Skip to Main navigation Skip to Left navigation Skip to Main content Skip to Footer

University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Garden > Yard and Garden > Lawns > Lawn repair in spring

Print Icon Email Icon Share Icon

Lawn repair in spring

Bob Mugaas

Lawns often develop sparse or bare areas that detract from the lawn's appearance and contribute to erosion. Before repairing, correct major reasons for lawn problems. Include pruning trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight to reach the ground or using an aerifier to improve soil compaction.

As snow melts in the spring, damage from a mouse-like animal known as a meadow vole may be present. Damage appears as thin (1-2 inches) twisting, curling ridges of tightly packed grass blades over the lawn surface. Usually the crown or growing point is not damaged and natural recovery occurs after grass begins growth. If it's chewed off at the ground and the crown destroyed, reseeding is necessary.


Spring seeding should be done as early as possible. However, allow your soil to dry somewhat before preparing it for seeding. This avoids unnecessary damage to soil structure. If you're doing the seeding yourself, briskly rake or use a power rake, also known as a vertical mower to lightly scratch the soil surface. If the entire area is dead grass, set the power rake slightly deeper. Power rakes are also known as dethatching machines or vertical mowers. A loose,1/4 inch of surface soil is necessary to incorporate seed into the surface and ensure good seed and soil contact.

Seeding techniques

While spring lawn seeding is a possibility, mid-August to mid-September seeding is usually more successful. Competition from annual weeds is also less of a problem.

Reviewed 2009

  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy