How to a Patch a Dead Section of Lawn - dummies

How to a Patch a Dead Section of Lawn

By Lance Walheim, The National Gardening Association

Small dead spots are a fact of life for most lawn owners. A number of things can cause the spots, including spilled gas or fertilizer, insect damage, or dog urine. Whatever the cause, patching a dead spot is relatively easy.

In fact, there are several lawn patch kits available at most nurseries and garden centers. They usually combine grass seed with a biodegradable paper-like material that acts like a mulch and helps keep the new seed moist until it’s firmly rooted. You can also patch a lawn by just buying some seed or a piece of sod of the same type of grass.

Credit: “Ready to Grow!,” © 2009 warrenski, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license: 

Here are the basic steps to patching a lawn:

  1. Dig out the dead spot.

    Use a small shovel or spade to remove the dead grass. Remove everything right up to the edge of the healthy grass, taking an inch or two of soil.

  2. Water the spot.

    If you think a fertilizer spill caused the damage, flood the spot with water several times to leach out the material. Before you plant make sure you solve the problem that killed the grass in the first place.

  3. Amend the soil.

    Add a few inches of organic matter such as compost or leaf mold, and work it into the soil with the shovel.

  4. Level the soil.

    Smooth out the soil and level it with your hand or a rake. If you are going to reseed the spot, the soil should be level with the surrounding soil. If you use sod, the soil needs to be an inch or so lower, so the new sod will be level with the surrounding grass.

  5. Sprinkle seed over the spot.

    Make sure not to overdo it.

  6. Cover the seed with organic matter and water.

    If you plant sod, cut a piece the size of the patch and lay it in. Put a little organic matter around the edges to prevent them from drying out and water.

You need to treat the new patch just like a new lawn and that means watering at least once a day (more in hot weather) until the grass is established.