You’re undoubtedly eager to get rid of any bare spots on your lawn. However, depending on the grass type, the procedure you should use to fill up bare patches differs.
Many homeowners question if the grass will naturally spread when they notice bare spots appear or if they must spend time and money repairing and re-seeding their lawn. It is debatable. Grass with rhizomes expands laterally to fix bare spots by itself and naturally.
Grass that spreads via Stolons or the above-ground runners can spread much easier. All you need is patience to avoid more damage to that region, and if you have these sorts of grass, the bare places will eventually grow on their own.
Other clump-forming types of grass won’t spread and fill in such bare spots if you have turf disease or excessive amounts of weeds in the ground. If you have this type of lawn grass, you’ll need to fill bare spots with compost and grass. In our guide, you can learn whether grass will fill in bare spots on its own or if you need to intervene to fill in these bald patches.
By the end, you’ll see, will grass spread on its own based on the type of grass and more. One thing for sure, you can end up with a beautiful lawn after fixing any turf diseases, or the bare patch was caused by human error. (Learn How Long Does It Take For Grass Seeds To Grow)
Can I Just Throw Grass Seed On Bare Spots?
Some lawns can re-seed themselves, creating a fantastic lawn with new plants. Under ideal conditions, each type of grass will thrive and re-seed. For grass to re-seed, it needs moisture, sunlight, and a warm environment.
When all the variables are in place, lawns grow tall and generate additional blades, which lead to flowering and seeds. In most lawn grass, male and female flowers are found on the same plant. Pollen from lawn grass is typically spread by wind and bees.
Much like, you can throw grass seeds on bare spots, yet while they can grow, there is much more to know than just doing this. For example, patch diseases won’t be cured by spreading grass seeds or spilled weed killer. You can also find the grass type and birds eating the seeds are other reasons your dead spot doesn’t get covered.
Here are a few reasons you can have these problems before you ask how does grass spreads to fill in your patches.
Why are there bare spots on my lawn?
The first step in resolving patchy grass is identifying the source of the problem. Take the time to examine and figure out the cause of your bare spot before taking action to fix it. Repairing bare regions may not address the root reason.
Bare spots result from:
- Heavy foot traffic
- Animal urine
- Dull lawn mower blades or cutting too short
- Poor soil conditions and excessive thatch
- Lack of fertilization or over-fertilizing
- Soil Erosion
- Dormancy because of the type of grass
- Grub infestation
- Fungal disease
Will Grass Spread Over Bare Spots?
When you look at does grass spread on its own, it depends on your lawn’s grass type. Some grasses have rhizomes and stolons that can fill in barren places. In contrast to stolons, rhizomes grow underground from the lawn grass mother plant. Therefore, they will go far to fill up any bald spots on your grass.
But most lawn grass grows from seeds, not rhizomes—the rhizomes and stolons of Kentucky bluegrass, zoysia, centipede, Bermuda, and St. Augustine. (Read Can You Put Weed And Feed On New Grass Seed)
Can You help Grass Re-seed Itself?
Allowing grass to grow taller may make an ugly lawn, but it encourages grass to self-seed. So you may let your grass grow for a while without mowing it.
Unmowed grass produces seeds as the grass blades grow and the seed heads appear. The grass eventually re-seeds itself, although not all grass seeds germinate at the same time to cover bald spots.
You can rake the lawn soil to reveal the seeds and remove thatch so the seeds can reach the soil.
The maturation process may take a few weeks to a couple of months, yet you should see the seeds on your lawns in a month.
Use a lawnmower with a side blower to distribute seeds on your lawn during mowing. Cut only a third of the blade and other plants to encourage healthy growth.
After mowing, you can take steps to ensure the seed goes into the bald places. Then water the lawn. Then you must water your seeds for at least 30 minutes per day. (Learn What Does Centipede Grass Look Like)
Suppose dogs cause the bare spots. Flush the area with water to remove excess salts. If the bare spot is a disease or other growth issues, scratch the surface from the dead area, add new soil and seed mix into the existing soil, and then water as you would with new grass seed.
Will Grass Repair Bare Spots?
