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How to Patch Your Lawn

by Barb Hopkins

Bare spots can make your lawn look unattractive and unkempt. A missing lawn patch also may indicate soil problems. Fortunately, bare spots can be repaired without having to call in a commercial lawn service. How to fix your lawn to rid it of unsightly bare patches is as easy as following a few simple steps.

 How to Patch Your Lawn

Determine cause of bare spot

If you can determine the cause of the bare lawn patches, you can work prevent the problem from reoccurring after the lawn has been repaired. Bare spots may be caused by the following:

  • Compaction or heavy foot traffic
  • Animal urine
  • Exposure to fuels such as spilled gasoline or kerosene
  • Insufficient nutrient levels in the lawn’s soil
  • Too much lime or acidity in the soil
  • Over-watering and under-watering the lawn

How to repair your lawn: Preparation

Before you can either seed or sod a bare patch of lawn, the area needs to be prepared. Begin by raking the area to remove any dead grass and debris. A regular leaf rake will work fine, or opt for a level head rake such as the Jackson J-450 from Before adding seed or sod, loosen the soil in the bare patch using a spading fork.

If you think the lawn’s bare patch is a result of poor soil quality, consider testing the pH of that area with a home testing kit. Before spreading seed or laying a patch of sod, consider adding about 3 inches of compost or topsoil to the raked, loosened area. Be sure to smooth the prepared area to ensure it is level with the surrounding grassy area.

Seed or sod?

Laying down sod to repair a bare area allows for “rapid establishment and relatively weed-free” maintenance in the beginning, states University of Minnesota extension office. However, sod can be expensive and you may have fewer grass varieties available for selection. Sod comes in sheets and is living grass, so it must be kept watered before you lay at the bare patch.How to Patch Your Lawn - Grass Seed

Grass seed is readily available at most retail lawn and garden departments. Kmart and offer a wide selection of grass seed from supplies such as Scotts, Amturf and Pennington. Before seeding, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions, following recommendations in order to develop healthy grass for your bare patch.

Lawn patch kits

You may opt for a lawn patch product such as Safer Brand Magic Start Grass Patch, which has seed, mulch and fertilizer in the kit. Scotts PatchMaster® is another option. Both lawn patch kits can be found at


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