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Filling ruts in lawn

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Sep 24, 2013, 05:53 PM
Filling ruts in lawn
Didn't think I'd ever be asking how to enhance my lawn, but I'm in that situation now. A tree cutting service just clear cut what used to be a garden and became overgrown with junk trees. They brought their heavy trucks through the back yard to shorten the almost 200' distance from the far end to the location of the chipper.

The trucks left deep ruts in the lawn, not that I really care about the looks but it will be difficult to mow what's still at ground level.

What's the best way to fill the ruts? I was thinking of filling them with the chopped leaves and debris from the clear cut, but that wouldn't create stability enough for a lawn mower. I prefer not to buy several bags of top soil as I don't want to put money into a lawn, but I can't think of another option.

It may not even be an issue for long if we have an early frost, but I'd like to address the issue anyway.

Thanks for any suggestions.
Sep 24, 2013, 08:07 PM
I believe the trucks compacted the soil and thus created the ruts. I would till the ruts to un-pack the soil. Once you get past the compacted soil it would eventually level out with rain and normal traffic, as well as when it gets a snow load
Sep 24, 2013, 09:37 PM
That is work that you certainly had not planned for.Frown

When we had the bucket truck in our yard last summer, they drove on large pieces of plywood, moving them ahead of the truck wheels. Too bad they did not do so for you.
As nona mentioned, roto tilling or (heaven forbid) hand tilling may be the cheapest way to get your packed soil, unpacked.
Even many bags of topsoil are just not going to go very far.
Sep 25, 2013, 09:52 AM
I would get a load of screened improved (with compost) top soil delivered and fill it in with that. You could also spread it around on top of the existing lawn and reseed.

It is reseeding time here, not sure about where you live.

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Sep 25, 2013, 09:54 AM
Conrad, I hadn't planned to clear cut the land or fix the ruts (never even thought about them) but in the short and eventually long run the clear cutting will probably be the best way to move ahead, and it gives me more gardening space. I had planned to do the clear cutting myself but that would have taken weeks.

However, now that it's back to basics I have a lot of new gardening ideas to implement, so it's actually turned out to be a really great motivator for me to get some gardening and hardscaping done before winter.

Never thought of plywood but it makes a lot of sense. The yard next door is going to be clear cut as well, but it's the abandoned house so I don't really care whether the lawn is messed up or not.

I think I see some double digging as a cheap alternative to tilling in my future. Dad has one of the big old tillers but I'm not sure it even works anymore. Took another look again this morning; there are about 8 different sets of ruts, some of which are about 20' or longer.

Still, I have no complaints. This was a hard job, the guys did a lot more than they had do so all in all I'm not dissatisfied. In a few minutes they took out trees that would have taken me hours of outdoor work and plenty of indoor time with heating pads and Motrin.

Maybe I should just hope for an early frost which would quickly alleviate the need to worry about mowing? Wink

Thanks to both of you for your suggestions.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
Sep 25, 2013, 10:02 AM
Originally posted by Sparky617:
I would get a load of screened improved (with compost) top soil delivered and fill it in with that. You could also spread it around on top of the existing lawn and reseed.

It is reseeding time here, not sure about where you live.

Didn't mean to exclude you in answering my last post; we posted at just about the same time!

Top soil would definitely be an easier way to go. I was in fact thinking about this, or maybe just taking some soil from the clear cut area for filler (which is about 9500 square feet), then reseed.

I've never seeded the lawn so I'm not sure what's a good time or not. For the past 25 years or so we've had hard frosts between Oct. 15 and 17, so the seed might have a few weeks to grow if I get it in next week.

But in the last 5 years or so, we sometimes don't have hard frosts until November.

Still, it's worth a try. Today is a day of rest - it was hard and tiring watching guys work all day long cutting trees! (And I kept thinking that I'm glad it's them doing the work and not me.) So I'll start in a few days to see what I can accomplish with the suggestions from the 3 of you.

