lawn - Knowledgebase Question

Question by grettamax
March 11, 2010
the lawn is very lumpy now. The ground has overturned along the sides of the driveway, sidewalk,and patio. ground does not look the same.. 5 years at our new home. other neighbors have noticed their yard change also... what is this? what is going on ?

Answer from NGA
March 11, 2010


The ground can heave with the weather and cause lumps, or you may have a population of gophers or moles - especially if you see mounds of dirt in yard or raised soil that looks like tunnels. You can smooth out a lumpy, bumpy yard by rolling it or by spreading top soil over the low spots to help level the yard. You can spread it right over any grass that is growing in these areas. The grass will eventually grow through the topsoil. If you want it to green up sooner you can broadcast grass seeds over the top soil. I've tackled a similar project and it isn't too difficult except for hauling the top soil (I used a wheelbarrow). I used a shovel to drop soil over the low spots, raked it around and then checked the level by dragging a 6' 2"X4" over the lawn. When I was satisfied I had filled in all the holes and ruts, I reseeded, sprinkled a thin layer of peat moss over the reseeded areas to help keep the grass seeds moist. Grass will sprout in 7-10 days if kept from drying out. In 4-6 weeks your lawn should look great. Moles and gophers are a different challenge. The critters tunnel through the soil feeding on grubs, worms and beetles. Sometimes they chew through plant roots and bulbs, causing damage to the plants. The best way to control these pests is by trapping. Invest in one or two scissors-type traps and set them in the active runs. The best approach is to use a stiff metal probe (like a straightened wire coathanger) to find the main runs. Start at a mound of soil and explore the ground with the probe, finding the longest tunnel. You'll be able to tell by whether or not the probe penetrates into the soil easily. Short tunnels are used infrequently, so your best chance of trapping will be by placing a trap in a frequently used main run. Once you've found a likely tunnel, set the trap and cover it with a section of turf or a board to exclude daylight. Keep setting the trap until you stop catching moles and gophers. It may take an entire season, but persistence pays off and eventually you'll reduce the population of the creatures. Healthy soil naturally has a large population of insects. As long as the insects inhabit the soil, moles and gophers will be attracted. Wish there were an easier way to eliminate moles and gophers from the landscape.

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