Still Lumpy--To Roll or Not? (And how)

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by docj78, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. docj78

    docj78 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

    Well, Despite a very heavy top-dressing in mid April, My Bermuda Lawn remains lumpy enough to cause/contribute to the dreaded half-moon blade marks d/t the mower jostling up and down too much.

    At this point, I'm strongly considering rolling the lawn after a VERY HEAVY raining/watering, followed by a heavy core aeration to see if rolling helps any.

    I've read mixed opinions about the merits of rolling here on the site.

    If one were to do a .35 acre lot--what what be the optimal way to perform and recover from a rolling to level the turf and eliminate/reduce the lumpiness?

    How heavy a roller? what to pull with, etc.

    Thanks for the help!!
  2. midsouth grass master

    midsouth grass master LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Sounds like you need to continue the topdressing by hand in the specific areas where the scalping is occuring. Ur not gonna find a roller that is gonna flatten out the grade that much unless u get something construction grade and then ur gonna be posting here wondering why your new lawn is suffering. Buy a truckload of sand and continue to level and float out the bad spots. Rolling helps with brand new sod, but nothing can cure a bad subgrade but topdressing and backfilling. Be patient and take time to do it right this time!
  3. docj78

    docj78 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

    Actually, I had the topdress done by a professional who does nothing but topdress and core aerate. He used a commercial grade spreader, and dragged it with a heavy square link mat. I helped some, but overall I'm quite disappointed. I do believe that he used the wrong material on the 1st load-- it was not very finely grated, and contained a lot of nickel/quarter sized pieces of mulch and bark, and a lot of small to medium twigs. His 2nd load was straight white sand. I would have thought the 1st load would have been a finer grated topsoil/loam, which would have allowed the material to sift into the soil better.

    I'm actually considering calling him back to have him come and inspect his results, and to see if he will apply another load of sand.

    Back on topic, however, I appreciate the above reply -- it seems as though you are one of people that disagree with rolling a lawn. Again, I have read mixed opinions and just wanted to see if rolling a 5-year-old lawn would be an option at this point.
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I disagree with rolling. Especially on smaller lawns that might see more concentrated foot traffic.

    Compaction is bad and it's even harder to get rid of it, especially in the South where you don't get the frost/heave cycles from winter.

    I would keep aerating it and topdressing until smooth. Then aerate twice a year for a few years. Eventually it will flatten out.

    Next time you run into a severely bumpy lawn, you might want to think about a dingo and soil cultivator and just till it smooth.
  5. docj78

    docj78 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

    I've got the guy who did the topdress application coming back to the lawn to inspect this afternoon. I may aerate the heck out of it this weekend, too.

    Reagarding aerating to possibly help with leveling--is it best to aerate after a heavy watering to soften the soil?
  6. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Choice #1 is to keep topdressing and over time smooth it out. Choice #1 has the great benefit of being a very healthy choice. Aearting and topdressing are universally accepted practices that help a lawn.

    Chioce #2 is controversial and even for those in favor is not good for the lawn. The potential for compaction, even countered by aerating doesn't change the fact that you are employing what is generally a bad practice. Will it kill your lawn? No. Will it cause damage even? Maybe not. But it is a choice that has POTENTIALLY bad consequences that can be avoided.

    So my opinion is go slower but healthier with Choice #1

    For aeration you want soft soil but not soaked. Needs moisture or rain the day before or early that morning but sogged soil will not achieve the same results.
  7. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    Rolling a lawn is not a good idea and you would have to have one heavy roller to make any difference...heavy as in tons. Since a roller is wide its weight is distributed over a large area.
  8. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    The mower choice MIGHT be contributing. Some Bermuda lawns just can't be mowed with larger deck mowers. Try a small (21") deck on it.

    Hand-fill the areas where you get scalping. A small lawn can be done by hand.

    The first year you're not going to get a super smooth lawn w/o a lot of topdressing. Patience.

    It sounds like your "professional" topdresser may not be so professional if he's using materials you think aren't appropriate. River sand/compost sounds more like it but I don't do that stuff.

    Was sod laid after heavy rains?

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