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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Patch and Repair a Damaged Lawn

R. L. Rhodes
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Even if you take great care of your yard year-round, it can still show signs of damage due to everyday wear and tear, extreme weather conditions, pests and more. Particularly in the dead heat of summer, your lawn requires extra attention.

If your lawn is showing damage from one minor calamity or another, take heart. The following steps will restore your thin, weak or patchy lawn to health and vibrancy, no matter the time of year.

Tools & Materials:

Step 1: Determine the cause of damage

If your lawn has just a few troubled spots, then repairing those areas is all that’s necessary. First, determine the underlying cause of the damaged areas. For example, a lawn can become damaged due to heavy traffic, pet urine or dehydration. The table below provides examples of types of damages and how to treat or prevent them.

Common Problems of Lawn Damage
Problem Signs Treatment/Prevention
Heavy Traffic Thinning, worn-out grass Create a path for traffic
Pet Urine Brown spots Dilute the urine with water immediately
Dehydration Dying or dead grass Water infrequently but deeply
Pests Holes on leaf blades See our article on how to combat lawn pests
Disease White cotton-like mold and powdery spores Use fungicide on affected plants


Next, remove the area of any weeds or debris so you can prepare the soil for new seeds.

Step 2: Prepare the soil

If your lawn consists of more than a 1/2 inch of thatch (layer of dying or dead grass stems and clippings, roots and debris that builds up over a period of time), use a thatch rake or power rake to ensure it is successfully removed.

Step 3: Seed and fertilize

Once you’ve tended to the soil of the damaged areas, it’s time to sow seed. Either use the same grass type of your existing lawn, or a seed that adapts well to your region. Once you’ve spread the seed, follow with a starter fertilizer – preferably one that is high in phosphorous.

For information on which grass seed cultivars are best for your region, take a look at the latest data from the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program and choose your state from the menu.

Step 4: Rake and water

To ensure the seed is spread evenly and in close contact with the soil, rake the surface smooth. A new seedbed should remain moist until the roots develop; water regularly in the beginning, especially during the dead heat of summer. Keep in mind that your entire lawn needs approximately one inch of water every week. A rain gauge allows you to measure exactly how much rain your lawn receives on a weekly basis, so you can compensate with watering when necessary.


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