What Causes Bald Spots in the Lawn?
Most bald spots are caused by animals. Often dog, cat and other animal urine is too acidic for the grass and burns it, turning it yellow then brown. Some bald spots are because of underground predator like moles, weasels, gophers or other pests that eat the roots of the grass as they tunnel below ground. Another reason for dead spots in your lawn is dryness from uneven watering caused by a broken sprinkler. Once you determine why you have bald spots, remedy the cause before working on restoring the bald spot. Trap rodents, fix sprinklers, and put up boundaries or use a deterrent to prevent animals from returning to the same area over and over.
Steps for Repairing Bald Spots in the Lawn.
- Add an alkaline substance to the soil if it has been damaged by acidic conditions like animal urine or pine needles. You can talk to someone at your local garden center to find out what works best for balancing your soil’s pH level. You will need a bag of lime to neutralize acid soil spots, compost to build soil nutrients, fertilizer to correct soil deficits, and a mixture of grass seed to match the various types of grass currently growing in your lawn.
- Once any animals have been prevented from returning to the area, you may need to fill holes and tunnels or spray a deterrent such as a citrus based deodorizer or even a homemade red pepper liquid spray to discourage animals from sniffing around.
- Inspect all sprinkler heads and piping to be sure nothing is damaged, then replace any necessary parts. Run the sprinkler cycle through to make sure the water is spraying evenly with no flood areas or dry spots.
- Since you will be working to repair your lawns bald spots, this is a great time to do some corrective work on the entire lawn while you are at it. Rake the lawn to remove any debris and dead materials in the lawn area. You will need some lawn products and some recommended equipment to care for your lawn:
- Lawnmower – set the blades to the exact height that your grass type grows best and becomes denser. For example: Rye Grass grows best, and thickest at 1-1/2 inches high. You want the lawn to be thick enough to keep weed seeds from germinating but not too think to allow water, nutrients and oxygen to get to the root system
- Product Broadcasters – used for evenly spreading lime, compost, fertilizer, and grass seed
- Rake and Thatcher – a rake has slim and flexible prongs, a thatcher is rigid with strong teeth to pull out brown, dead grass
- Core Aerator – Rotator with pluggers that dig out cores from the lawn so you can insert nutrients, water and new soil amendments.
- Mow your lawn to the proper height, too short will cause it to dry out too quickly.
- Use rake to clean out dead materials from bald spots, then de-thatch the entire lawn. Use a core aerator to dig plugs out of the lawn.
- Spread a generous amount of lime, then cover with compost in each spot. Use a broadcaster to spread a layer of compost over the entire lawn, getting it into the holes from the plugger.
- Add a layer of fertilizer, 9 – 3 – 4 is 9 parts nitrogen, 3 parts Phosphorus, and 4 parts Potassium.
- Rake materials into the lawn so it blends well.
- Fill broadcaster with mixed grass seeds. Make sure you hit all the bald spots first, then add seed to your lawn to thicken it. (5 lbs. per 1,00 square feet.
- Lightly rake the seed evenly into the soil, cover with a thin layer of topsoil. Lightly water twice a day, so soil is moist, do not flood it.