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Alternative to grass stitcher

My grass seed hasn't taken well and there are patches of clay soil that need some roughing up in order to take new seed.
In the USA they sell a tool called the grass stitcher. It's not available in the UK and it's a bit expensive for what it is anyway.
It's got plastic spikes to rough up the surface. 
Any suggestions for an alternative please?



  • Won't a normal rake like that rip out the grass that's there and not penetrate very deeply? The totally bare patches are quite small, maybe 10cm square, but numerous, There are many other patches that are sparse rather than bare. I overseeded about 3 weeks, mixing the seeds in with a little sandy soil (which quickly washed away) but not a single seed has sprouted.

    Plan B is to rough up the surface suitably, seed, cover with soil and lightly roller. I'm stuck at step one :)

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 64,438
    edited April 2019
    It’ll do the job perfectly. It’s what it’s for. Gardeners have been using them for years.
    I use a spring tine lawn hand rake all over the lawn... it removes any dead grass/thatch/moss and roughs up the soil surface quite enough for grass seed. Grass doesn’t need to be beneath soil level ... light will help it germinate.
    Scatter the seed, concentrating on the worst patches of course, but scattering seed all over the lawn to blend in any color difference. 
    Use a roller if you have one, then water  and keep moist but not overly so ... it should germinate quickly once soil temperature is 10C 
    It was probably too cold earlier. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,455
    Do you want to borrow my dog? Chuck a football on your lawn and he'll have to roughed up for you in no time. I usually sow the bare patches with clover seed on mine though. Alternatively a pair of old rugby boots with sharpened studs can work well. On you not the dog...
  • Here's what I'd like to fix, this was sown in October last year. I made a few mistakes, firstly I rotovated far too deeply, second I didn't put down a layer of nice soil on top. The finished surface before seeding was a bit stony in places but we'd been at it three days and had already removed many 100s of KG of stones already. What's happened is growth is patchy and there are many depressions in the surface. In the autumn when it's (VERY) soft I'll go over it with a roller and aerator after. I'll fill in the depressions in the spring with a nice sandy soil mix.

    I'll try the rake - I need to buy one anyway but I'm fairly certain it's going to tear out a lot of the good grass so any other advice welcome.

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 2,901
    That algae in pic 2 suggests a drainage issue.

    Hey don't be afraid of roughing up the surface - it'll look bad immediately after you've done it but will soon bounce back.
  • Drainage is an issue - the soil is very clay rich and that particular place got very comprehensively compressed when we built the play house. Before our workboots turned it into a muddy mess there was reasonable grass there. The biggest issue for that section is lack of sunlight but some aggressive aeration there is probably required too.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,455
    It really doesn't look too bad for seed sown in October. I bet if you just give it a chance to establish this year it will look better all by itself in a few months. I think I'd be more tempted to spike it and give it a light top dress with sandy topsoil rather than raking it and damaging the new growth.
  • By spike do you mean one of those rolling aerators? I'm with you on the raking - I think it will make a right mess of the fresh grass.

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