The Q&A Archives: Lawn recovery from wear.

Question: I have a large dog (70lbs) that has worn a big patch of our back yard into nothing but dirt. What can I do to get my lawn back?

Answer: I've had to contend with a similar issue in my backyard. Our dog likes to run alongside the fence. He doesn't weigh 70 pounds, but the constant traffic has compacted the soil and as a result, nothing will grow! For the patch you describe you'll need to dig the soil to loosen it up. Dig 4-6" into the area and add a few inches of compost or other organic matter, then incorporate it well. Rake the area smooth and with the back of your rake, tamp it down a bit. You don't want to compact it again but you do want to make the soil level with the rest of your lawn. Once you've done that, overseed the bare area and cover the seeds with a light coating to peatmoss, both to keep it moist and to hide the seeds from hungry birds. Water as often as necessary to keep the seeds moist and they should germinate in 7-10 days. Keep your dog off the area while it's re-establishing itself. A temporary fence (a few steel or cedar stakes and some chicken wire) will provide the needed protection while the grass is young.

Best wishes with your lawn!

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