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How to repair a thin and patchy lawn

Having a little trouble with a patchy lawn? We are here to help!

Image courtesy of Lawn Solutions Australia

There are a few things you can do to make the path of recovery for your lawn both quicker and easier, as most warm season lawns will spread laterally, thicken up and recover with some care and attention – these include couch, zoysia and buffalo varieties.

So, what should you do?


Rake out the dead material! When your lawn dies, no matter the reason, the dead material is left in the patch to decompose slowly. In order to get your turf to thicken up and recover quicker, rake out as much of the dead material as you can. This allows for healthy grass to spread into the space, as well as helping more sunlight, water and oxygen to penetrate, which boosts the health of the grass too.


Aerate with a garden fork! Aerating your lawn will help to decompact the hard-bare ground, which makes it easier for any healthy grass to spread its roots. Drive a garden fork into the ground to around 10cm and wriggle it back and forth – this will fracture the soil profile. 

If you have subsoil irrigation, be careful that you don’t do so too deeply or where you are likely to come in contact with a pipe. Additionally, after aerting can be a great time to apply soil conditioners like gypsum to improve your soil base.


Treat the weeds! If you have weeds in your lawn, they can be taking up precious real estate for healthy lawn to grow and thicken. Treat them by spraying the applicable broadleaf herbicide, dig out the easy to reach ones by hand and make sure you get them all out – you want to stop any further spread.

If you are wanting to stop weeds before they happen, consider investing in something like Oxafert, which is a pre-emergent herbicide that targets weed seeds before they take hold by forming a barrier at soil level that stops the germination of any new seedlings. Pre-emergents can be used in the prevention of Winter Grass, Summer Grass, Crowsfoot and Crab Grass.


Lightly topsoil! With this step, remember you don’t want to be suffocating an already unhealthy lawn. A light amount of topsoil in any bare and/or patchy areas however can bring the levels up making it easier for the healthy areas to spread across. The main job of topsoil is to improve the soil profile by improving drainage and providing nutrients to help strengthen the lawn. Make sure you water it in really well after application though, so it assists rather than hinders the growth of your lawn.


After you have removed all weeds, fertilise! It is important to remove weeds first though, as you do want to be feeding your lawn as well as the invading weeds. When choosing a type, go for a good quality slow release granular fertiliser, as this will have a great mix of everything your lawn needs to get it moving again.


Water your lawn! After fertilising, make sure you water your lawn super well. Watering over the coming weeks will help the grass to grow as strongly as it can and with some good sunshine your grass should see a lot of growth and improvement.


Mow regularly! Now you have put all the hard yards in, make sure you remember to mow your lawn – it is a crucial part of your lawn making a nice recovery. Regularly mowing your lawn will encourage lateral growth, further thickening your lawn. A thicker lawn will also be a lot better at restricting weeds growth and will be more resilient to disease related issues. If you mow regularly at your normal mowing height, you should also avoid removing more than one third of the leaf blade off in one pass.


Once your lawn is back to full health and not patchy some simple lawn care undertaken seasonally should keep it from deteriorating like it did before!



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Greg Pelka

We are a local, Sunshine Coast turf grass company with a committed team to providing a quality lawn. Like any small business it's the people who make it great. Above are the friendly staff you'll meet and deal with when ordering turf from Rosemount Turf.

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