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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Lawn Renovation Tips

R. L. Rhodes
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Difficulty: Intermediate


Patches of grass die or thin out for a variety of reasons, but all is not lost. With a little work, some grass seed, and water, your lawn will be looking lovely in no time!

Tools & Materials:

It’s helpful to have an idea of what caused a problem before you get started. A common culprit is overgrown thatch, the matted down plant debris, like clippings, leaf pieces, or small twigs, found at the base of grass. Another culprit is having the wrong type of grass for your area. And of course, grass can die if the lawn hasn’t been watered or fertilized properly.

Whatever the cause, taking a couple of steps will get your lawn back on track. Just lightly break up the soil and spread the appropriate type of grass seed.


Soil can be loosened several ways. To renovate a small section of your lawn, use hand tools. In an area where the grass is completely dead, rake up and discard all the plant debris. Simply rake deep into the soil to loosen it, and you’re ready to spread the seed. If there are bare patches, just loosen the soil.

Removing thatch from your lawn protects your grass from disease, encourages proper air circulation, and allows water to penetrate into the soil. Power rakes, a useful tool for vigorously lifting thatch, can be rented. The process also creates areas of bare soil where new grass seed can make their start. Run the power rake over the area twice, in different directions, and remove all the debris.

Aerating your lawn can also help grass grow. Aerating equipment, like a core aerator, punches through the thatch and into the ground to extract small cores of soil which are then deposited on top of the lawn. This process will pep up your entire lawn because it improves a lawn’s ability to access water, improves airflow, and creates opportunities for new grass seed to thrive.


For seeding success, use quality seed that is right for your area, make sure the seed makes contact with the soil, and keep the area moist.

Grass seed is developed for many different purposes and regions. For areas that get more than 6 hours of sun a day, select a seed suitable for a sunny area. Similarly, seed developed for shady areas will perform better with less light. Choose a fast-growing variety to fill-in quickly. If drought caused your lawn to fail, try planting a more drought-tolerant variety.

When you’re ready to plant the grass, check the packaging for application rates. A spreader ensures that enough seed is planted while preventing waste. Walk the spreader through the area in two directions to seed evenly. It’s not necessary to cover the seed with soil. You can cover with a light layer of straw.

Proper watering is crucial. Seed must stay evenly moist to germinate. Daily watering is important for two to three weeks. In hot weather, twice daily watering is required.

With a little attention, bare patches and thin spots will be transformed into a lush lawn.

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