How To Plant Grass Seed In Bare Spots

planting grass seed

Even the most meticulous lawns will occasionally develop bare spots. It’s important to know why and what to do if you find these spots appearing in your lawn.

It’s important to be able to diagnose these spots so that you know how to best treat them when you find them. Some spots can appear and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. For instance, unless you catch a neighbor’s dog, cat, or other wild animal urinating on your lawn there’s not much you can do about it.

It would be nice if that was the only cause we had to deal with. The truth is, there are actually many different causes and the treatment varies.

Fertilizer Burn

Fertilizer contains Nitrogen, which can potentially burn out your vegetation. This will be the case if you inadvertently spill or apply too much in one area. The solution here is to quickly apply water in an attempt to wash away the nitrogen and prevent it from burning your lawn.

Salt Burn

If you’ve had a particularly cold winter, or you live in a northern area where snow and ice are the norm, the substances applied to roadways to prevent dangerous conditions will absolutely damage a lawn. The hopes here are that since the grass lies dormant during this time, it will be able to repair itself in the spring. If it doesn’t, you will most likely need to re-seed the area.

Grubs/Pests Below Surface

Grubs are the larva stage of many different types of beetles. An infestation will result in the grubs devouring the roots of your grass. Ultimately, if the grubs are causing dead spots, your lawn is unable to fend off the amount that has accumulated below its surface and you will have to intervene.

The grass is able to fend off a grub infestation, to a certain extent, and once conditions are beyond that you’ll notice the dead spots. The best thing to do is address the grub infestation and re-seed the bare, dead spots or re-sod the areas.

Fungal Infections

That’s right, a lawn, just like Uncle Ted’s toes, can develop a fungal infection. The fungal infection on your lawn will manifest as a fine white webbing covering and killing the grass. These are common and usually brought on by temporary environmental circumstances.

Normal lawn care procedures such as watering and mowing should alleviate these fungal infections requiring no further treatment.  Should the issue persist, consult your landscaping company. These solutions should not be invoked on an attempt to get rid of Uncle Ted’s toe fungi.

Chemical Spills

In this case, mother nature gets the day off and it’s our turn to see what we can screw up. In all seriousness, just like the fertilizer burn, a momentary lapse in attention or a misread instruction set can lead us to spill one chemical or another and damage the lawn.

Even some lawn-safe chemicals can damage grass if you spill the concentrated formula directly on the grass. Prevention is the solution here, be careful with any type of chemical near your lawn and try to do your mixing and refueling on the sidewalk or patio area if one is available.

Other Causes

Dead or bare spots can be caused by a period of particularly heavy traffic in one area and improper sprinkler placement leading to over or under watering. Maybe after you planted a particular area, the grass seed was washed away the first time you watered or some birds advantageously took the opportunity to have a small feast on your dime.

The list can go on and on and might not ever include what particularly happened in your yard as most plants are very vulnerable to just about everything else, especially before they’ve been established. Sometimes the culprit is long gone and the most appropriate thing to do is move forward, having no problem to diagnose or find a solution to.

Repairing A Bare or Dead Spot

No matter the cause of your unsightly yard blemish, here is the process of reseeding the area and is the final steps in handling all the above mentioned problems:

  1. Using a rake or a tiller in a big bare spot, break up the soil and remove any rocks.
  2. Spread seed throughout the bare area according to package instructions
  3. Cover the area with potting soil, approximately 3X the amount of seed used.
  4. Water the area gently until the ground is saturated, being careful to avoid puddling.
  5. Continue to saturate the area daily until the grass is approximately 2-3” tall
  6. Avoid mowing until the grass has been established.

Learn more about Over-Seeding here.

Final Thoughts

Taking the time to give your grass a hand can make the difference in your lawn reflecting poorly on you as a negligent home-owner or proudly declaring you as the king of the neighborhood with your beautiful, lush, envious lawn. Details require attention and details ultimately add up to the bigger picture, so take the time to follow those easy steps and finish out the summer as the king of your castle and your lawn!

Your Guide to Choosing New Sod Grass

zoysia sod pallets

zoysia sod palletsThere are several things to consider when it comes to choosing the right turf grass for your sod installation project.

What is the soil type in your region? How much rainfall do you get? How much shade coverage does your yard have, and is it consistent from one area to the next? What about the mowing and fertilizing schedules?

These are all good questions to ask yourself, and your local lawn care experts, in order to guarantee that you make the right decision.

Soil Types

The characteristics of your topsoil have everything to do with where you live, and what that land was like before it got settled. In a state as large as Texas, we’ve got deserts, plains, beaches, forests, and even the limestone-rich hill country.

Based on where you are, your soil could have an abundance of clay, sand, or various other minerals. This directly affects what can or cannot grow naturally in the region. Here in North Texas, our soil is naturally rich in clay, which isn’t always ideal for healthy grass.

Many landscaping companies will offer soil amendments and topdressings to enrich the earth before planting seeds or laying sod. Get a professional to perform a soil test, so you know whether your lot will need any special preparations.


Most Texas grasses require about 1 inch per week of watering, but there is some variation between popular breeds.  Check the watering guidelines by grass type.

The rainfall your area receives should certainly be counted toward this measurement, especially in regions where watering restrictions are common. If you’re not sure how much rain your area gets on a monthly or seasonal basis, purchase a rain gauge and check your almanac for annual trends.

The most commonly used sod grasses in Texas are relatively drought tolerant, but some are more so than others. If you want to be mindful of your monthly water bill, be sure you choose a turf that can go awhile without irrigation. Best Grass For North Texas has some helpful information on this topic.

Shade Coverage

Some grass types will only thrive in full sun, while others languish if they don’t get a moderate amount of shade. Of course any yard will receive some shade, during the times when the house itself casts a shadow due to the position of the sun. But yards and neighborhoods with mature trees, and with homes built close to each other, are more likely to have shadier yards.

“Full sun” refers to at least 6 hours per day of direct sun exposure. “Partial shade” is when the ground receives 3 to 6 hours of direct sunlight. “Dappled shade” is when the sun is shining through a solid object in a speckled or indirect fashion, such as it would through a trellis or through the leaves of a tree. Finally, “full shade” is when there is little to no direct sunlight at any point in the day.

Survey your yard, and determine which of these is the most accurate description for the majority of the ground. This information will help you choose a grass type that will best tolerate your lot’s shade coverage.

Mowing and Fertilizing

Most Texas grasses do well at about 2 inches in height, with an occasional application of nitrogen-rich fertilizer. However, some grasses need more nitrogen than others, which can potentially increase the cost of maintaining your yard. Likewise, some grasses grow more quickly, or do better at a shorter length.

With these, you may find yourself needing to mow and/or fertilize more often. If you are a lawn enthusiast who doesn’t mind the extra work, these factors won’t be an issue. But if you need a low-maintenance lawn that’s mostly self-sufficient, this will influence the type of sod grass you choose for your property.

For choosing new sod in Texas, check the best 3 grass types.