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Lawn Bare Spot Seeding Questions

March 21, 2016

Here are answers to several questions to help you figure out how to fix bare spots in your lawn:

Q. Can I expect the bare spots in my lawn to fill in on their own or do I need to put down grass seed?

A. It depends upon the size of the bare spots.  If they are only a few inches across, these spots will eventually fill in themselves if you feed your lawn in early spring and again in late spring.  If there is a thick layer of matted tree leaves in the bare spot, raking will speed the process.

Q. Do I need to spade up the soil before seeding bare areas?

A. Spading or rototilling is usually not necessary for seeding bare spots in thin areas.  However, it is important that the soil be broken up to a depth of about one inch, so that your seed will have a lodging place where it can take root and grow.   This can be done with a sharp tool, such as a spade, edger, trowel, or hoe.  For example, I have used a spade to slice “tic tac toe” type grooves forming one inch squares prior to seeding bare spots.  In larger areas, a machine called a slit seeder, which cuts grooves in the soil and plants grass seed at the same time, can be rented.

Q. Do I need to mulch the seeded area with straw?

A. If you are seeding smaller bare spots that are just a few feet in size, the mulch in Scotts EZ Seed helps to keep your seed from drying out.  If the seeded area is a slope, mulching with straw will help hold the seed in place in case of hard rains.  Do not put straw down too heavy.  You should still be able to see about 50% of the soil when looking down through your straw mulch.

Scotts EZ Seed is a great way to fix bare spots as this 3 in 1 product contains seed, mulch and starter lawn food.

Scotts EZ Seed is a great way to fix bare spots as this 3 in 1 product contains seed, mulch and starter lawn food.

Q. Do I need to fertilize when I seed, or can I wait until after the new grass sprouts?

A. Your new grass will develop faster when you feed it.  Scotts EZ Seed includes a Starter Lawn Food.  If your seed does not contain a starter lawn food, feed with Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass when you plant.

Q. How do I keep weeds from sprouting where I am trying to grow grass seed?

A. Instead of using a regular starter lawn food, use a special weed preventer that will prevent weeds seeds, like crabgrass, from growing while allowing your new grass to sprout unharmed.  Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass plus Weed Preventer is especially designed for this purpose.

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  1. Hairy Bittercress has invaded the edges of my new lawn…they have emerged. Any suggestions that won’t harm the emerging new lawn…didn’t see this creeping nuisance in time?

    • Hi SwittersB
      If you have a Bluegrass, Fescue, Ryegrass, Zoysia, Buffalograss, or Bermuda lawn you can kill Hairy Bittercress with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. A couple of cautions: Your new grass should be at least a couple of inches tall, in fact if you have mowed a few times that is even better. If you have Bermuda, you may see some temporary discoloration. Check the label for specific treatment suggestions. Good Luck!

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