After a long winter, it is not uncommon to see major problems in your lawn. Cold weather, excessive moisture and bad care practices in the previous year can lead to a patchy lawn. Dead leaves and other debris breed fungus, which can appear in the spring, seemingly out of nowhere. Fixing a lawn without resodding requires regular care and can take as long as a season or two.
Clean away dead leaves and grass from the lawn in the fall to prevent rotting and fungal growth during the winter.
Spread snow evenly over the lawn during the winter to avoid wet patches where moss can grow.
Run an aerator machine or use an aerating tool to loosen compacted soil and help the lawn dry in the spring. Aeration removes plugs of dirt from the lawn, allowing water to move easily and preventing fungal infection and moss.
Break up thatch that is thicker than one inch to improve drainage and prevent the growth of moss and fungus on decaying grass. Leave thatch if it is under an inch, as the small amount of decay naturally fertilizes the lawn.
Overseed the lawn in the fall, after the lawn is aerated and dethatched. Use a perennial fine/rye fescue mix. Fescue grass is a cool-season grass that will begin to grow during the winter, filling in spaces in the lawn that are dead. Application of a grass-starter fertilizer, available at garden centers, will help the grass grow.