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How to seed and fill in bare and thin spots in your lawn

By Allyn Paul, filed under Lawn Tips.



Spring and Fall are the best times to fill in bare and thin spots in your lawn with grass seed. Any area the size of a basketball will probably fill in on it’s own by the end of summer if you fertilize, water and mow properly, but for larger areas, fresh grass seed can help speed up the process. Keep in mind, if you are going to plant grass seed, you will use these tips for large or small areas. First, choose the right seed for your lawn by reading this article.

seed germination ingredients

3 Keys to Growing Grass Seed

  1. Moisture: it seems obvious, but no plant can grow without proper watering. This is especially true with grass seed, as the moisture triggers the actual germination process. The secret here is constant moisture. Allowing the seed to dry out in between waterings will kill it. Grass seed germinates at different rates. Ryegrass sprouts in about 7 days, whereas Bluegrass can take up to 2 weeks … BE PATIENT! :)
  2. Seed-to-soil contact: The seed must be wrapped in soil. The soil beneath is used for rooting, and the soil above supports the young sprout as it reaches for the sky. Soil also retains moisture and heat.
  3. Heat and sunlight: Temperatures must be above 40 degrees at night in order for most grass seed to germinate. Ideally, temps will be in the upper 50s and lower 60s during the day. Sunlight is important because the young seedling needs to create its own food through photosynthesis so it can keep growing. The energy stored in the seed is only enough to give it an initial push.

The pictures below illustrate the seeding process. In this example, I am using Scott’s Tall Fescue blend seed and Scott’s Lawn Soil as a seed covering. Normally, landscapers use a slurry mixture of peat moss and top soil in equal parts to cover the seeds, but Scott’s now sells their “lawn soil” as a seed covering which saves you the hassle of mixing.




Another very good quality grass seed is the Eco Lawn Fescue seed sold online. It is cold hardy and can be grown in sun or shade with outstanding results!

The lawn soil bags are $3.50 each at Menards. One bag is enough to cover an area 3 feet by 3 feet when seeding.

Here are 2 other articles that relate to this one if you care to learn more.

“Grass seed types for your lawn”

“Growing Grass in Heavy Shade”

lawn bare spot

seed in bare area of lawn

cover the seed with soil peat moss mixture

pat soil for good seed-soil contact

finished bare spot seeding

Below are a couple updated pictures taken just 2 weeks after the above pictures. You will see the germination is very favorable.
Keep in mind that quality seed is very important!

bare sport seeding 2 weeks later

bare sport seeding close up

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11 Responses to “How to seed and fill in bare and thin spots in your lawn”

  1. What Type of Grass Seed Should I use for my Lawn? | Life and Lawns Says:
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    [...] in mind that there is a difference in adding seed to an existing lawn, filling in bare or thin spots, and starting a lawn from scratch. Whatever you do, never use only one type or species of grass in [...]

  2. Protecting your turf and landscape from winter salt damage | Life and Lawns Says:
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    [...] Here’s another article that teaches you how to seed and fill in bare spots with grass seed. [...]

  3. Preventing Dog Urine Spots in Your Lawn and Turf | Life and Lawns Says:
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    [...] have areas that are damaged, the best bet is to saturate the spots with water, and read this article on seeding barespots in your lawn. Just remember to rake out the dead lawn areas prior to [...]

  4. tall fescue grass Says:
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    [...] by the end of summer if you fertilize, water and mow properly, but for larger areas, some fresh grashttp://lifeandlawns.com/2008/04/08/how-to-seed-and-fill-in-bare-and-thin-spots-in-your-lawn/Horticulturist uses backyard as a retreat and laboratory The Columbus Dispatch Once a month, Home & [...]

  5. Four Tips To Rejuvenate Your Lawn This Fall | Huimalamainakupuna The Hawaiian Blog Says:
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    [...] Growing grass seed is not a difficult task. You’ll be safe adding Kentucky bluegrass or perennial ryegrass to most lawns, however, I am a fan of turf-type-tall fescue blends as they tolerate drought better. If you are not sure of the type of grass you have in your lawn, call your Detroit area lawn care company and ask them to help you identify your turf. [...]

  6. Four Tips To Rejuvenate Your Lawn This Fall?Tips for A Greener Garden Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    [...] Planting grass seed is not a super hard task. You’ll be safe adding Kentucky bluegrass or perennial ryegrass to most lawns, however, I am a fan of turf-type-tall fescue blends as they tolerate drought better. If you are not sure of the type of grass you have in your lawn, call your Dayton lawn service and ask them to help you identify your turf. [...]

  7. Natural Organic Gardening | Four Tips For Fall Lawn Care Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    [...] Planting grass seed is not a difficult task. You’ll be safe adding Kentucky bluegrass or perennial ryegrass to most lawns, however, I am a fan of turf-type-tall fescue blends as they tolerate drought better. If you are not sure of the type of grass you have in your lawn, call your Detroit area lawn care company and ask them to help you identify your turf. [...]

  8. Planning For Fall Time Lawn Care | Gardening Resources Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    [...] Growing grass seed is not a super hard task. You’ll be safe adding Kentucky bluegrass or perennial ryegrass to most lawns, however, I am a fan of turf-type-tall fescue blends as they tolerate drought better. If you are not sure of the type of grass you have in your lawn, call your Dayton lawn company and ask them to help you identify your turf. [...]

  9. Four Tips For Fall Lawn Care | Pools and Patios Says:
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    [...] Growing gr&#97ss seed is &#110ot &#97 s&#117pe&#114 h&#97&#114d t&#97sk. Yo&#117′ll be s&#97fe &#97ddi&#110g Ke&#110t&#117cky bl&#117eg&#114&#97ss o&#114 pe&#114e&#110&#110i&#97l &#114yeg&#114&#97ss to most l&#97w&#110s, howeve&#114, I &#97m &#97 f&#97&#110 of t&#117&#114f-type-t&#97ll fesc&#117e ble&#110ds &#97s they tole&#114&#97te d&#114o&#117ght bette&#114. If yo&#117 &#97&#114e &#110ot s&#117&#114e of the type of g&#114&#97ss yo&#117 h&#97ve i&#110 yo&#117&#114 l&#97w&#110, c&#97ll yo&#117&#114 Da&#121&#116on area lawn &#99are &#99o&#109pan&#121 an&#100 a&#115k them t&#111 help y&#111&#117 &#105&#100ent&#105fy y&#111&#117r t&#117rf. [...]

  10. Frank Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Hi Allyn,

    Love the site! I think I am hooked on lawn care! I have a question, last season, I overseeded my lawn with a spreader. I noticed shortly afterwards voles in my yard. I put out traps and “relocated” them. I wanted to seed this fall, but was worried they will return. Any tips? I just put Vigoro 30-3-4 with weed stop down, so I dont think I should seed this spring. Thanks for your help and tips!

  11. Allyn Paul Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Hi Frank, there are liquid products you can buy to keep the moles and voles out. But there isn’t a full proof way, sorry man.
    Also, no seeding with the crab grass stuff down. do it in fall and you’ll be all good!
    AL

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