Lawn care does not need to be a labor-intensive or expensive process. Many people see a patch of crabgrass or a dead spot in the lawn and do one of two things: leave it alone, reasoning that repairing it would cost a great deal of money, effort, and time, or decide to go ahead and have the entire lawn resodded. A little ingenuity, common sense and, above all, patience, can usually remedy whatever problem you encounter with your lawn.
A quick remedy for a bare spot is to cut the sod from your culvert or drainage ditch, if you have one. Turn and loosen the earth of the bare spot, then plunk down the sod and give it a good watering once a day for a few weeks to ensure the grass takes root.
A more thorough method involves replanting grass seeds. This should be done in early spring or summer when temperatures average over 60 degrees F in the day and don't drop below freezing at night, and the bare spot gets plenty of sunlight. The grass seed should be wetted and placed out in the sun while you prepare the earth by turning it. Grass does not grow on the surface of the ground, so it should be laid down in a thick layer across the bare patch and then covered over with soil that's well tamped down. The seeds should germinate in two weeks if the soil is kept damp.
Brown patches can be caused by a number of things, often a lack of water. Water it in the morning, when water won't evaporate as quickly.
They could be the result of dogs and cats defecating on the lawn. The resulting nitrogen burns the grass. A fence works if it's someone else's pet, though a good squirt with a garden hose may be all that's needed to correct the animal's behavior.
Foot traffic can also cause brown patches. The grass is ailing because the earth is too impacted. Just poke poles in the ground with a garden fork to aerate and loosen it.
Herbicides can be dangerous to your lawn because, depending on the species of grass, species of weed and type of herbicide, you might accidentally kill off the lawn and not the weed. Thistles, dandelions and other flowering weeds will actually die if you pour boiling water on them. For vines and those weeds resilient to boiling water, simply mow the lawn more often and use a metal rake to catch and pull out the roots. Use a bagger attachment on the lawnmower. It will catch the seed heads of the weeds rather than planting them back into the lawn.
Crabgrass, clover and other grasslike weeds are always tough to get rid of. They are annuals, though, and this means that they die off in the winter and reemerge from seed in the spring. Cornmeal gluten is a protein and natural byproduct of the corn plant. When ground in pellets and sprinkled across the lawn, this protein forms a layer that prevents emergent weeds from germinating, meaning the crabgrass seeds will die off if prevented from germinating for a full season.