Question: Last year our lawn area was in good shape, as I had tried hard to improve its condition. This year, however, we have been plagued by several bare patches which, despite my best efforts, do not accept reseeding.
I have tried the same reseeding procedure several times, but the result has always been these bare patches with no sign of new shoots. We are now heading into October with the likelihood of no autumn growth. Do you know what we might be doing wrong?
Answer: This growing season has been challenging for most gardens and gardeners. Fungal diseases have been widely reported by RHS members and it may be that the bare patches were caused by one of these. Petrol spills could give a similar look.
Without knowing the real cause for lawns patchiness, it would be worth removing the soil in that area and replacing it with some from another spot in the garden. Now is a good time to renovate lawns.
As for the poor germination of the grass seed, the most likely cause is lack of warmth and good light. There is always the chance that the grass seed has been stored badly at some point before you bought it.
You could try pre-germinating the seed by sowing the seed on some moist compost, covering with cling film and checking after three days for small shoots. Once they appear, sow as normal. Our web page may also be helpful: rhs.org.uk
Send your questions for the RHS to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only a few questions per month can be answered. For further advice on handling problems in your garden, visit www.rhs.org.uk/advice/index.asp.