The Q&A Archives: Problem with lawn

Question: I had new sod put in a few years ago and now the grass is growing in after winter sparsely. Also, when I mow the lawn within a few days the top of the grass has seeded. What do I need to do repair my lawn?

Answer: If your sod is several years old, it may have an excessive amount of thatch which is preventing it from growing well. With a shovel remove a strip of turf, roots and all. Measure the thatch (the yellow debris between the top of the soil and the green grass). If it is over a half inch thick, it's time to dethatch. You can rent a power dethatcher to rake out all the old thatch. Then you can reseed your lawn or allow it to thicken up on its own. If thatch is not that thick, replace the strip of lawn in your turf and consider aerating it. A core aerator will remove one inch by three inch plugs from the lawn. Leave the plugs on the lawn and they will dissolve in rain or water from the sprinklers. After aerating spread a thin layer of sand or compost over the area and water it in well. The sand or compost plus the soil from the plugs will work their way down into the holes left by the plugs. The roots of your lawn will then have ample room to grow and the water and fertilizer you apply will be more readily available so the lawn can thicken up. Best wishes with your turf!

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