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. The lawn in my new home is quite lumpy. There are a lot of little dips and hills all throughout the lawn. I don't know exactly what caused this. I believe the previous owner had a dog; maybe the dog liked to dig. Whatever the reason for its lumpiness, I'd like to delump it. I looked around at places like Home Depot, but all I saw were large, heavy barrels that were meant to be towed behind a tractor. My lawn is too small for a solution like this. Nor could I afford to just tear everything up a
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  .The lawn in my new home is quite lumpy. There are a lot of little dips and hills all throughout thelawn. I don't know exactly what caused this. I believe the previous owner had a dog; maybe the dogliked to dig.Whatever the reason for its lumpiness, I'd like to delump it. I looked around at places like HomeDepot, but all I saw were large, heavy barrels that were meant to be towed behind a tractor. Mylawn is too small for a solution like this. Nor could I afford to just tear everything up and resod(and really, the grass is fine, it's just lumpy)The lawn is small enough that I think this problem is solvable with a shovel and some dirt, but I'mnot really sure how to make it happen.So can anyone teach my the secrets of an even lawn? Thanks in advance.posted by chndrcks to home & garden (7 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favoriteIf the dips are grass-covered (as opposed to bare dirt holes) you can fill them by raking in layers of sand over the course of a few weeks. The grass will grow up through the sand, add in another half inch of sand and repeat until the dip is level with the rest of the lawn. Lightweight potting soil willalso work, but sand is a lot cheaper. If the dips are bare, fill in with garden soil amended withsomething fluffy (compost, peat moss, perlite, etc) and scatter in some grass seed.Lumps are a little harder to get rid of and a lot easier to mess up. You might want to fix the dipsfirst and see if that's good enough. If there's still visible hills, punch in a bunch of aeration plugs(those plugs of grass and dirt). You won't see a dramatic improvement in one round but if youremove enough plugs, the mounds will eventually drop down. The trick is to not remove so manyplugs at one time that the surrounding grass has a tough time refilling in. If your soil isn't too clay-heavy, you can try renting a roller but those work best on prepped bare dirt, not so much onestablished lawns--no amount of rolling will fix hard compacted dirt.posted by jamaro at 4:01 PM on May 9, 2007If it is small then you can attend to it by hand. In the dips, pull back the grass (cut around it with ashovel when the soil is very moist and remove it like sod) and put some topsoil underneath. Do justthe opposite with the crowns. For the smaller lumpy areas spread topsoil around on the surface andeven it out. This will make your lawn more lush as a benefit. I would calculate how much is neededto cover it about 1/2 inch deep and have it delivered.posted by caddis at 4:50 PM on May 9, 2007I am currently working on a combo of the previous 2 answers - not adding sand though, just using amix of topsoil and peat moss. Mow your lawn as short as possible, then add the soil (or take away asnecessary), sprinkle on some additional grass seed, top with a 1/4 layer of peat moss, water twice aday to the 2-3 inch line for root growth. Now would also be the time to get your lawn dethatched oraerated if it is needed.posted by blackkar at 5:59 PM on May 9, 2007for the love of pete, do NOT use sand or peatmoss.Sand is not a good soil amendment (even if you have heavy clay soil)! and potting soil isn't good forlawns either--it's better for pots, what with the amount of peat and/or coir.   Peat moss is not a good soil additive--when it drys out it's very very difficult to rewet. Also, it'sharvesting is piss poor for the environment. (A good substitute for peat in potting mixes is coir fiberwhich is harvested from coconut fibers)it'll take a few years, but the best way to do it is to topdress the lawn with some compost (best) ortopsoil. Spread the compost over the lawn, over the grass, and gently rake it smooth over the lawn,aiming for like 1/4 inch depth over most places, and filling in the indentations with a little more.I wouldn't cut into the turf at all if the grass is healthy, because bare patches are never pretty.topdressing takes longer, but is more attractive in the interimposted by kumquatmay at 7:52 PM on May 9, 2007A word of warning: I dealt with this by adding 2 inches of soil to the whole lawn (a tremendouseffort), raking it level, and adding new seed. But I did NOT rent one of those large rollers tocompress the dirt. The grass grew beautifully but a few months later the lumps returned, and Ithink that not compressing the dirt was the reason.posted by underwater at 9:08 PM on May 9, 2007It depends how much time you have. I'd be tempted to rotovate the lawn, then rake flat, and thenreseed. That way you'll get a flat garden that's well drained with some terrific grass. The problem isthe hard work, and also the fact your garden will be a mess for a few months. Ideally you want tobe doing this when the earth is damp too.I don't know where you live, and rotovator might be a foreign term to you. Basically they'remechanical cultivators that turn over the soil.posted by humblepigeon at 1:34 AM on May 10, 2007For a small yard, a Turf Hound is just the thing. Basically, you Turf Hound the heck out of yourhigh spots, and chuck the cores into your holes. Unless your yard is clay (in which case the plugscan bake into Confederate bullets in a hot summer sun), you need do little more