A level lawn is easier to maintain than an unlevel lawn and tends to be healthier as a whole. If you were driving a car, you would most likely try to avoid potholes and dips to avoid damage. The same idea should apply to a lawnmower.
If your lawnmower tires dip into a low spot, the mower blade will drop as well causing uneven cutting with some areas being way too short. Uneven spots can also cause water to pool, increasing the likelihood of lawn disease. Keep reading for tips on how to resolve this issue and speak to your local lawn service technician to keep your grass looking thick and green all year round!
Causes of Uneven Lawn
The first step in determining the best treatment for your particular situation is determining what is causing the uneven terrain. If you try to solve the issue without determining the underlying cause, the issue may continue, wasting your time and effort in the long run.
If you live in a newly constructed neighborhood, it is almost impossible to avoid settling in the first few years, and often this settling occurs unevenly. However, it is not only new lawns that settle naturally, and it can occur at any time.
If you have clay-rich soil and live in a cold enough climate, the soil will freeze during the winter. Due to the density of clay soil, uneven thawing can occur causing bulges and divots.
Lawn and gardening tools can cause grooves and holes, especially if the soil holds moisture. Additionally, ensure that while mowing your lawn, you alternate by mowing in different patterns. This can help alleviate ruts caused by repetitive motions.
Burrowing pests like moles, voles, and gophers can cause destruction to your yard by way of tunnels and holes. Chinch bugs and grubs can also be a problem. Make sure to address the underlying problem, or it will continue happening.
Tip #1: Minor Leveling
If you only have slight irregularities (less than 1 inch), topdressing may be your best bet. It is also the least invasive approach.
First, you’ll want to mow the lawn at the lowest possible setting and de-thatch the lawn. You can use a garden rake for this if you do not have access to a de-thatcher.
Next, apply scoops of soil mix to low areas of the lawn using a shovel. Only half an inch of material should be applied at a time, so the grass does not suffocate.
Using a leveling rake (or a push-broom), spread it out evenly and work the soil into the grass.
Once you’re done, you should mainly see grass. Water the grass to stabilize it and continue to monitor the area in the coming weeks. If you still have low levels, repeat the steps above.
Tip #2: Moderate Leveling
If you have spots that are more than an inch deep, topdressing would not be your best choice since you can only lay half an inch at once. For these low spots, you might consider “sweeping the dirt under the carpet.
Sweeping the Dirt Under the Carpet
First, cut out the sod over the low spots, making sure not to cut any strips wider than 18 inches. Gently lift the sod to separate the roots from the soil.
Second, fill the hole with enough topsoil that when the sod is replaced, the area will be level. As you shovel the soil, add water to eliminate air pockets which could lead to more settling in the future.
If the sod is still in good shape, place it back over the freshly laid soil. If not, lay new sod or seed.
Water the grass thoroughly. If there has been heavy rain recently, do not start this project until it has a chance to dry out a bit.
Tip #3: Deep Leveling
If you have depressions, troughs, or holes that are deeper than 1 or 2 inches, fill them with a good soil mix and start over with new grass seed.
Filling Deep Holes
Filling deep holes requires gently compacting the soil and also using water to settle the dirt. If you don’t pour water over the soil, air bubbles can form leading to more low spots.
Once you have most of the holes filled and settled with water, walking across these areas should be enough to compact the soil to prevent even more future settling.
After compaction, lay another layer of soil where you will sow the grass seed. Do not compact this topmost layer as the root system needs room to grow.
Prepare the soil and seed area according to the seed package directions.
The Gecko Green Experience
Just keep in mind that whichever method you choose, the best time to level your lawn is during the Spring because weather conditions are mild.
Keeping your lawn thick and healthy is the best way to help prevent an uneven lawn. Scheduling at least one aeration a year helps loosen the soil and allows oxygen and moisture to make it down to the root system. Also enrolling in a lawn care service that regularly fertilizes can help to keep your lawn thick and lush.
Get a quote for a lawn care program or an aeration today!