Ask a Question forum: Lawn Depression

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bjquat
Sep 28, 2015 10:21 AM CST
I'm writing you today because, although my dad now lives in a retirement home, we still own and maintain his house in Hurst.

The back lawn has developed a "depression" (kind of like a sinkhole but the grass is still intact). It seemed to begin sometime after the May rains. I don't THINK it's sprinkler related but I can't be sure. I have called a landscaper who promised to go look at it but then never showed up and won't return my calls. I called the water department but they said it wasn't their job. I've searched online but can't find any help or resources. This depression seems to be getting slowly bigger over time. I am at a loss as to who to call or what to do about this problem. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Sep 28, 2015 10:39 AM CST
Welcome bjquat! It would help us if you included your location. Have you tried to contact other lawn/landscaping companies? Do you have a county extension office that you could maybe contact and show them a picture?

Sorry I cannot be more help.

bjquat
Sep 28, 2015 10:49 AM CST
As mentioned in my first post the house is in Hurst. I have contacted the extension office but have not received a reply.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Sep 28, 2015 10:53 AM CST
Welcome to ATP, bjquat. Where in the world is Hurst? It would help us to know YOUR location and to do so, just add that info. on your profile. Pictures are always helpful.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Sep 28, 2015 10:54 AM CST
Sorry, I don't have any idea where Hurst is.

bjquat
Sep 28, 2015 11:16 AM CST
Texas - DFW area
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Sep 28, 2015 11:58 AM CST
Hi bjquat, Welcome! to All Things Plants from me too!

How large is the area of the indentation in your dad's lawn? Have you checked to see if the ground is wet in that area? I wonder if perhaps their was possibly a break in an irrigation line in that part of the yard, causing erosion of the soil and sinking of the lawn? Or, perhaps there are insects of some sort beneath the lawn, eating the roots of the grass and causing the sinking appearance? I hope you are able to get another landscaping or irrigation company to come out and check the area. Hopefully it's something minor that won't be a big expense to repair.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Sep 28, 2015 12:29 PM CST
Welcome to ATP, bjquat! Welcome!

I really hope you don't have a limestone cave / sinkhole situation. I was going to suggest buying a truckload of topsoil or gravel to fill in the hole, but that won't help if something is dissolving your yard out from underfoot.

Maybe the county extension agent can tell you if your neighborhood is at risk, or point out some website that documents locations where things like sinkholes are likely, and what can be done about them.

http://www.pvamu.edu/cahs/county-locations/
http://nifa.usda.gov/partners-and-extension-map

If they are 100% focused on "agriculture", they might not be excited by your problem, but I would think they SHOULD know about such issues if their county is prone to them.

After that, all I can think of is real estate agents. They probably know ALL about how to cover such a problem up so it is not immediately obvious to a purchaser. But do they know what to DO about it?

If you're lucky, a realtor will say "NO ONE in this area has sinkhole problems" ... but will they know what ELSE it could be?

Please, if you find out, let us know! That's how everyone learns.

>> It seemed to begin sometime after the May rains.
>> This depression seems to be getting slowly bigger over time.

Say, four months? Is it a few inches deep or more? Is it getting wider, deeper or both?

You mentioned "May rains". If those were much heavier than normal, maybe it was a one-time undermining that won't recur until the next unusual rainfall. But if that were the case, I would expect it to be all over local newspapers and yacked about on the Internet. Ummm ... maybe ask a clerk at a feed store? You said "Dallas-Fort Worth area", so maybe there are no nearby feed stores or farm coops.

I know NOTHING about this, but I'll speculate: if part of the issue is that water pools in the low spot, then perks down and leaches away something as it goes, maybe the cosmetic "patch it with a yard of topsoil" has some value after all. IF (if) that kept water from pooling right where the problem is worst, maybe then the REST of the yard would sink down to match the low spot. That's total, 100% uninformed speculation.

Since you didn't mention it, I assume the yard was NOT covered with a foot-deep layer of wood chips or sawdust and then topsoil layered over that. If you had, I would guess "subsidence", but have no better advice to offer than "don't do that again".

Was there any recent work in nearby yard that would change drainage or runoff patterns?

Most areas with water shortages have draconian laws about doing anything that alters water runoff patterns, with heavy fines for people touching their own land without permits and licenses. If you can find THAT department, they might be red-hot-eager to come charging out there (to hit a neighbor with huge fines or make them undo their improvments.

Whether or not they can do anything HELPFUL for anyone or suggest what might be happening underground in your yard, is a different question.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Sep 28, 2015 12:34 PM CST
It could be an old well, cistern, cellar, trash dump, septic tank that has caved in also. your might go around and see if there are any older neighbors that know any history on the property or if you can contact any previous owner's families (people who may have grown up in the house years ago). You would be surprised at what people cover over and 'forget' is there.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Sep 28, 2015 12:37 PM CST
Also any large trees in the area that died in the past 10 years or so may slowly rot (roots under the ground) and then with rains may have caved in. ? It's hard to know without seeing a photo of it. How big is the area? a few feet around or like half the back yard? makes a big difference in figuring out what it is.


Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Sep 28, 2015 12:46 PM CST
Pictures might or might not be helpful. What would be helpful is to dig or have someone dig a few feet of soil out and see what is found. At least, that is where I would start.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Sep 28, 2015 12:51 PM CST
Just be sure to tie yourself to a string first nodding
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Sep 28, 2015 1:18 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Thumbs up Whistling Rolling on the floor laughing
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Sep 28, 2015 5:03 PM CST
If it isn't limestone or another cave-forming formation, you may have guessed it.

Underground bunker or bomb cellar.
Prohibition-era smuggler's hoard.
The famous "Mine-Shaft-Gap" from Dr. Strangeglove.

Please reassure me that it isn't giant, mutant Mole-Men!
Or some fracking side-effect.

Has the local community been pumping ALL of its ground water out of the ground, dropping the water table dramatically? I know some desert towns have done that. Build, build, build, pump, pump, pump themselves dry, then blow away. That might cause some subsidence, but again I would expect local newspapers to be blaming someone, if nothing else.


Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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greene
Sep 28, 2015 7:47 PM CST
Frillylily said:Also any large trees in the area that died in the past...


Lots of good answers and suggestions so far; I especially like the reminder to tie a string to yourself first. Rolling on the floor laughing

Can't say for sure what your have but I would agree with Frillylily that an old tree might just be the answer. I have lived in my place for 14 years. A depression appeared and we called the property owner. He had seen this before and said it was from an old tree that had been cut down many years ago.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Sep 28, 2015 8:15 PM CST
I like the rotting tree explanation too. Another unlikely one is an old grave. Our pasture has a number of small depressions where dead cows were buried.
Porkpal
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Sep 28, 2015 9:41 PM CST
well maybe a pirate stashed gold down there in a hole

Green Grin!

wishful thinking I guess Sticking tongue out
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Sep 29, 2015 5:25 AM CST
Another good reason to dig. Whistling
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Sep 29, 2015 6:39 AM CST
---unless it turns out to be a grave...
Porkpal
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Sep 29, 2015 6:57 AM CST
Jewelry? Gold teeth? Whistling
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
[Last edited by drdawg - Sep 29, 2015 6:58 AM (+)]
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