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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Pacocha


Updated: Nov 22, 2021

Over time, a lawn can become stressed and lose its density. Whether the past lawn decline was caused from over-whelming summer heat, a large uncontrolled population of turf feeding insects (at surface or soil dwelling) or just a lack of water, most lawns will need to be repaired to fully recover from previous stress experienced.

It is our professional opinion that a thorough on-site evaluation be performed first, before deciding on a final lawn repair/restoration plan. One should adequately scrutinize a stressed stand of grass and it's surrounding environment, to take in the whole story, finding the actual cause(s) of grass plant failure.

Here are the top 5 lawn repair mistakes to avoid when creating your lawn restoration plan.

1). Rush to Total Lawn Replacement: Premium grass seed can be successfully planted to fully recover select/targeted lost lawn areas (only) in lieu of entire lawn being replaced. Consider select/targeted grass seed planting for a "visually seamless" lawn repair!

Lawn renovation services performed to recover lost lawn density.
Front Yard Lawn Renovation Completed (including core aeration, additional top soil, premium grass seed planting, granular starter fertilizer application and peat moss covering)

2). Just Sprinkle Some "Quick-Grow" Grass Seed and Call it a Day: Just so many "quick fixes" being marketed today in the grass seed arena, so many in fact, it's difficult to keep track of them all. Some of the hype you have undoubtedly heard says; "just sprinkle the special pre-formulated seed blend atop your bare spot, water it in, and that's it, you are all set!" In my experience, that is nonsense! First off, we need to get in the habit of reading/scrutinizing a commercial seed label. You need to see for yourself and understand what is included in that bag of seed you have in your hand, see what you are paying for. Next, we need to educate ourselves on the available cool-season perennial turfgrass varieties available. Once you figure out which grass varieties will do well on your site, based on your exact environmental conditions, intended site-use, etc., you can find the perfect blend of premium perennial grass seed. All the while, staying clear of annual grass seed, high percentages of weed seed and other inert matter (whenever possible).

John Deere Landscapes - Teammates Plus Athletic Grass seed mixture
Example of Premium Grass Seed Label - Lesco Team Mates Plus Athletic Mixture

3). Skipping Soil Preparation: Some of the steps required when repairing a lawn, just can't be skipped. Adequate soil preparation is one of those things. Seriously though, soil preparation needs to be performed when planting grass seed in small and/or large areas. Some of the various forms of soil preparation can include, but not limited to: mechanical tilling/cultivation of soil, manual cultivation, addition of soil amendments (compost, peat moss, screened top soil, etc.), addition of high phosphorus starter-fertilizer, removal of foreign/undesirable buried material found (tree stumps, roots, construction debris, rock, heavy clay, etc.), raising/lowering of existing soil grade levels to best improve on-site drainage and to promote long term grass plant health.

Roto-tilling of existing soil before amendments added and new grass planted
Roto-tilling of existing soil completed before new grass planted

4). Installing Sod, Instead of First Considering Planting Site-Specific Premium Grass Seed: Any one that has taken the time to speak to me about lawn establishment and repair knows where I stand on this topic. For me, sod is not my go-to material for new lawns and repair. I am a grass seed kind of guy! So many long term benefits of planting grass seed (over sod) that are hard to deny. Of course, when speed of outcome is required, total or partial lawn replacement by sod (instead of seed) is the only way to quickly satisfy such a demand. However, the reality is, grass grows and establishes its deep roots, slowly, over time.

5). Not Considering and Correcting Original Cause(s) of Turfgrass Density Losses: Start by looking at the soil and any/all grass plants remaining. What type of grass is still standing? See any moss growing in the area? Any signs of disease (past or present)? Look at the physical use of the troubled area. Can you consider the area high traffic or has it been barely walked upon? How about light exposure? We need a good 4 hours of sun light per day to grow most cool-season grasses successfully. Is the soil very wet? If yes, is it always wet or just after a heavy rain? Consider improving soil to allow for improved water percolation (core aeration, amend soil with compost or sand, etc.) or devise a plan to route excess water away to an alternate location before repairing lawn areas. Previous grub or sod webworm damage found? If so, when did that likely occur? For long term planning sake, prevention is always preferred over taking reactionary/curative measures in regard to controlling insect infestations (routine site monitoring is key).

Sod Webworm stressed lawn area (waste castings found)
Evidence of previous Sod Webworm grass feeding (waste pellets/castings found at soil surface)

Our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services loves a beautiful lawn and we can help you attain one of your own in a relatively short period of time. Please be sure to contact us to learn more about our lawn care services, seasonal maintenance and other lawn renovation related services. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you nothing but the best!

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