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The Lawn Guide
Lawn Care - Bare Patches
A bare patch caused by excessive shade

Bare or Dead Lawn Patches

Discovering bare or dead patches in our lawns can be annoying, especially when the signs of what is causing the problem are elusive. With so many possible causes, we'll try to tackle each of the most obvious causes here.


Dry Lawn Patches

The first culprit to look for is if there is a dry patch where the bare or dead patch is appearing in the lawn. If a dry patch is found, then lack of water is the culprit, and here's how to investigate if this is the cause:

  • Dig a spade directly downward into the affected lawn area, then move the spade back and forward to open up a section of visible soil underneath the turf, looking for signs of dryness.
  • Next turn on the reticulation, walk around the lawn area, looking for any sprinklers not spraying correctly, especially around the bare patch. Any sprinklers not spraying should be removed from the ground, disassembled, cleaned, and reinstalled. If cleaning doesn't work, replace the lawn sprinkler with a new one.
  • Other times, sprinklers can steer off course over time, to remedy this, hold the pop-up head of the sprinkler while it is spraying and simply turn it around to reach its target area.
  • Sometimes dry patches can occur naturally over time, to remedy this, use a garden fork to make some nice open holes in the turf in the affected area, followed by an application of Wetting Agents over the entire lawn, with more attention paid to the affected area. Water the affected area very well with a hose, followed by giving the entire lawn a watering afterward.


Lawn Diseases

Patchy Lawn

The next possible cause is lawn disease. Lets look at possible types of diseases that could be causing the problem.

  • Spring Dead Spot will appear as dinner plate circles of dying patches in the lawn, it is most noticeable in Spring and early Summer, if these circles are seen at this time of year, then this could be an obvious cause.
  • Dollar Spot is similar to Spring Dead Spot, however the circles will appear as small circles about the size of a dollar coin. Dollar Spot usually appears around any of the warmer months of the year.
  • Brown Patch is another circle of dying grass, initially they can start as dinner plate size, but enlarge to very large dead or dying patches. This problem can be evident around any of the warmer months of the year.
  • Fairy Rings are rings of mushrooms that appear to be encompassing a vigorous circle of thriving lawn, surrounded by a circle of dying grass.


Other Causes Of Bare Lawn Patches

  • Lawn Scalping is often a cause for dead patches in the lawn, it occurs when too much leaf material was removed during mowing, usually due to infrequent lawn mowing which raises the crowns of the lawn, and once the crowns are damaged or removed, the affected lawn area may die off.
  • Lack Of Sunlight can be noticed by excessive amount of shade covering the affected area for the majority of the day. Solutions include heavy pruning of surrounding foliage to allow more sunlight onto the lawn, or to reassess the suitability of the turf variety for the area, or if lawn should be in the shaded area at all.
  • Compacted Soil causes poor water flow, and poor oxygen levels in the soil, as well as being difficult for the lawn to set down adequate roots. The best solution is to lawn core the area.
  • Poor Soil Drainage can be caused by excessive build up of organic matter in the soil, soil compaction, or poor soil quality. Lawn coring may be the first place to start, but vertimowing may also be looked at, or even reassessing the suitability of lawn for the affected area
  • Excessive Thatching is evident after mowing where the above ground runners are left bare, stripping away most of the green leaf. Vertimowing is the best solution for this problem, followed by a more regular mowing frequency to reduce the rapid occurrence of the problem again.




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