than water andmow normally for the yard to level out in a season or two. Working a small yard an hour or two,several evenings a week for one summer, you can accomplish a lot. Add a reacher to your tool kit toavoid bending over to toss plugs to the low points, if your back isn't all it could be.posted by paulsc at 1:51 AM on May 10, 2007Manage your lawn properly and it can be both a haven for wildlife and a lovely place from which toenjoy your garden and its inhabitants. Lawns are amazing habitats. On a hot summer¶s day, they can look ecologically dead, but with the onsetof autumn, the ground gets wetter and suddenly they spring to life, with earthworms coming to the surfaceto forage, moths and craneflies laying their eggs at night, and birds and mammals feeding on thisabundance of food.Autumn is also the best time to plan how to manage your lawn for the coming year. The key to success isthe layout ± making the best use of shady, sunny and damp spots. So ensure you have long grassy areasfull of wildflowers in the sunny, dry patches and around the edges, woodland plants and grasses in shadyareas, and short grassy areas for your own use and where birds and mammals can forage.  Y ou can increase the visual impact of the short-grass areas by planting a wide range of low-lyingflowering plants that look pretty and provide food for insects. So get planning: the lawn should be one of the most visually attractive parts of any wildlife garden. HOW TO MANAGE YOUR LAWN:   y   Autumn is the time to scarify your lawn (use a lawn rake to remove dead and thatched vegetation)and aerate it, particularly in waterlogged areas; use a garden fork to dig holes in the lawn every30cm or so. When you give the lawn a last mow, make it a short cut and apply a good autumnfeed. y   I f you use your lawn for feeding birds and mammals, it can quickly look tatty, as the oils in manyseeds kill patches of grass. So try not to keep feeding in one spot. I f you have feeders hangingover the lawn, use trays to catch dropped seeds or move the feeders regularly. y   Spring is the time to repair the damage from the winter. Reseed as necessary, rake up any mossand dead grass, and give the lawn a good short cut. y   D ig out any unwanted plants ± unlike plants such as self-heal and white clover, dandelions and plantains tend to kill patches of grass and take over. y   D uring the summer, never cut the lawn too short ± keep it about 5±9cm long. Taller grass is moretolerant of drought, has a larger root structure and is sensuous to walk on with bare feet! y   D on¶t forget to enjoy your lawn. Take out a picnic to eat while you listen to the hum of bees onthe white clover flowers. Use a field guide to identify the vast array of insects and spiders usingthe long grassy areas and patches of wildflowers. 12 INVERTEBRATES LIVING IN THE SOIL BENEATH YOUR LAWN  advertisement feature1.   Ground beetles can often be seen scurrying through the grass on your lawn.2.   Earthworms stay deep in their burrows in dry weather, coming to the surface on wet nights.3.   Cutworms are noctuid moth caterpillars and feed on grass and other roots.4.   Leatherjackets (cranefly larvae) also eat grass roots.5.   Centipedes are fast-moving predators that hunt many soil invertebrates.6.   Slugs burrow deep into the soil in dry conditions.7.   Cockchafers lay their eggs deep underground, where the larvae eat plant roots.  8 .   Sheet-web spiders will weave webs to catch invertebrates on your lawn.9.   Curl grub is the collective name for the larvae of several common garden beetles and chafers.10.   Shiny red moth pupae found a few centimetres below the surface belong to cutworms.11.   Slug and snail eggs are laid in the top layer of soil.12.   Wireworms are beetle larvae that resemble mealworms. They eat rotting vegetation and roots. SIX SPECIES TO LOOK OUT FOR ON AND IN YOUR LAWN:  1.   Bush-crickets can be very common in gardens. Adults are usually seen in bushes, but nymphswill live in rough vegetation at the lawn edge.2.   Speckled wood numbers have increased dramatically in the past few decades. Common ingardens, it lays its eggs on long grass at the edge of lawns.3.   White plume moths lie up in long grass in mid-summer. The larvae feed on Convolvulus(bindweed), so let some survive in your garden.4.   Wild carrot is a pretty, white mid-summer flower that attracts a range of insects. I t is a biennial,so let the seeds fall before you cut them back.5.   Hay rattle is both attractive and great for bees. I t is semi-parasitic, living on grasses, and also anannual, so allow it to set its seeds.6.   Spotted craneflies are commonly found in gardens and lay their eggs in damp soil, where thelarvae feed on roots and tubers. STEVE'S TOP TIPS:   y   Late summer is a good time to plant seeds of plants such as hay rattle and wild carrot. Scatter them around the edges of the lawn and in areas where you want the grass to grow long. y   P lants such as cowslip, great knapweed, marjoram, ox-eye daisy, creeping cinquefoil, lady¶s bedstraw and meadow cranesbill are best planted as plugs (available from wildflower suppliers).To establish a plug, dig out a small area of lawn, replace with topsoil, insert the plug and keep itwell watered. y   Also plant plugs of bird¶s-foot trefoil, self-heal and white clover. These are attractive to insectsand their prostrate (low-lying) form means that they can survive mowing. y   Whether you should water your lawn or not is a dilemma, but in hot dry summers, many speciesthat feed on invertebrates suffer badly. Watering the lawn keeps earthworms and grubs near thesurface, and these can be a lifeline for hedgehogs, fox and badger cubs, and a wide range of birds.
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