Lawns are generally very hardy, withstanding all the extreme conditions that the UK weather can throw at it. However, even the best maintained lawns are susceptible to damage, whether it’s from general wear and tear or a specific problem such as poor soil compaction or lawn thatching.
Regardless of the cause of the problem, it’s relatively easy to repair your lawn, although it’s important to act fast once you notice there is some damage. Also, because there are various issues that can develop on your lawn, you may need to use a different solution depending on what you’re dealing with.
There are a few important things to remember before you start:
- Grass is incredibly hard-wearing and can recover from even the most extensive damage. Take the necessary steps to repair your lawn to a healthy condition and the grass will take care of the rest, growing back healthier in no time at all.
- Weeds are your worst enemy when dealing with damaged lawns. They love to invade the problem areas, replacing the once vibrant grass with unwanted weeds and weed grass. This tends to occur before most people notice there is a problem, so try to act fast to minimise weed growth and combat any that currently exist a strong weed killer.
- If the grass dies then it won’t be able to regrow. You need to ensure that you start repairing the lawn before too much grass dies, otherwise you will be better off re-turfing or reseeding with new grass seed.
As you can see from each of these points, it’s very important to start the repair process as quickly as possible! The faster you act the less time and effort you spend repairing the lawn. In some cases, you can spot it quick enough that you just need to scatter some fresh grass seeds in patchy areas to stop weeds getting there first!
Let’s take a closer look at some of the main types of lawn damage and what solutions are available for each:
Lawn Damage Due to High Traffic
Lawns are meant to be walked over but spots with high traffic often become damaged due to it being constantly flattened underfoot. This leads to compaction of the topsoil, making it difficult for water, nutrients, and air to get deep into the soil to the roots, causing patches, moss, and weeds to develop.
For this type of problem, try aerating the lawn with a good lawn aerator to reduce compaction, which increases the airflow and allows water and nutrients to be spread deeper into the ground. This promotes healthy root development and more grass should regrow in no time.
You can buy lawn aerators designed for this task, although a garden fork works well too. The goal is to create lots of small holes a few inches deep across the entire lawn, helping to improve aeration.
No Grass Due to Shading
Lawns needs sunlight to survive, yet certain areas can become too shaded, especially during winter months or when there is a bush or tree overhanging part of the lawn. A lack of sunlight can cause patchy spots to develop where grass struggles to grow, often causing moss and weeds to take their place.
There are a few ways that you can repair this type of damage. When dealing with overhanging growth you will find the lawn tends to lack growth, so it’s just a case of loosening soil with a fork, levelling it out, and then sprinkling some grass seeds over the area. Finish by treading the soil and watering with an expandable garden hose if your garden is very large or sprinkler when needed to avoid drying out.
Shaded spots are a bit trickier as they can develop anywhere on the lawn that is too shaded. The damage increases during winter when there is less daylight, so if you don’t address it quickly it can lead to lots of moss and weeds.
Use a moss killer on the problem area and then reseed at the beginning of spring to get the most daylight possible for growing. New seeds will replace the dead spots, growing throughout the season. You may need to do this every year or so in heavily shaded areas.
If there is constant shade then the grass won’t survive, so consider repurposing it with some plants.
If parts of the lawn dry out well before spring and summer there could be a problem with compaction or disease. Dig into the problem area and look for white spots in the soil, which indicates it is a disease and will need a suitable treatment.
Should there be no disease, you may just need to aerate the lawn or use a wetting agent to improve water penetration. This should help water reach deeper into the soil, which in turn helps with water retention and dealing with the drying problem.
You can buy devices that cat repellents and fox deterrent devices, reducing the chances of them urinating on the lawn and damaging it, although you still need to treat the problem area. The damaged area needs dug up and then reseeded – make sure to properly dig, level, water, and tread the soil!