leveling a lawn in Portland

Asked April 25, 2019, 1:35 PM EDT

We have clay soil, and an uneven lawn. Mostly small indentations but one larger spot where an old tree was taken out and the root has now decayed under the surface leaving a sunken spot about two feet wide. What is the best material to fill in spots? Thank you.

Multnomah County Oregon lawns and turf landscape design

1 Response

Thank you for using Ask an Expert for help with your uneven lawn.

For small spots, you can add a thin layer (a half-inch) of topsoil (purchased from a bulk soil supplier or found in another part of your yard), and level the area. The grass with grow up through the new soil, to re-establish its crown. If needed, add another half-inch of soil, and repeat the process.

Ask for a loam or sandy loam. Three- or four-way mixes may have too much organic matter in them. Once the organic matter decomposes, you are right back where you started.

For larger/deeper spots, consider cutting off the sod in that spot. A sharp shovel will work to remove a layer about two inches thick. Rough up the area below the piece you removed. Mix with additional soil, and level the area. Replace the sod piece, tamp it down to achieve good contact with the soil. Keep it moist, until it roots in.

Have a good gardening year,