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The Lawn Guide
Top Dressing Uneven Lawn
Top Dressing Uneven Lawns

The Problem Of Uneven Lawns

Uneven lawns can be very unattractive and dysfunctional for how we want to use them, and in this article we're going to look into why uneven lawns are a problem, as well as looking to find ways to repair an uneven lawn.

Uneven lawns can be a problem for the lawn owner for several reasons:


  • the lawn doesn't look attractive,
  • the high spots can be scalped back to soil during mowing,
  • the low spots can be missed by the mower, looking uncut and unkempt,
  • greater levels of unevenness can cause accidents,

So let's have a look at the various degrees of the problem and the various solutions provided by both ongoing lawn care and lawn repair methods.


New Lawns

Lawns under 3 months old shouldn't be worried about too much. Often the soil underneath may not have been levelled correctly, in some places the soil may be soft, leaving indentations over time, and in all cases, the turf is almost never cut evenly at the turf farm. So unevenness in new lawns is common.

It is best to leave the uneven lawn at least for a few months after laying if it is the growing season. Letting the soil and lawn settle to give it a chance to repair itself before we jump in and possibly make the problem worse. Regular lawn mowing will also aid in evening out new lawns, especially so if the lawn is being serviced with a Cylinder Mower.


Light Rises In The Lawn

For lawn areas which are slightly raised in small areas, there are a two options:

Use a rotary mower set low, to scalp the offending area down into the soil level, if the lawn is a warm season variety, and it is growing season, then lawn repair should be swift if the lawn is in good health. Cool Season lawns can be re-seeded or new turf of the same variety laid - as these lawn types will not self repair.

Or by using a spade, cut around the around the area first, and then remove the turf from the soil, scrape away some of the soil underneath, and replace the turf.


Light Indentations In The Lawn

Using an inert yellow sand, or clean soil from a nearby garden bed, top dress and even out the indentation, water well.

In most cases, the area of lawn top dressing may need to be reviewed and possibly topped up again a week or two later. The key to this method is to always apply top dressing lightly and in a few applications over time, allowing each application to repair itself prior to the next application.

Do not top dress much more than 1 cm at a time, or the lawn may suffocate. It’s always best to top dress lawns in stages.


Deeper or Larger Lawn Indentations

Top dressing these areas of lawn may result in the lawn dying, or taking a very long time to repair itself, so an alternative method should be looked at.

Using a spade, cut around the area in manageable sized squares, now dig each square out of the area.

Fill in the area with inert sand or clean soil from a nearby garden bed, When you believe you have the right height adjustment, water the soil well, and replace the turf.

Light top dressing may be required to level off the adjoining area, or fill in any holes or inconsistencies.


Larger Protrusions In The Lawn

Remove the turf as outlined in the previous method, and remove excess soil, and replace the turf.


Precautions

Always pay close attention to lawn care of the repaired lawn area until it is fully repaired, this means watering well at the time of the lawn repair, light fertilising and a bit of extra hand watering.

Never top dress to even out lawns with anything other than clean inert sand, or clean soil from the same area where the lawn is grown.

Only top dress lawns, or repair lawns while the lawn is in an active growing season, and has enough time to repair before Winter dormancy. Spring, Summer, and the first half of Autumn are all OK.





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Lawn Fact:
A waxy coating on the grains of soil is responsible for the water repelling effect that is often seen in soils, resulting in poor lawn or plant health. In a similar manner to detergents, Wetting Agents will break down this waxy coating, allowing for easier water absorption and retention. Wetting Agents should be included as a normal part of the maintenance routine of every lawn and applied at least twice a year.
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