Time and again, we hear “Why do I have bare spots in my lawn” or “What can I do about the bare areas?”
If the bare area is under a tree, and you have a warm season grass like bermuda, zoysia, or St. Augustine that thinned out and disappeared as the shade area grew larger, see our page on Shade Solutions.
If it’s not in the shade, you probably have a soil compaction problem.
Ever notice how the ground under a swing set is bare? It’s not because little feet have been rubbing off the grass, it’s because little feet have stomped on it so much that grass can’t grow there. The soil is so compacted that there’s no space in the soil for roots. In areas like this, weeds won’t even grow.
Any heavy traffic area will be compacted without frequent aeration. Do you have dogs in the back yard? Is there a bare trail along the edge of the fence where they run? Or a bare area in the corner where they lay? Are kids constantly trooping in and out of the gate?
If you have kids and dogs or other traffic that constantly hits the same place day in and day out, you will always have a problem. Frequent mechanical aeration (or our liquid aeration, Sup-R-Soil) may help if you have a durable warm season grass like bermuda, fescue or St. Augustine. Fescue, on the other hand, just can’t take the traffic.
But, more than likely, if the action causing the bare areas does not change, then the bare areas will stay there. To get rid of the bare spots, you have to get rid of the traffic. Sad, but true…
Assuming you aren’t getting rid of the kids and dogs, you could lay paving stones in a high traffic area, say, around a gate. Obviously, you don’t want concrete or rock where your dogs lay or your kids play. My dogs, Minnie and Skippy, say “What’s a few bare areas when you have US!!
Little dog responsible for bare spots.