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Bare Lawn? Wear and Tear Repair

Posted in Garden Advice on November 10, 2016

Identify the Cause of Bare Patches 

Use the Kiwicare Lawn Problem Solver to identify the cause of the bare patches on your lawn. If you cannot identify the cause from the problem solver contact Kiwicare for advice.

Bare patches in your lawn can be caused by:

  • Physical/nutrient damage:

    • Wear and tear - You may find bare patches where there is high foot traffic, your kids play on the lawn, where furniture sits on the lawn, pets scrape the lawn, etc.
    • Soil compaction - Compacted lawn soils can cause water puddling, low water retention and low oxygen levels in the soil and prevent lawn grass roots penetrating or absorbing nutrients.
    • Pet urine - The urine of animals, particularly dogs, can be high in nitrogen which can kill the lawn grass.
  • pH imbalance:

    • Acidic soil - Acidic soil (low pH) can kill grasses and stop them from absorbing some nutrients.
    • Alkaline soil - Alkaline soil (high pH) can kill grasses and stop them from absorbing some nutrients.
  • Nutrient deficiency:

    • Nitrogen deficiency - Lawn grasses, like other plants, need nitrogen as an essential element in healthy growth. Nitrogen-deficient lawns will be pale and patchy and exhibit poor or uneven growth.
    • Phosphorous deficiency - Phosphorous is essential for the health of lawn grass. Slow growth, dead patches of lawn and burnt looking grass can be a symptom of low phosphorous levels.
    • Potassium deficiency - Potassium is essential for the healthy growth of lawn grasses. Symptoms of potassium deficiency include wilting and discolouration of grass leaves.
  • Insect damage:

    • Grass grub - Grass grubs eat the roots of grasses. The grass may lose vigour and die.
    • Porina caterpillar - Porina caterpillars live in tunnels in the lawn. At night they emerge onto the surface and eat the crowns of the grass.
    • Cutworm - Greasy cutworm damage a wide variety of plants including lawn grasses.
    • Wireworm - Wireworms are soil-dwelling insect larvae that damage the roots of grasses and tubers of vegetables and other plants.
  • Fungal disease:

    • Brown patch - Brown patch is a fungal disease of lawns causing small discoloured patches that grow to large patches of dead grass.
    • Red thread - Red thread infects the leaves of grasses causing irregular patches of dead or dying grass on lawns. The fringes of the dead patches may be red/pink in colour from the fungal spores.
    • Dollar spot - Dollar spot is a fungal disease of lawns that causes small brown 'dollar size' patches on lawns.

Solve the Problem

Having identified the problem it is important to solve the problem before you repair the patch. Each of the 'problem pages' will tell you how to change the conditions so that the problem does not recur.

Repair the Lawn

Having corrected the problem identified above you can now prepare the area for sowing new lawn seed to fill the bare patch and get full even lawn sward.

  • De-thatch the worn area to remove dead grass material. Rake the dead grass out in small areas or use a mechanical de-tahtcher for larger areas.
  • Aerate the soil - use a garden fork and insert the fork into the soil 10-15 cm and ease the fork back gently to open up the soil. Do this at 30 cm intervals across the lawn and particularly in the worn areas.
    Alternatively, you can use a mechanical lawn aerator (these are readily available for hire.
  • Level off the area. If necessary apply topsoil or media to fill depressions. Firm the soil down and rake lightly.
  • Water thoroughly to get the deep soil moist.
  • When the grass has dried apply LawnPro Lawn Thickener or LawnPro Smart Seed to the worn patches and water again gently.
  • Stay of the treated area of the lawn until the new seed has established; usually 6-8 weeks.

Then sit back and enjoy your lawn.

Looking for something specific? Contact us for more help.

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