The Q&A Archives: Heaving out the frost

Question: I aske about aerating my lawn to relive some of the soil compaction. I also wanted to roll my lawn this year because it is so uneven from frost heaves. Should I roll before or after aerating or not even in the same year?
I live outside of Chicago and plan on renting a plug aerator.

Answer: You probably don't need to roll at all. Start by aerating the lawn and leaving the plugs on top to dissolve. After aerating spread some sand or topsoil over the lawn. It will work its way into the holes made by the aerator. You can level the low spots at this time with a little extra topsoil. Then reseed your lawn. If, after the new grass is up you still find some low spots, fill them in with topsoil and reseed those spots. If you were to roll the lawn you would simply be compacting the soil, which will make it hard for the grass roots to grow. So instead of trying to push down the soil, do the reverse - use the aerator, add some topsoil or sand so it can go into the holes left by the aerator, then reseed. Should make the lawn level and attractive. Best wishes with your lawn!

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