Smoothing out lawn

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by paradoxer411, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 812

    How would a 75 lb roller help a depressed/compressed lawn. It was either caused by tree stumps settling, bad sod or sprinkler install, or poor moving habits. Not rocket science, and you didn't even list the type of turf.
  2. paradoxer411

    paradoxer411 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I am 14, sorry for my lack of experience. I will go study up on types of turf and report back to you immediately. Go find some other posts to pick apart to make yourself feel like an expert. All I am trying to do is figure out how to even out someone's back yard so they can play soccer. Thanks for your help though, now I know who to turn to when I need assistance.
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  3. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Do not roll the lawn it will only compact the soil which will only cause problems and require you to aerate the lawn.

    The lawn is bumpy?

    How is the lawn bumpy?

    From ruts, moles, erosion, traffic wear?

    Or does the lawn have a lot of empty spots that act as mini pot holes?

    They will make the mower bounce as you go across the lawn also make the lawn feel uneven when you walk on it.

    Best thing to do is to use a core aerator that leaves plugs on the surface of the lawn. Don't remove the plugs. Just let them break down and mow as if they are not there. They will disappear in a week or two.

    Then top dress the lawn with a 1/4 to 1/2 of compost.

    Also you need to seed the lawn after the aeration and before the compost is put down.

    These three things will help even out the lawn. Areas that are lower then 1" will need to be filled in with top soil before you aerate, top dress, and seed.

    Many landscapers don't own aerators or top dressing machines so they rent them. Being your 14 you will have to have your dad help you with the machines and getting the correct amount of compost and seed and starter fertilizer. Good time to do a soil test to see if the ph is correct as well.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Most likely the bumpiness occurs from empty spots that act as little valleys as 32 has mentioned... I agree that your best shot is to aerate and topdress, but I would add dragging a chainlink fence over it after aerating thus using the plugs as topdressing of sorts...

    Let us know if the roller works... my problem with rollers is that if the ground is soft enough to roll, the tractor leaves ruts and even manually sometime your feet can leave depressions... good luck...
  5. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,673

    I use play sand. It doesn't matter what type of grass it is. Aerate, sand it, over seed and move on to the next yard. Just don't use dirt/soil.
  6. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    What grows in the sand at the beach? Not much.

    Sand does nothing improve soil condition. Even when the soil has to much clay the soil will be improved better by adding organic material.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Sand should work just fine for smoothing a surface... OM doesn't do anything to smooth a surface... why is sand a problem???
  8. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,673

    You're right, but no one's planting grass on the beach front either. And grass grows easier thought sand instead of soil.
  9. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Your way you are not growing grass through sand but in sand.

    This lawn is uneven due to dead spots. Filling dead spots with sand is not a good planting medium.

    People buy potting soil not potting sand.

    Large particle sand when mixed with fine particle clay is the same as sand and Portland cement. The mix up tight because the fine particle clay easily fills the voids in the sand.

    To loosen up clay you need to add enough sand so the soil is 50% sand 50% clay. That's a lot of sand to put down and nothing was added improve the soil. A healthy soil needs organic material and microbes. The soil in away is alive. A proper structure supports life within it that supports lawn and other plant growth.

    This is why a top dressing layer of compost or compost and top soil mix is better then using sand.

    The fact that sand is cheaper and rakes out easier does not make it the best material to put down. It may be best for the LCO to reduce physical effort to put down sand and still charge the same money.

    You want easy then that is why God made rental companies so we can rent top dressing machines.

    Top soil, compost, will fill low spots just as well as sand and improve the soil by adding organic matter where sand won't.

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    One thing sand will do is cover heavy clay soils and put off the dried up cracking problem... Even a 1/2" of sand can be added to cool season grasses w/out affecting the existing turf... not to say that some rooting may occur in the sand itself, but it is already rooted in the current soil, so not an issue...

    This Portland cement thing is really becoming a cliche' for a lot of people who give no thought at all to OM in the soil... It's got to be 50% or nothing is another crazy idea that makes no sense in the real world... My solution 'after the fact' is to apply sandy compost, preferably after aeration... my solution before the fact is to till in sandy compost and slope the grade to a french drain type scenario equal to the drain in a garage floor...

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