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How to fill in a lawn's bare spots ... or sow winter grass on Bermuda.

How to fill in a lawn's bare spots . . . or sow winter grass on Bermuda

Reseeding bare spots in a cool-season lawn or overseeding a lawn of winter-dormant Bermuda grass can make a big difference in how your garden looks. Usually by mid-October, air and soil temperatures are ideal for starting cool-season grasses. And winter rains will help the new grass develop deep roots.

First mow the lawn or the balding section a third lower than normal, and remove grass clippings.

To remove thatch, use a thatch rake (one kind is shown in photograph 2 above). So seeds can make direct contact with soil, rough up the soil as much as possible-- but avoid tearing out any more turf than necessary.

Before seeding a large area, use a power rake or dethatcher (available at rental yards) to thin grass and remove thatch. Power rakes loosen huge amounts of thatch; use a garden rake to pick it up, or consider renting a power vacuum or sweeper.

Measure the square footage of the lawn or bare area to be reseeded, and weigh out enough seed to cover. Apply seed at a rate of 6 to 7 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Overseed the bald spots with the same kind of grass that currently makes up your lawn, so it won't have a patched look.

If you're not sure what kind of grass you have, use turf-type perennial ryegrass such as "Citation', "Derby', or "Manhattan'. This is also a good choice for overseeding Bermuda. For a lawn of tall fescue, reseed with turf-type tall fescue.

Next, spread a balanced lawn fertilizer, following directions on the bag; or use 5 pounds of ammounium sulfate fertilizer per 1,000 square feet.

Cover seed and fertilizer with a thin layer of mulch such as peat moss or forest humus. To spread mulch evenly over large areas, use a squirrel-cage spreader (available at garden centers and rental yards).

If you're patching a small area, simply walk over the area to press the seed into the soil. For a large area, use a waterfilled roller.

Finally, keep the reseeded area moist until rains take over. You might need to sprinkle it several times a day if there's an autumn hot spell. Mow when the new grass is slightly higher than regular mowing height.

Photo: 1. Mow lawn a third shorter than usual to make raking and seed sowing easier

Photo: 2. Pull out thatch and loosen surface soil with a thatch rake; for a large area, use a power dethatcher

Photo: 3. Broadcast a premeasured amount of seed over the lawn by hand or with a spreader

Photo: 4. Cover lightly with mulch, then press seeds into soil; keep moist till germination

Photo: 5. When new grass is established, mow it along with old lawn
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Oct 1, 1984
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