A small amount of thatch-- an accumulation of dead stems and roots--beneficial to a
lawn because it becomes an organic fertilizer as it breaks down. A heavy buildup of
however, prevents penetration of moisture and nutrients into the soil and may harbor
insects and disease. To keep thatch at a healthy level, remove excess material
once a year with a power rake.
Don't let leaves or other objects (such as lawn furniture and toys)
remain on the lawn for any longer than necessary, or the grass under
them will quickly lose color. For even distribution, apply
fertilizer with a spreader instead of by hand. To avoid lines, apply half
of the fertilizer in one direction and the other half at right angles.
If you're cutting an area out of the lawn for a new flower bed or patio
you may want to save the sod and relocate it to a sparse area. To lift
the sod, place a flat spade under the roots, cut, and roll.
Repairing bare spots is like starting a new lawn. Remove dead grass,
improve the soil, fertilize, lime if needed, seed or sod, and water
regularly. Avoid walking on the new grass until it's established.