Reseeding tips to repair bald patches and thin grass

Spring rain brings your lawn back to life. In cooler temperatures and with a lot of moisture in the soil, the grass tends to grow faster and requires frequent mowing.

Spring lawn isn’t always perfect, however. This year, patches of bare patches and thin grass are common as there is no blanket of snow to isolate the surface roots. To repair the damaged areas, consider the following reseeding options and best management practices:

  • Always choose the correct seed mixes for the location. Use 50 percent or more fine fescue mix for dry, shady locations and 50 to 100 percent Kentucky bluegrass mix for sunny areas. Buy a high quality seed mix that is at least 90 percent pure and has a 75 percent success rate at germination. Avoid mixtures with annual rye, zoysia grass, buffalo grass, or creeping curved grass.
  • If your lawn is heavily compacted and has poor grass stand, now aerate it with a core and use a drip spreader to seed the area. Run a mower to break the plugs and force the seeds into the ground for good contact.
  • If you have good turf structure but thin grass, use a slot seeder to increase the density of the turf. Slot seeders make a shallow furrow in the ground, place the seed and cover the deposited seed with a flap at the rear end. To get an evenly dense stand, it is best to run the slot seeder in two directions perpendicular to each other, using half the seed rate in each direction. Check with your local hardware store or professional turf service about slot seeders.
  • To repair small bare spots (basketball size), hand-seeding is the best option. Rake the soil surface, sprinkle the seeds, and lightly rake the seeds to a depth of ¼ to ⅜ inch. Water and mulch the seeds.
  • For large, bare spots, rake off the top area by raking the dead spots and adding ¼ to ½ inch of good quality soil. Sprinkle the seed on the earth, clad above, and gently rake it back into it. Run a roller over the sown pavement to ensure good contact between the seed and the soil. Pour and mulch the plaster.
  • For quick control of moss, use lawn products that contain iron sulfate or potassium sulfate. A home remedy would be to use dish soap at the rate of 4 ounces per 2 gallons of water for 1,000 square feet. It can take several days for the moss to turn brown. Rake the dead moss and re-sow the pavement.
  • After re-sowing the lawn, do not apply weeds or feed it. Schedule application six to eight weeks after the grass has germinated.
  • Plan your first lawn fertilization at the end of May. Early spring fertilization can contribute to the leaching of nutrients by spring rains and trigger the flushing of new shoots at the expense of root growth.

Ooze orange juice on birch?

In spring, it is a common phenomenon to see bright orange slimy sap residues on the logs of bleeding trees such as birch, ironwood, maple, elm, and walnut. In bleeding trees, unsealed wounds on the tree trunk mean that the spring sap naturally oozes out from the outside. It is observed that the yellow-bellied sap lickers serve to cause feather wounds by drilling horizontal and vertical holes.

Although orange juice residue can have an unsightly appearance, it does not affect the health of the tree.

The oozing juice is high in sugar and serves as a growth medium for bacteria, fungi, and yeast, turning the colorless juice into a bright orange color that attracts our attention. As soon as the wound on the tree trunk is sealed by the tree’s natural process of compartmentalization, the sap stops flowing and the seeping materials begin to dry out.

Although the orange juice residue can have an unaesthetic appearance, it does not affect the health of the tree.

Vijai Pandian is a horticultural agent / educator for Brown County University of Wisconsin Extension. For questions and advice, contact the Extension Horticulture Helpdesk at 920-391-4615 or [email protected].

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