It’s the worst. You step outside to enjoy the beauty of your backyard, and bam — a grassless, bald patch in the middle of your lawn. This can be caused by a whole host of potential culprits, and figuring out how to regrow grass in that bald spot may involve doing some investigative work. And once you figure it out, you can take the next steps to find and spread some grass seed to fill the spot back in.
What killed your grass?
Before you go about fixing the spot, you should be sure the cause of the problem is under control so it doesn’t just immediately happen again. Some common issues include grubs under the surface eating the grass’s roots, a neighborhood animal (pet or otherwise) urinating on that particular spot, fungi and even using too much fertilizer. Once you’ve caught the grub or dog or other culprit, it’s time to get to work on repairing the damage.
In Indiana, we use almost exclusively cool-season grasses, like fescues and ryegrass. You will want to identify exactly which grass type you have before going out and getting the seed. Once that is done, make sure you prepare the spot a bit with some aeration if it is too compact. Overly compacted soil may have even contributed to the original problem. A plug aerator is preferred over a spike or slice aerator.
Now you have to determine the best time to plant. For cool season grasses in Indiana, you’ll want to plant them in the very late summer to early fall. This ensures that the hottest times of the year are done and the seedling has some good time to put down roots before the frost and without wasting much time on above-ground growth. Early September is perfect.
How to spread the grass seed
Once you know the right grass seed to buy, know what time to plant it and have it purchased and ready to go, you’ll need to spread the seed. If you have just a small bald spot to cover, you can likely spread it by hand. But if it’s a larger area, there are seed spreaders that you can buy at any garden center. They will make the job easier and will spread the seed much more evenly than throwing handfuls here and there.
Some people then cover the grass seed with hay or straw. But make sure you realize that these two are very different. Hay is made from a variety of dried plants from a field, usually to feed cows. Because there are a lot of different plants, hay is often full of seeds, so you can easily introduce weeds into your yard by using hay. Straw on the other hand tends to come from wheat fields where weeds have been excluded, making it much less likely to cause issues. Don’t use too much hay and smother your seeds, but make sure you can still see a bit of ground.
More questions on spreading grass seed? Call Anthony’s
If you live in the greater Bloomington, Indiana, area, Anthony’s can help you reseed your lawn to bring a fuller look to your yard or to fill in those bald spots. Call us at (812) 345-5694 to learn more.