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 Post subject: Bumpy lawn
PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 12:58 pm 

Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 10:38 am
Posts: 1
Over the 4 years that I have lived in this house, I've brought in top soil 3 times and spread it over my yard. Every time, trying to do my best to level the yard out. Well, despite my efforts, the yard is bumpier than ever. This has affected my mowing, because in the valleys the mower leaves the grass high and on top of the bumps it almost scalps my grass.

My brother recommended rolling it. But I'm concerned that will lead to compacted soil. What do you guys think I should do?

 Post subject: Re: Bumpy lawn
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:20 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm
Posts: 2884
Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
First of all, don't be bringing in more topsoil without a specific plan of attack. Topsoil always changes your drainage. At worst it will back rainwater up into your basement causing thousands of $$ in damage. At best it will be ugly.

Bumpy lawns start when the soil is rototilled prior to seeding or sodding. You don't say where you live or what kind of grass you have, so I can't get too specific. Generally it takes 3 years for a rototilled soil to settle stop getting bumpier. After it has settled, then you can think about leveling it. Generally the idea is to fill in the low spots and do nothing to the high spots. If you have bermuda you can do this.
1. Fertilize heavily with organics
2. Mow it at half the height you normally mow.
3. Two days later mow it lower unless you are already at the lowest setting on your mower
4. Water a full inch
5. Spread bags of sand (not topsoil) over the area
6. Drag a drag over the sand to level it out, fill in the lows, and keep the highs clear
7. Water to settle the sand and let it dry
8. Add more sand where needed and repeat steps 6 and 7.
9. Repeat steps 6-8 until you have it perfect
10. Pray you have not smothered your bermuda.

If the bermuda survives, it should look normal again in a month. Keep off of the sand until the bermuda "absorbs" it and becomes one with the new material. Once the bermuda is covering the sand, or at least holding it in place, then you can start back mowing the bermuda down toward the 1-2 inch height.

This works for bermuda because bermuda is extremely resilient and can be mowed very low.

Rolling will do nothing. It won't help you nor will it compact the soil (unless you roll it on day 3 of a 4-day continual rainstorm). Compaction is a very special thing. The word has become synonymous for for every condition of hard soil. Most hard soil is caused by the depletion of the population of beneficial fungi which normally soften soil; whereas compaction is caused by mechanically removing the air from soggy soil.

David Hall
Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum

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