If you have a big female dog, you undoubtedly have lots of brown spots in your yard. This is caused by excess Nitrogen in the urine and the method of delivery, that is, a straight trickle down. This is unique to female dogs because males dogs, like their male human counterparts, tend to pee all over a general area. Before anyone leaves comments about preventing it with tomato juice or some pills, forget it. Those are all basically ineffective and can actually harm your dog.
But I digress. The point is, if you have these brown spots, you may find Scotts PatchMaster Sun and Shade
a useful weapon in your battle for a green lawn. Does it replace the burned out spots? Is it easy to use?
Read on, dear reader...
•• What it is ••
Scotts PatchMaster Sun and Shade is a bag of grass seed mixed with fertilizer and mulch and is used to patch dead spots in your lawn and regrow grass.
•• Features and Commentary ••
All versions of Scotts PatchMaster Sun and Shade are going to have different seed compositions depending on your area. Here in the Pacific Northwest, my combination was a mix of ryes, fescues and bluegrass. In all, the bag is about 10% seed with the rest being inert matter, mulch, and fertilizer. The seed is a sun and shade mix which is ideal for just about any lawn. This will allow that either type of seed to take root in the various shady and sunny parts of your lawn depending on the exposure. You are almost guaranteed good coverage with this mix.
The fertilizer in the Scotts PatchMaster Sun and Shade is 3-4-1. This is a very low nitrogen fertilizer, ideal for new plants. High nitrogen promotes greenness in plants, but with seed you need build a stable root system which requires a far gentler nitrogen ratio.
And finally, the rest is mulch and inert matter. Looking closely, you'll see the major ingredient is shredded paper, probably newspaper. This is an essential ingredient that allows you to simply patch the area and go. No need to cover it up with topsoil like you would seed.
So basically what they've provided is Hydro-seed in a bag. This is virtually the same thing you get when you call in the Hydro-seed guy to spray your lawn. The only thing not included is a large truck to dispense it and some "expert" to shake his head at how little topsoil you put down.
Application is easy. You'll want to first thatch down to the soil. That is, get your grass rake out, ya lazy bum, and get rid of the brown grass that used to be your lawn. Use that rake and loosen the soil a little, doesn't have to be much. Simply open the bag and grab a handful of the stuff and pack it into the hole. A thin coating will due, maybe half an inch thick. Any more is a waste. Use your hands (this is lawn care, pal. No room for sissies) and pack it firmly into the ground. It should be noted that this stuff is pretty firmly packed into the bag, so you 'll want to crumble it a little to make it go further.
Once you've packed it into place, you'll need to water it religiously at least daily, probably more often depending on your climate. You need to treat it like new seed since that's exactly what it is. Keep it wet and don't let it dry out or it may not sprout. Thankfully the mulch holds the water quite well so it takes some fair amount of sunny heat to dry it out quickly. That said, I'm horrible at keeping it watered and I found it to be bone dry on more than one occasion. However, most of these dried out spots still sprouted after some belated TLC. The ones that were treated well always sprouted and filled in nicely.
After a few weeks, you'll see the grass sprout and fill in. Then you mow it and it looks like the rest of your lawn until your dog pees on it and turns it brown again.
As mentioned, I live in the Pacific Northwest, so I get lots of rain. I never had a problem with this washing away or getting too saturated. It held beautifully. On the flip side, the several days of record heat we had never harmed the grass or the seed. In general, it sprouted and filled in beautifully.
If you crumble it and don't spread it too thick, you'll be surprised at how far this stuff goes. I was able to fill upwards of 20 spots with plenty left over. If you have very large areas of grasslessness, you probably don't want to use this as it isn't that economical on a large scale. But for the occasional brown spot, there is plenty in the bag.
Of note, the mulch is colored green to so that it blends in better with your grass. This is mildly lame because after 2 days of sun, it gets bleached white. This bleaching doesn't hinder the grass from growing. The green coloring is merely cosmetic. In that case, I would have preferred purple just because I think that would look cool. But whatever.
•• Conclusion ••
Got brown spots in the lawn? Don't get rid of your dog, patch them with Scotts PatchMaster Sun and Shade.
(By the way, for those curious, the only guaranteed way to prevent your dog from making brown spots is to drench the spot on which she pees. Keep a watering can by the door and soak it. It's a bit of a hassle, but it works every time.)
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