How to fix patchy grass

A lush, green lawn can make any garden a beautiful space. All homeowners with a yard want to have a thriving lawn but growing the perfect patch of grass can be tricky. Sometimes lawns can develop a patchy appearance where some of the grass refuses to grow or simply dies.

A lawn that is receding in certain areas or developing patchy dead spots could be the result of a number of problems. It is important to diagnose the issue properly so that you can take corrective steps and grow the lush lawn of your dreams.

Causes of patchy lawn

The most common reason for patchy grass is a lack of sunlight. The first areas of grass that begin to show signs of struggle will often be in the shade. However, some other potential causes of patchy lawn may include:

  • Lack of water
  • Too much water (causes roots to rot)
  • Too much fertiliser
  • Too much herbicide (or weedkiller)
  • Dog urine
  • Pests (eating the grass and its roots)

Keep an eye on the patchy lawn and try to figure out which of the above problems may be hindering growth. If the soil is dry and sandy, the grass is probably not getting enough water; if it is waterlogged, you are probably irrigating too much. Don’t use more fertiliser or herbicide than recommended on the packet or bottle. 

If your cat or dog is using the same patch of grass as a toilet, place a twine fence around the dying area to keep them out while the grass recovers. Look closely at the patch and see if there are any insects, ants, crickets or holes in the ground. You can also look to see if there are any birds pecking at the ground. If you see any of these telltale signs of pests, then use an environmentally-friendly insecticide to remove them.

How to fix patchy grass

The easiest way to fix a patchy lawn is to re-seed the ground to encourage new growth, or to transplant lawn from elsewhere in the garden. Water the seeds or transplanted grass once a day for 10 to 15 minutes until it starts to grow properly. If the dead patch is in the shade, but a variety of grass seed that prefers less sunlight – this is usually indicated on the box or packet of seeds.

Follow these tips to get your lawn back to its green state. Make sure that you identify the cause of dying grass before taking decisive action. It is important to know what is killing your lawn before planting new grass seeds for transplanting lawn from another area of your garden.


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