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How to: repair a patchy lawn


Autumn is a great time to oversow a balding lawn, grown patchy from the extremes of summer weather - and holiday entertaining! 

The cooler temperatures make it easier to provide the regular moisture levels required to germinate new grass. 

Follow these steps and you’ll soon have a smooth green carpet to admire.


Photo - Garden World Images

1. Rake away any coarse debris such as excess thatch and old dead runners from the lawn surface. These can act like a mulch and stifle germination of the new seed.

2. Aerate the area you are treating, to assist the healthy growth of the existing lawn, as well as allowing easier root traffic for the new grass. Simply use your garden fork to push straight down to a depth of approximately 20cm, then rock backwards and forwards a little to expand the hole. Apply a wetting agent, such as Eco-Hydrate, to the area to encourage the soil to take up and hold water.

3. Choose a seed variety or blend that suits the location. Use the seed over the whole area and not just on the bald spots to give the lawn more uniformity.

4. Spread the seed at the rate given in the instructions on the pack. For coarser seeds such as fescue you can use a spreader to make this easier. Finer seeds can be mixed with dry sand to help spread them out. If spreading by hand, work from east to west then north to south to even your distribution over the area.

5. Water regularly but lightly over the initial few weeks: excessive soakings will displace the seed or wash it away.


Some recommended varieties

Full sun: couch blends can handle good wear and tear from kids and pets and can have a fine-textured, manicured appearance  

Part sun/shade: Munn’s “Pixie Sun and Shade” is a form of tall fescue that handles these conditions well and will stay green year-round.

Heavy tree shade: consider replacing lawn areas with a garden bed. Plant up with shade-loving, dry-surviving plants such as arthropodium, or clivea instead. 


Text: Linda Ross

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Author: Linda Ross