Now that August is here, our hot, dry summer should soon begin to wane. Rains will return and your lawn should green up. But what can you do if there are brown spots?
First of all, don’t panic over a few brown spots. Let the rest of the lawn green up completely. As the lawn rejuvenates itself, the smaller spots will probably fill in by themselves, and some of the larger spots may fill in by the natural spreading of grass plants.
Brown spots that remain after the grass has returned to its natural condition will have to be repaired. Before repairing, however, you may want to check to be sure the grass was killed by the drought and not grubs. To check for grubs, cut a 12-inch by 12-inch square of sod on each side of the bare spot and fold it back. If there are zero to six grubs present in any of the squares, the damage was probably caused by the dry weather. If there are seven or more, grubs probably caused the damage and should be treated before repairing the lawn.
Begin the repair by raking out all of the dead grass using a steel rake. Use the same rake to loosen the soil and rake it level. You can choose one of several methods for the next step – traditional seeding; sodding; or a mixture of mulch, fertilizer and seed that’s similar to hydroseeding.
To seed. buy a seed mixture that’s close in color and texture to your original grass. Spread seed and fertilizer in the prepared areas. With your iron rake, scratch the mixture into the soil, smooth it out and apply a spray of water. If the sun is hot, cover the freshly seeded area with burlap or straw.
To sod, cut a square that extends about an inch beyond the damaged area and remove the old sod. Dig out soil to the depth of the new sod. If you usually fertilize your lawn, or have it fertilized, spread some fertilizer in the prepared area. If you have compost, you can use that instead. Then, just lay the sod in place and walk on it so it makes good contact with the native soil. Finally, water the repaired area.
If you decide to use the repair kit containing seed, fertilizer and mulch, follow the directions on the package.
Whichever method you choose, you’ll have to keep the area well watered until the grass is established.
For those who don’t want to personally perform any of the repair tasks described above, our lawn care professionals can make the repairs for you.