You could be lucky if you have Kentucky bluegrass or Bermuda grass, and the grass can fill bare spots. These lawn grasses comprise runners, or vine-like stolons, and stem-like rhizomes. It’s possible for these to self-seed from the mother plant and to spread to cover bare spots.
Other southern grasses that spread are St. Augustine, Centipede grass, or Zoysia grass. If you want to fill bare spots in existing spreading grass in Northern climates, you can use Red Fescue.
, most northern grasses are bunch-type grasses that don’t spread and require re-seeding. However, you can use perennial ryegrass, chewings fescue, and tall fescue as your filler grasses for bald spots.
Creeping red fescue is an alternative in cool-season grasses that will spread as can fine fescue types of grass.
Remember, if you fill bare patches in an existing Tall Fescue lawn, use Tall Fescue as it doesn’t always get along with other grass types. For example, it could be clumpy and unattractive if you overseed to restore Kentucky bluegrass or Bermuda grass. (Learn When To Cut Fescue After Seeding)
How Do You Encourage Grass To Spread?
Repairing bare patches in lawns is an essential element of lawn care. The best way to fix a grass patch is to overseed it with a new grass seed. In addition, overseeding to repair bare spots enables a healthy new start across your entire lawn.
The optimal time to sow lawn patch repair seeds depends on the grass. First, match the grass seed to the existing grass. Plant cool-season grasses in late summer or early fall. Plant warm-season grasses in spring or early summer for optimal results.
If you are unsure, you can speak to your local extension office, who can advise on the best grass seed to use.
How to Plant Grass Seed
Seeding barren places in grass areas is a simple task that takes only a few hours to perform. The transformation of new seed into green grass can take several weeks, but the wait is well worth it.
Get your hands dirty before seeding the area by picking weeds and removing any dead grass from the ground.
Roughen the dirt in the bare place and the surrounding region with a rake. This will allow the seeds to penetrate deeper into the soil and form roots more quickly.
Mix Your Seeds
Over-planting, which results in weak and spindly grass plants, can be avoided by mixing one part seed with three parts potting soil in a bucket.
This results in a seed application rate of about 10 to 15 seeds per square inch and the healthiest-looking grass patch repair, regardless of the grass kinds in your lawns.
Spread the seed and soil mixture evenly on the bare earth and into the grassy area around it.
You don’t want to see any signs of the patch job after the grass grows back in, so a tiny overlap is fine. (Read Turf Type Tall Fescue Vs Kentucky Bluegrass)
It’s not necessary to cover grass seed, but a small sprinkling of fine compost can assist give the seeds a boost of nutrients. Once the area has been covered, pad or gently tamp the seeds into the ground.
Birds looking for a free meal can flock to your newly seeded bare places so that you can use a layer of straw as further protection. Remove any straw as seedlings appear, or the young plants will be weakened. It can stop lawn weeds from growing, so you benefit double.
Now it’s time to fill the well. A gentle spray from a nozzle will moisten the seeds and soil without washing it away. Keep the nozzle from touching the ground or turning the water too high. The thumb control lever on the nozzle can be used to adjust the flow.
Water the seeds once or twice a day with a nozzle, or use a tiny, fixed sprinkler with a spray head large enough to cover the patched area while germinating. Before going to the next site, merely leave the water in the region for a few minutes—just enough water to keep the areas moist.
Gradually reduce watering as the seedlings reach the height of the surrounding grass until the former barren spot is on the same watering schedule as the rest of your lawn.
Before mowing, give young seedlings time to grow and strengthen. Wait until most of the seedlings in the new area are above 3 inches tall before mowing the new grass.
Many individuals keep their lawns mowed short. They do this to buy themselves some time until they have to mow again. While this may appear rational, it frequently results in grass blades being trimmed to a point where they cannot develop further.
It would help if you never cut over one-third of the grass blade height. So, the next time you mow, ensure the height is correct to avoid slowing down your grass and lawn.
Correct regular mowing can also help keep lawn weeds under control, in and around your bare spot.
Bermuda grass and Kentucky bluegrass are grass species that naturally spread and fill bare spots in your lawn. Therefore, any bare places in the surrounding lawn will be covered over time if you have any of these two grass varieties. This will only occur if the ideal conditions of water, light, and nutrient profile.