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Re-sod the Dead Patches in Your Lawn. For Free!

by Brett Freeman, All About Lawns Columnist

Your lawn loves springtime, and it shows. For a few precious weeks, everything is green and lush and perfect. But then summer comes, and suddenly brown patches appear that were apparently only faking good health, because now they're dead. You can try to re-seed these spots, but this doesn't tend to work very well in summer. If kept wet, the seed will germinate and sprout, but if it isn't well-established, one or two days with temperatures in the 90s is all it takes to kill your seedling grass. Or you can sod the dead areas, which is more effective, but also much more expensive.

Or is it?

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Steal Grass Sod from Yourself

The truth is that if most of your lawn is healthy, you're sitting on top of a sod superstore. There are dozens of areas--around planting beds, up close to the house, under decks--where you can extract plugs of healthy grass that won't be missed. And if you fill the plug holes in with a decent garden or potting soil, the surrounding lawn will spread to cover them within weeks.

Dig Deep

To effectively transplant plugs from your own lawn to cover dead spots, you need to do some digging. Start by removing the brown grass, digging everything out to a depth of about four inches. Next, dig out your plugs. You want them to be fairly small--three to four inches in diameter--but make sure you dig down a good three to four inches to ensure that you get all of the roots. A trenching shovel is ideal for cutting plugs, but a bulb planter or a sturdy garden trowel can also work.

Lay it Out

You don't need to completely fill the dead patches with plugs. If you plant them in a checkerboard pattern, filling the blank spots in with topsoil, they will fill out quickly. After planting, spray the plugs with a liquid fertilizer--house plant fertilizers work well--and water liberally. Continue to water once a day and spray them lightly with fertilizer ever few days until the plugs are well established.

So if some of your grass gets suicidal this summer, you'll have better luck replacing it with sod than with seed. And emergency summer lawn repair using your own grass is a fast and cheap solution.



About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.



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