Repair Low Spots in a Lawn Using the Old Grass

Attention to Detail Key in Successful Sod-Patch Transplants

Nice grass (image) is beautiful but a lot of work. The hydrangea backdrop adds to the scene.
Learn how to fill in low spots correctly to keep your lawn looking great. David Beaulieu

Reader, Tom writes, "I'm trying to repair low spots in my lawn. Rather than just fill, seed and water, could you describe how we might scrape, fill, then re-apply the old grass patch that was removed? Or do you have any other suggestions?"

Here is the answer provided to Tom:

How to Repair Low Spots in the Lawn

If you have a good stand of turf and are able to save the old grassĀ for reuse in other areas or in an original area of lawn repair (as when repairing a low spot), then that is a good start. You are recycling the biomass and also giving yourself a good start towards faster lawn repair.

A good first step is to ensure that you remove the patches of old grass properly so they can be reused. While you can remove the sod patches in the low spot with a flat shovel, a sod cutter will do the best job and allow you to remove the sod in strips. Regardless of method, make sure that you remove the old grass with enough soil to maintain the root mass with the sod, and ensure that the sod patch stays together when it is removed.

Once the sod patch is removed, make sure that you prepare the soil in the low spot where you intend to make the transplant. Smooth the area and prep the soil to ensure that the roots will contact the soil well when the grass is transplanted there. Make sure that proper soil amendments (for example lawn fertilizer or compost) are added to the low spot to ensure that the sod patch will grow well once replaced.

When the sod patch is replaced, make sure that it is level with the sod area around it. This will ensure that scalping will not occur when mowing the area after repair. That is, if the grass sits up too high, the mower blade will cut it too low (or "scalp" it). Consult this article if you do not know how high grass should be cut.

Also, ensure that the sod patch fits tightly with the grass around it. The edges of sod patches can tend to dry out after being transplanted. Drying at the edges can cause the sod patch to shrink, so a tight fit is key to ensuring a consistent and even surface.

Once the old grass has been correctly transplanted over to the low spot, be sure to maintain the whole lawn properly and consistently with proper mowing, lawn fertilization, and irrigation. Sound management will be key to ensuring that the whole lawn continues to thrive and serve your needs best long after the repair job has been effected.

Source: the lawn care experts at John Deere.