There are lots of different reasons for parts of your lawn to go bald – and very few of them are down to poor lawn care.
Wear and tear is the most common reason, closely followed by shade then pet urine and occasionally pests and diseases. Repairs are usually easy and rarely is there any need to replace the whole lawn.
Let’s take a look………….
When wear and tear causes thin or bald patches
Personally I think this is a good thing. It means your lawn has been thoroughly enjoyed. But how to fix it?
Frequent traffic usually results in the soil beneath your lawn becoming compacted and that’s what causes problems for the grass plants.
For a long-term fix-it you could think about putting stepping stones down in high-wear areas like grass paths or your route to the linen line. If your lawn is used for football and the like – think about moving the goal posts every week or so. If the dog is to blame, try to encourage him/her to let off steam in another way or in a different part of the garden.
In the short-medium time you need to fix the compaction before you can repair the bald bits.
Start by aerating the area. Preferably by removing small plugs of lawn to create air-holes. A tool like this one is invaluable for aerating small areas and can be picked up from DIY stores or garden centres.
Next scarify – raking out all dead bits of grass, roots, leaves, moss etc and really loosening up that top layer of soil. If it’s really hard, use a hand-fork to break the surface up.
Brush some top-dressing soil into the aeration holes if you can still see them.
Level the area with your rake and sprinkle on some grass seed. Water it well and keep it moist until the seeds have germinated and your new grass is growing strongly.
It’s a good idea to avoid walking on the area until the grass is good and robust
When your lawn is struggling in the shade
First things first – can you fix the cause of the problems? Thinning out trees and shrubs to let in more light will make your lawn much happier. But if the problem is causedby a fence or a building, it’s not so simple.
Number one job is to rake out any debris and loosen the soil just as you would if the problems were caused by general wear and tear.
Then overseed using a shade tolerant grass seed like this one: Shadesman grass seed Keep watered until the grass plants are growing strongly.
Now you need to think about ongoing maintenance.
If your lawn is in shade for more than half of the day,
Don’t cut it too short. 5cm really is the minimum length you should be aiming for.
Keep it well fed all year round
Avoid subjecting it to heavy use
Be kind to the plants.
If pet urine has scorched your lawn
I find the best product for sorting out the many bald bits that appear in my lawn is this “patch magic”. Just follow the instructions on the packet. It couldn’t be simpler!
The good news is that most lawns will recover quickly from fungal diseases or from pest infestations. You won’t need to do a thing except keep up to date with the feeding and mowing.
The bad news is that a really severe infestation of leatherjackets or chafer grubs will decimate your lawn.
If you’re noticing bald patches in your lawn – and they seem to be spreading – the chances are there are critters involved.
The first thing you need to do is find and identify them. Once you know what you’re dealing with, a swift visit to the garden centre will help you to find a solution.