Dealing with (Lawn) Depression

It’s garden question-and-answer time again! You may e-mail me
questions at [email protected], or you can mail me questions in
care of this newspaper. For a faster, personal response, please
include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
It’s garden question-and-answer time again! You may e-mail me questions at [email protected], or you can mail me questions in care of this newspaper. For a faster, personal response, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Q: As is the case many of the newer subdivisions, the builder put in our front landscape. Where the drainage line is, there’s a distinct depression that runs through my lawn. This elevation change has bugged me ever since we moved in. Is there any way I can smooth out the lawn without having to dig grass out and start over?

A: Ah, you’re not the only one who is bothered by a lawn that is not level. I’ve battled the same thing due to our home builder’s shoddy workmanship.

But all is not lost. You can slowly repair the depression, but it’s going to take time. Go ahead and spread about a 1/2-inch of planter mix and/or sand over the lower part of your lawn. Use a rake to spread it. Let the grass grow for a month or so until it’s popping through the added soil. Repeat the process by adding a little more soil until that great depression is no longer.

Like I said, it may take six months or more to get the lawn level. Of course, it will go faster if you start the process in the spring when the grass is growing fastest. You can do this modification at any time of the year, but it takes longer for the grass to grow through in the winter.

Q: I am struggling with crabgrass and am looking for advice. My front lawn has crabgrass that has taken over the flower bed. I have been so frustrated that I have decided to rip everything out of the flower bed and start over. I’m almost done ripping everything out. I have been spraying the crabgrass with Round-Up. It doesn’t look like it is 100 percent effective, though. I am planning to cover the area with weed cloth before replanting and placing bark on top. Any helpful tips?

– E. G., Gilroy

A: It sounds like you’re doing all the right things – except you might be battling Bermuda grass rather than crabgrass. Bermuda grass has very deep roots and can spread throughout the garden, and crabgrass tends to spread in clumps.

The other difference is that crabgrass disappears in the winter, only to set seeds and return during warm weather. Bermuda grass remains all year long but turns brown in the winter. Whatever the case, keep on re-applying with Round-Up. After spraying, you might try laying black plastic over the area to let the sun “cook” the weed seeds. The plastic can stay on for a month or more. Then, go ahead and follow through with the weed cloth before planting anything else and spreading the bark.

Q: Being a lazy sort, I was wondering if I could mix pest spray with fertilizer and save a step when I spray. How do I know what will mix with another product?

– G.L., Hollister

A: Sorry, but you should never mix products with another to make a spray solution unless it’s actually recommended on the label. One exception is adding a “sticking” agent to sprays to help the spray stick to leaves. Leave the mixing of chemicals to chemists.

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