Thanks for your help.
Jan 03, 2014, 01:30 AM
Filling ruts in lawn

Ruts may create during remodeling to your home, from trucks unloading supplies in the garden. Ruts can also create naturally through water break down. Regardless of how you acquired ruts in your garden, they can become an undesirable blunder, filling with flat water and reproduction several. Fill the ruts in as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your garden. The best method to use relies on the detail of the ruts.
Jan 03, 2014, 11:56 AM
Really James?
I would just opt to lay out spammers in the ruts, especially the wordy ones that make no sense. Drive over them a couple of times. Allow the worms and bacteria to do their job, and add more Spammers if necessary. By spring many of the ruts would be well as the spammers. Volunteer??
Jan 03, 2014, 06:00 PM
Conrad, that's hilarious. Hahahahahahaha!!!

Recycling is the most eco-friendly way to dispose of spammers and actually make positive use of them.
Apr 01, 2014, 11:15 PM
GardenSprite, just noticed last post was back in January. Also noticed, nowhere does it say where you are from except for the fact of cold winters. i don't know if it is an option where you live but, here in our area, the City garages recycle tree trimmings, etc. and offer the compost for public use. Some municipalities charge by the truckload, others don't. They do all the turning, etc. so you get good healthy dirt! There may still be some pieces of wood in it but, you'll have that.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life
Apr 02, 2014, 10:57 AM
Rich, I'm in SE Michigan, zone 5a, almost as cold as Swschrad's MN icebox state! Big Grin There are still some snow piles in yards on my street.

Other priorities last year prevented any work on filling the ruts. From what I can tell of the thawing ground, there has been significant rebound, and it looks as if I might be able to just let the ruts continue to fill naturally as the soil returns to normal level.

It's interesting you mentioned city compost. If I had any confidence in the city officials to even know how to compost, that would be an option. But they aren't oriented toward gardening, let alone organic composting, so I would be concerned what other residents might have thrown in that could end up in my yard.

I'm also mulling over the idea of just planting in the ruts then turning under the growth. It might be a way to run my pumpkins - the vines would easily fill up the ruts, then I'd just turn them under in the fall.

I appreciate the suggestions though. I had even forgotten I posted about this.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
Apr 02, 2014, 12:00 PM
we are expecting another 6-12 inches of unbearable, murderous snow tomorrow and friday up here in Da Nort, ya sure.

hardpan ruts are an issue, because over time if you fill them in, you will have raises in the lawn. maybe not in your time, but over time. depends on how active the mice, worms, etc. are in your soil.

I'd frankly till them, then get a lawn roller and do the whole lawn. then fill in with some topsoil and reseed or resod where needed.

that's a season-long job DIY, and a couple thousand dollar job to bring in a crew for the day. how many couple, don't know.

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Apr 02, 2014, 02:54 PM
Originally posted by swschrad:
we are expecting another 6-12 inches of unbearable, murderous snow tomorrow and friday up here in Da Nort, ya sure.

Well, better you than me! Big Grin Big Grin Sorry; I'm sure you're just as sick of massive snow piles as everyone else in the snow belt.

Thanks for your perspective on the ruts. Your advice is good, but I only want to fill the ruts so I don't trip while mowing the lawn. I really don't care about the lawn other than as a grass producer for my compost pile.

I am definitely not a "lawn" person. In fact for years I've been planning to replace the grass either with a Knot Garden or with an herbal ground cover or something that doesn't require any lawn mowing. The only reasons I haven't replaced the grass are because of time, labor (mine) and unfinished designs.

I'm sure I stand alone on this position, but I'd rather have something growing that's edible or decorative.

For the time that it would take to properly repair the lawn, I could plant my entire garden and enjoy a lot of homegrown organic food. And for the cost, I could put up a fence and block out the neighbors (something very desirable now that the yard is clear cut).

But thanks for sharing your thoughts.

And don't put that shovel away yet!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,