Many factors, such as insects, disease, and weeds, can contribute to thin or bare patches in an otherwise healthy lawn. Once you or American Tree Maintenance have determined the cause and treated the problem, you want to make sure your fill-in strategy will be successful. Here are the recommendations of American Tree Maintenance.
To fill in an existing lawn, choose grass seed that is the same type as the grass already growing. Grasses that do best in the Southern United States are know as “warm season grasses” because they tolerate summer’s higher temperatures. In fact, they grow best during summer when air temperatures remain above 65 to 70 F at night. The most common warm season grasses include Bermudagrass and to a lesser extent, Zoysiagrass and Centipedegrass. Being tropical or subtropical in origin, these grasses also benefit from relatively high rainfall.
Rake bare spots to remove thatch and dead debris, and to loosen the soil surface to a one-inch depth. Spread seed over the soil surface and gently press the seed into the soil. Grass seed needs to stay in contact with the soil to germinate and establish a root system. Lightly cover with straw or seeding mulch to encourage rapid seed germination. You may also use a seed patch kit. Remember that there are no shade loving turf grasses.
Watering is Key
Once you’ve sown your new seed, water lightly until the soil is moist, but not too wet.
Over the next few weeks, you’ll need to be diligent about watering, especially if rain is in short supply. You don’t want to flood the seed, but never let the seedbed dry out.
Thick Thatch Solution
Spreading grass seed over an established lawn with a thatch layer normally results in wasted seed and effort. You’ll achieve better results with slit seeding, using a special machine to cut slits in the soil and sowing turfgrass directly into the slits.
Skip Weed Preventer
Do not apply pre-emergents to newly seeded areas of your lawn, because it will interfere with seed germination.
Laying sod of the same type produces more immediate results. Prepare the soil as if you were planting seed. Position the sod in the desired area, and roll or pack it so as to tightly connect it to the underlying soil, then water as needed to encourage deep root growth.