How to Repair a Bare Patch of Lawn

Three Parts:Finding the source of the problemRemedying the soil problemAllowing for recovery

Bare patches can be a nuisance and usually let the garden down. But there are certain tricks that can be useful in these circumstances. From shade to compaction, there is a solution for most bare patches. This article provides some suggestions for repairing a bare patch of lawn.

Part 1
Finding the source of the problem

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    Test to see if compaction is the problem. Stamp your foot hard onto the soil of the patch. If it feels hard on contact, you have a problem with compaction. This means that you will need to consider what is causing the compaction so that it does not reoccur after mending the bare patch.

Part 2
Remedying the soil problem

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    Use a rake to clean the bald spots. Remove the dried up grasses. Clean up all the spots where the grass is already dried.
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    Dig over the soil in the bare patch to loosen it. This is best done with a garden fork.
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    Apply the lime on the cleaned up areas. You can use as much lime as you want. The lime will help bring the acid level down so the grass can grow. Lime is safe to use as it will not burn the grass.


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    Cover the area with thin amount of grass seed. Don’t use too much grass seed. Make sure that you are using the right type of grass seed for the region you are in.
    • If you’ve spread a little too much of the seed, just even it out by mixing with the soil.
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    Sprinkle a layer of topsoil or add a layer of straw over the grass seed, barely covering it so you still see some of the seeds. Covering the seeds with a little amount of soil or a layer of straw will help hold moisture and warmth and also protect the seeds from being eaten by birds.
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    Turn on the sprinklers or water the area thoroughly. Water daily and keep people and animal from getting into the area while the grass germinates and starts to grow.

Using existing runners

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    Take some runners from a healthy part of the lawn. Plant these into the dug-up soil of the bare patch. Keep well watered once you've shifted the runners into place.

Part 3
Allowing for recovery

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    Fence off the repaired patch. People and any heavy animals such as horses need to be kept off the repaired patch. Leave the roping off for a while to give the patch time to recover. Continue to keep it well watered but don't fertilise it.
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    Consider other options. Here are some thoughts on what else will allow for recovery:
    • If the problem is high traffic, it is likely that the bare patch will return whatever you do. This means that you will need to consider ways to reroute foot traffic or use objects such as stepping stones to concentrate the foot traffic to one spot only and to discourage stepping on the lawn itself.
    • If shade is the problem, select a shade-happy variety of lawn unless the shade is constant and always cold, in which case, you might consider paving the area instead, as no lawn likes constant shade.
    • If it is poultry, create an area of the garden just for them, to keep them from tearing up the lawn to get at grubs and make dust baths. And if Fido keeps lying on the same spot, rubbing in the dirt, it's time to shift Fido to his own spot in the yard too.
    • If it is lawn grubs, treat the problem and have them removed. There are non-chemical possibilities; ask at an informed garden centre about the options.


  • Use a rotary hoe (hire one) if you want to lay new turf over a large area. Since turf is not cheap, however, it pays to find out why the bare patch occurred in the first place or you might be throwing away good money.
  • Large patches of compacted soil can be dug up using a soil aerator; hire one from your local garden centre or hardware store.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawn runners or lawn seed
  • Rope, stakes etc. to rope off lawn
  • Stepping stones (optional)
  • Water

Article Info

Categories: Lawn Care