Why You Should Think Twice Before Trying TikTok's Hack For Filling In Patchy Lawns

From propagating plants to cleaning the microwave, you can always find a viral video that provides a solution to a problem you might not have even heard of before. With a quick search (or simply by the grace of TikTok's algorithm), you can get an easy-to-follow tutorial brought to your attention. While it's fun to try new things, you should be careful when it comes to your household tools — especially the large ones with fast-spinning blades.

The popular TikTok hack for filling in patchy lawns involves keeping the back of the lawnmower open with a stick while mowing the lawn so that the cut grass falls right back on the lawn and covers the patches. Fondly called the "hair transplant," it is said to stimulate growth in problematic areas. At face value, this method sounds appealing, not to mention much easier than finding the best time of year to plant grass seeds. However, experts have raised caution when it comes to using this viral lawn hack. 

Potential issues

This method seems straightforward and requires no additional tools and minimal effort, but is it safe? A Toolstation lawn maintenance expert quoted on Gardeningetc doesn't recommend it because of the hazard that comes with taking off your lawnmower's rear cover. Also known as the back flap, this is an integral part of the tool that helps to keep things under the machine while it's in motion, preventing grass clippings and other objects like stones from flying out and hitting whoever's using the mower. Of course, small objects hurled by the mower at speed can also harm pets or children at play and cause sizable property damage if a rock gets hurled through your glass patio door.

Naturally, the back flap of your mower also protects your feet and legs from entering the blade chamber, which can cause a catastrophic injury. So this is one lawnmower component that should never be tampered with. While you might be eager to fix the appearance of your lawn with zero costs attached, think twice before trying this TikTok hack.

What you can do instead

Instead of opening up the back of your lawn mower, opt for a model that offers mulching functionality. Traditional lawnmowers eject the cut grass into a bag or through the side of the machine, but mulching mowers cut the grass into tiny pieces that will break down fast and enhance growth when left on the lawn. You can also fill in a patchy lawn by adding compost, topsoil, and grass seed to the bare areas, covering them with grass cuttings or mulch, watering the spots, and then waiting for them to grow back out.

Overseeding is another option, especially when the lawn is seriously patchy. Mow the entire lawn and spread grass seed all over it so it can all grow out simultaneously. You'll also want to provide plenty of water to the seedlings until the grass is somewhat matured. However, you should also think about what's causing the patchy grass so you can get to the root of the problem. Are you watering too little or too much? Is there a lot of foot traffic in a specific area? Does your pet frequent a particular spot? All of these conditions can cause a patchy lawn if left unchecked.