Which soils for levelling establish lawn?

Asked September 25, 2020, 2:23 AM EDT

I have a healthy lawn but it needs some smoothing to remove ruts from the lawn mower wheels. One particular area is especially annoying since it gets more water, partly because of my neighbor's slope. I have just used my new electric dethatcher and plan to proceed soon, then overseed for the heck of it. I have good soil, I think it's sandy loam. I was thinking of using a 70/30 sand/top soil, or sand/compost. I know all sand might be easier, but am afraid to create layers and block pores in the soil. I looked today and am now leaning towards top soil and compost. So, what do you say? If sand is part of the formula, what type do you like? Should I get a coarse sand so not to block porosity of the current soil? Does regular screened top soil have enough nutrients for this job. Again, I am ok to blend some sand for ease of application and to help avoid clumps. Best regards,

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response


Thank you for using the Ask an Expert service. Sorry for the slower response. We had a conference and a deadline last week.

I would suggest getting a soil test that tells you the soil texture and then at least roughly matching the soil that you have with the soil that you add to level the lawn. It seems likely that adding topsoil will be the best option, but I would suggest the soil test. It could also be good to add a thin layer of compost over everything, to gradually add more organic matter to your soil. I do not think you need to add pure sand, and the turf specialist agreed. He thought that adding just sand would likely create unwanted layers, and probably not fix the problem in the long run.

You might want to consider whether you need to add a drainage system, or want to add different plantings in that wetter area, like rain garden plants.

Please let me know if you have further questions. Visit homesoiltest.msu.edu for more information on soil testing at MSU and for the link to purchase a soil test kit self-mailer.

Regards, Irene