How to fix holes in lawns

Holes in LawnLawns with holes are not only unpleasant to look at, but they are also a safety hazard for mowing, walking and playing.

Many situations cause lawns to become uneven – some are preventable but others are not. The good news is that you can easily fix these problem areas in lawns.

Learn common causes of holes in lawns and how to fix them.

Common causes of holes in lawns:

Mowing: If you follow the same pattern every time you mow you will eventually compact the soil beneath the mower wheels, creating ruts or holes.

Wet soil: When soil is wet and mushy and you add a heavy or rolling object – such as children on bikes, a wheelbarrow or a lawnmower – and you get ruts and holes. This is one reason it’s vital to avoid mowing when soil is wet.

Heavy equipment: Maybe you had trees lopped or pruned or mulch or soil delivered. The wheels alone wreak havoc with a lawn, forming ruts and holes. If the equipment had hydraulic platforms extended for stability, you’ll also wind up with compacted soil that forms low spots.

Pets and kids: When holes appear in a lawn and there’s loose soil scattered around the hole, the culprit could be the family dog or children.

Tree stumps: Having a tree stump removed creates a low spot in the lawn. Any remaining underground wood eventually rots. At that point, the ground can suddenly collapse, creating a sinkhole-like depression.

Buried debris: When a hole appears in a lawn and there’s no loose soil as evidence of digging, the most likely cause is soil subsidence. Buried trash that finally rots or decomposed tree roots can cause soil collapse.

Tips for fixing lawn holes:

Timing
The best time to repair ruts and holes in the lawn is when grass is growing most strongly. That means late spring or during a mild summer for warm-season grasses.

Soil mix
To fill in lawn ruts and holes blend planting soil with sand and/or compost. Usually blending equal parts of each material forms a mix that allows grass to root effectively through the mix into existing soil. Check with your local lawn care specialist or garden centre for specific soil recommendations for your area.

Ruts
If grass is still present in the rut pry up the grass with a digging fork. If ruts are shallow, lifting the turf so it’s 2 to 5cms above the surrounding ground may be enough. Give it time to see if it settles evenly with surrounding turf. Otherwise, treat it as a low spot.

If there’s no grass present in the rut, loosen soil before adding more soil. Stick a digging fork into soil beside the rut at a 45-degree angle so the fork’s tines are beneath the rut. Gently lever soil up by pushing down on the handle and fill the rut with your soil mix and water.

Low Spots
When you’re dealing with a low spot more than a about 2.5cms lower than surrounding grass, lift any sod that’s still present. Fill in the hole with soil, mounding it about 2.5cms higher than the surrounding ground. Replace the grass, pat it down lightly into place and water. The grass should eventually settle into place.

Big Holes
For large holes deeper than 60cms, if turf is still present, remove it and set it aside to replant later. Fill the hole with broken bricks or large stones and cover with soil, bring the soil level to 2.5 to 5cms above the surrounding ground. Set saved sod into place.

Contact Harden Park Lawns to learn more about how to fix holes in your lawn or to order additional lawn to fill missing turf during or after repairing holes.