Summer brings many challenges to a lawn. Drought, weeds, wear and tear, shade, fertiliser spills, dog urine – the list goes on. If you find that your lawn is developing bald or thinning patches over the summer period, don’t worry, you can easily repair your lawn with grass seed.
There is a 3-stage plan to repair your lawn with grass seed
- Identify the cause of the damage and take remedial action
- Prepare the surface of the lawn for new seed
- Choose and order the right kind of grass seed
- Sow the seed and keep it well watered until it is growing strongly
First, identify and remedy the problem
No two lawns are the same and some will have more complex problems than others. But as a rule of thumb there are only a few reasons that the grass in your lawn may not be growing as strongly as you’d like.
Soil compaction is usually the result of a lawn being thoroughly enjoyed. Soil is a mixture of different minerals, organic material and air. When it’s walked on, played on, camped on etc, the air is squeezed out of the soil meaning that it’s harder for the plant roots to breathe and grow.
What you normally see is big spaces between the grass plants. Sometimes there is more space than grass. You might be able to see a distinct path where people or pets regularly take the same route across the lawn. Or you might see a bare area beneath a swing or between the goal posts.
If soil compaction is the problem it’s a good idea to sort it out before you repair your lawn with grass seed. Hollow tine aeration is what greenkeepers do on golf courses or sports fields.
When you aerate you’ll also help manage the drainage on your lawn.
Dog pee is infamous for causing brown patches on lawns.
Read more about managing lawns for dogs here https://www.stewartsturf.com/blog/best-turf-dogs/
Drought is rare in Scotland but in some areas it can be a problem. 2018 has challenged us with some very unusual weather indeed.
More often than not, a healthy lawn will become dormant in very dry weather. It will turn brown and look very sorry for itself but within days of a good rainfall, the grass will green up again.
Sometimes, the lawn doesn’t recover all that well in some areas. In which case, you can repair your lawn with grass seed once the weather is more conducive to grass growth.
Weeds can sometimes take over large areas of a lawn. It happens, particularly if the garden has been neglected for a while.
When the weeds are treated or removed, there will be exposed areas of soil. These must be re-seeded with grass as soon as possible – before another batch of weeds makes the most of the bare soil.
Shade is one of the biggest culprits for struggling lawns. Some grass species need a lot of sunlight to thrive. If you are growing a lawn in the shade of a tree or a building you might find that you need to repair your lawn with grass seed every couple of years.
Using a shade tolerant grass seed will help reduce the workload for you.
Next, prepare the soil surface
Grass seed needs to have a good seed bed to grow into. The baby plants will want to push their roots deep into the soil as soon as they can. The soil also needs to be stable enough to support the plant – you don’t want everything to wash away in the first heavy rain storm.
If your lawn soil is in good condition, you can just rough up the surface with a rake. If the soil is compacted, aerate first.
Choose your grass seed wisely
Be sure to use the right type of grass seed for your lawn. If it gets lots of useage, a dwarf ryegrass species is a must. It’s hardwearing and easy to care for.
If your lawn is in shade for part of the day, consider using Shadesman seed from our sister-company Turfonline. It’s slightly more costly than standard seed mixes but your lawn will thank you for it. And you won’t be doing so many renovations so often.
For a fine lawn, like a bowling green or an ornamental lawn, ryegrass may be too coarse. Choose a rye-free grass seed.
Sow the seed
Many gardeners fall into the trap of sowing grass seed too thickly. That means that when the seeds germinate the young plants will be very close together and will have to compete for their share of daylight and nutrients. That tends to produce weaker plants, some of which inevitably die.
For completely bare soil, sow grass seed at around 3 g of seed per square metre
For thinning lawns where there are some plants, sow the grass seed at 1.5 g per square metre.
Simply sprinkle on the surface of the soil and rake very lightly. No need to cover the seed completely. Water it well and keep the soil moist until the seeds have germinated and plants are growing strongly.