We put down sod last year and the kids slip and slide killed it. We now have a yard of hard, unlevel dirt. We live on Long Island where the temps just started to get into the 60's. What is the best way to loosen and level the dirt so we can have a nice lawn for the kids this summer? I just bought the Scotts Step 1 fertilizer which says to use it with grass seed. Any suggestions would be really appreciated. Thank you!
Weg, are you saying you now have no grass...or you have grass but it is on ground that is not level.
Give the lawn--let's call it that, a thorough hard raking with a fan rake. Go over the area first north to south, then go back over the same area, east to west. Don't worry about tufts that are removed, they're not worth keeping anyway. As you rake note where the unlevel areas are---if there is depressions anywhere that should be looked at.
Ask yourself if these areas need some topsoil to level the lawn. One to two inches will not smother the grass....but keep it at that unless you lift the grass and fill the areas with more topsoil.
If you feel its necessary roll it. Use the roller no more than 1/3 full....you should be able to handle that.
Then scatter a good quality grass seed that copies the grass that is there.
Follow the usual methods to bring the seed to germination; sprinkling lightly for the times that the seed requires.
If you wish, fertilize the lawn before seeding to help promote good germination.
Don't let your youngsters on the grass until the time would be suggested to mow the grass. That is usually when the new grass is at least two inches high.
A word of caution....as with dogs, young children who enjoy romping on grass before it has a chance of gaining some strength into the season, is giving them a license to chew it up and waste your efforts.
Let them go to the park---or let them find a chum to romp on their grass--keep the kids off yours for a time.
Go to your counties office of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service where they will be able to give you good advice on what to do.\ where you are.
The sign of a good gardener is not a green thumb, it is brown knees.
Thanks for the replies. I am going outside now to rake, seed and fertilize! Wish me luck!!
You don't indicate how large an area is affected.
I'd take a shovel and loosen the top 3-4" then do the raking. This way you'd have loose soil to rake into low spots.
Then do the seeding, watering. DO NOT MOW until the grass is 3" high. DO NOT mow more than 1/2". For summer maintain the grass @ 3".
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