch. Be careful not to rake away the seed fertilizer from its desired location.
(As an alternative to adding soil food, grass seed, and fertilizer and mixing them together, you can also use Jonathan Green’s Lawn Repair®.)
Finally, lightly water the area immediately.
Step 4 – Cultivate The New Grass
Once you have made the repairs, you’ll need to be sure to do the necessary upkeep to ensure your lawn grows properly.
At the outset, water three times a day for 7-10 days. Use a fine spray from a hose to avoid washing away any seed or soil. Once the grass starts growing, water once a day with a fine spray. By keeping the soil moist you make it easier for the roots to penetrate the ground.
Monitor the area closely during the first year, and if you see any problems cropping back up, investigate the area to see what the problem is.
If you take the steps outlined above, you’ll find that adding new grass seed to a bare spot is an easy way to prevent that bare spot from coming back year after year. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, or head on over to koopmanplants.com and ask us! We’d love to help you get your lawn back to tip-top shape. Thanks for reading!