How To Fix Dry Patches In Your Lawn
Is your yard suffering from lawn dry patches? With summer underway and water restrictions in place, you may have noticed the toll the hot dry weather has taken on your lawn.
Even the healthiest of lawns can become thin, off-colour and develop dry spots over the summer months when the climate conditions deteriorate and homeowners are away on holidays.
One of the most common questions we get asked in regards to lawn care is about dry dead spots and patches in lawns, specifically what causes them and how to fix them.
If this is one of your lawn care concerns or you’re interested in learning how to avoid dry spots in your lawn, please read on.
What are the possible causes of dry spots in your grass?
Not all dry patches in your lawn are created by the same cause. Here are some common reasons you might be seeing these dead spots.
- Heat exposure, possibly combined with foot traffic and a lack of water absorption (tends to be larger areas exposed to direct sunlight e.g. 1-2m2)
- Dog urine (will be very localised and typically about 20cm across)
- Grub or pest damage (uneven shapes in varying sizes, often starting as localised to a few bad areas, but can spread quickly).
As this article is being published in the warmer season, we’re going to focus on the first cause and lawn care for dry spots.
How does a dry spot happen?
- Areas of the lawn thin out due to traffic, fungus or uneven water/filtration
- The thin areas change colour and become bare as they sit in the hot sun
- The sun bakes any bare patches which makes them rock hard
- The hard bare patches are then unable to absorb water or nutrients from the soil
It’s important to note that sometimes dry patches or spots are the results of fungi due to the residue it leaves on the thatch and soil. The residue is a water repellent and results in the grass and soil being unable to absorb water effectively.
To avoid getting lawn fungus, you should avoid watering in the late evening and night.
How to fix dry spots in your lawn
The good thing about most dry patches is that they’re easy enough to fix, you’ll just need some tools and products:
Step 1 – Aeration:
The first and most important step to fixing dry patches caused by heat and wear in your lawn is to aerate the affected area using either a garden fork, aerator sandals or a specialised aerator.The tools you choose to use will depend on what’s available to you and the size of your lawn. By aerating the area you’ll de-compact the soils which will help nutrients and water to penetrate the soil. Aeration is much easier after a good soak, so if your lawn is already dry, don’t try to aerate before the soil is softened up with deep watering.
Step 2 – Wetting Agent:
Wetting agents assist water to absorb into the soil. Once you’ve aerated the affected area, you should apply a wetting agent such as Lawn Soaker. Once the wetting agent has been applied, make sure to irrigate the area again thoroughly. Not only will a wetting agent assist with water-absorbing into your soil but it will allow the soil to hold the water in a usable manner for longer.
Step 3 – Stimulation
Now that your lawn’s been aerated, wet and irrigated, it’s time to stimulate new growth and allow it to self-repair. Stimulation is best achieved by applying an NPK fertiliser to the entire lawn and watering it again well to ensure the granules don’t sit on the lawn and potentially “burn” it.
It’s important to make sure that you always apply lawn care products at the label rate and follow the instructions.
How to avoid getting dry spots in your lawn
There are a few things you and your family can do to reduce the amount of dry and dead patches in your lawn. These include:
- Improving the soil prior to installing your turf
- Choosing a drought-tolerant grass variety
- Watering your lawn correctly. Deeper soakings less frequently will encourage deep roots. It’s best to do this at the first sign of heat or drought and then leave it until it starts to wilt before repeating the process.
- Increasing your mower height – longer lawns shade the soil more effectively, therefore, reducing evaporation and stress. Read our complete guide to mowing your lawn here.
- Scarifying/de-thatching your lawn to remove excess thatch and reduce the chance of fungi growing and spreading.
The other causes of dead spots
While hot and dry weather is usually the culprit for patchy lawns, there are a few other things that could be occurring that could be responsible for dead areas. These include:
Urine burns from pets
If you have a dog you may have noticed some discolouration in the areas where they urinate. This can be caused by levels of nitrogen present in their urine.
If you’re experiencing this problem we suggest getting some dog rocks to put in your dog’s water bowl as they claim to improve your lawn within 5 weeks of use.
Another common cause of brown patches in your lawn is pests. These can include Chafer Grubs and Leatherjackets. For more information on lawn pests, the symptoms and treatment options click here.
Now that you know the potential causes for lawn dry patches and how to fix them, it’s time to get to work. If you need to purchase the correct lawn care products, you should check out our product store otherwise if you can’t find what you’re looking for, Lawn Solutions Australia offers a wide range of products and tools to help keep your lawn looking its best. Visit the lawn solutions Australia online shop to view the full range.