Top cures for common lawn problems

Every lawn needs a little help every now and then. But what's the right solution? Here are a few ideas for common problems.

Top cures for common lawn problems

Patch a lawn with sod

Sod is great when you want an instant lawn or to fix barren or brown patches. You get grass that's thick, weed-free and fertilized. You can be mowing the stuff in two to three weeks.

Here's how to cut out damaged grass and cut a sod patch that fits perfectly in its place:

  • Lay a piece of sod over the bad spot and slice through both the sod and the damaged turf below with a sharp spade.
  • Then, dig out the bad spot and plug in the new sod.
  • Water it daily for a couple of weeks and it will blend invisibly into your lawn.

Fix shady, grass-free areas

It will take more patience and tending to seed bare spots in your yard, but you'll get better results — and save money — with seed.

  • Most sods are grown in open fields, a condition that favours sun-loving grasses. Sod that's primarily bluegrass won't grow as vigorously under shade trees.
  • Head to a landscape centre to buy a grass seed mix that's formulated for shade.
  • Some mixes get pretty specific in their formulation, so if you know what kind of soil you're working with, you may find the ideal mix. Plus, it's a lot easier carrying home a bag of seed than hauling rolls of sod.
  • Your seed will require more soil preparation and pampering.
  • You'll need to rototill or loosen up the soil before planting, keep the area watered and battle weeds as they try to take root before the grass fills in. And you won't be playing croquet for at least six months. But once it's established, seed has the best chance of survival.

Thwart critters

Ground squirrels that burrow around a front entryway of a home and disrupt the lawn are common problems for both urban and rural dwellers.

  • Chipmunks, for instance, typically start their tunnels next to something solid, such as front steps or a sidewalk, and burrow under it for protection.
  • To keep them out, bury a 0.6-metre (two-foot) strip of landscape cloth deep in the ground around the problem area.
  • Chipmunks won't be able to get through it and they won't dig down far enough to get under it.
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