Make Your Own Grass Patch
Before stores and infomercials started selling grass repair, or patching products in a bag, groundskeepers at golf courses made up their own mixture and used it to fill in divots and bare spots. I do the same thing for my own yard and so do many landscapers. It is very quick and easy to make and use, and it allows you to put in exactly the type of seed that you want to use. Plus, it is way less expensive than the products sold in stores or on infomercials.
Here is all you need to do. Put in a bushel or two of garden soil into a wheel barrow. Thoroughly mix in an equal amount of compost. If you don’t have compost you can use vermiculite, perlite, or sphagnum peat moss (the brown peat that comes in bales). You want to end up with a spongy, crumbly, water-holding mixture, much like a potting soil. In fact, you could use bagged potting soil instead of this mixture if you don’t have the other ingredients at hand.
Next, mix enough grass seed so you see plenty of seed in every handful. When spread on the lawn you want to see 15-20 seeds per sq. inch. Use a grass seed that matches what you already have in your lawn. If you don’t know, bring a sample to a local nursery. If you have some starter fertilizer around put a cup or two in the batch. This is not critical if your soil is fairly healthy and regular fertilized. You can always fertilize after the grass up. We recommend All-In-One for Lawns if you like using liquid fertilizers.
Over Seeding With Your Grass Patch.
If you are using this mixture to over seed a thin area of the lawn that does not have dead or bare spots, simply toss the mixture over the lawn wherever it is thin. If necessary, rake the lawn lightly afterwards to get the mixture to drop down off the grass blades. That’s it. You are done.
To get the grass seed to actually grow it is critical to keep the seed damp until the grass is established. Give it a good watering to get things started. If the soil below the seed was dry, really soak it deeply. The grass patch mixture will be nice and dark when damp so it will be easy to see if and when it dries out. Depending on the time of year, and the amount of rain you get, you may need to water once or twice a day, or maybe once or twice a week. The soil should not be soggy, it just needs to be damp. Once the grass sprouts and starts to root deeper and toughen up you can gradually phase out the watering to once or twice a week, enough to keep the soil from getting too dry. Again, it depends on your local weather conditions as regards to temperature, precipitation and even wind, which dries out soils too.
When over seeding you will probably also find a few areas that are either just bare soil or spots of completely dead grass. You will need to do things a little differently and follow the Spot Seeding steps below.
Spot Seeding With Your Grass Patch
STEP 1. If there is thickly matted dead grass or Thatch covering the spot you want to seed, you would need to remove that as your first step. If you try to seed on top of that, the seed would sprout but the roots would not be able to get into the soil and the new grass would die within a couple of weeks.
If you find that by removing the matted grass you have created a low spot in the lawn, fill that with topsoil to even things out. Tamp the soil down lightly with your foot
STEP 2. (Skip this step if you have added topsoil to fill in a low spot.) Scratch up the area you are spot seeding with a dirt rake, garden weasel or some other tool that would loosen up the soil at least 1/2 inch down. This will help the new seed dig into the soil quickly. Smooth out the area so it is level.
STEP 3. Top these areas with your homemade grass patch mixture. Put it on about 1/2″ thick and make sure it covers all the scratched up soil areas.
STEP 4. Water. As per above, you need to keep the grass patch moist until the new seed is well established.
For better results, before the seed sprouts make sure you hit it with either our Aerify PLUS (especially if you have Clay soil) or Nature’s Magic. They both contain trace nutrients that will stimulate faster rooting and will generate beneficial root fungi called mycorrhizae (my-core-rhy’-zee)
Note: If you are filling in deeper ruts or holes, don’t fill them with your home-made grass patch and waste it that way. Grass seeds deeper than 1/2 to 3/4 inches will have a hard time sprouting. Use regular soil to fill the holes or ruts, tamp it down lightly and only put your home-made grass patch on the very top.