5 Tips to Avoid Ruts in Lawns

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A rutted lawn is unattractive and difficult to mow. Handling ruts requires both prevention and repair techniques.

1. Vary Mowing Patterns

One of the major causes of lawn ruts is the wheels of your lawnmower. If the lawnmower is pushed along the same path every single time you mow your lawn, then ruts will eventually form. Both the wheels of the lawnmower and your own footsteps trailing behind it can cause ruts. Vary your mowing pattern from week to week. For example, one week you should mow in horizontal stripes and the next choose vertical stripes. 

2. Manage Moisture Levels

When the lawn is dry and the grass is under drought stress, the blades can't recover quickly when they are walked upon. Eventually, they will lay flat and the ground will compress beneath them and form a rut each time you walk the same path. Ruts also form in overly wet soil, as equipment or foot steps will compact down the wet, squishy soil and form a hard crust as it dries. Work with a lawn maintenance service to determine the best watering schedule for your lawn so you can guard against both overly dry and wet soils. 

3. Install Flagstones

If you find yourself and your family always cutting across the lawn at the same place, maybe it is time to stop fighting the ruts. Instead, install a simple flagstone pathway to protect the area against further damage. One benefits of flagstones is that they can still be mown over, so they don't create any challenges when it comes to lawn care. 

4. Schedule Aeration

When ruts are already an issue, repair is necessary. Begin the repair process by having the lawn aerated with special attention paid to the rutted area. Aeration opens up the compacted soil, which allows the grass to begin growing more healthily in the rutted areas. It also slows down the process of future compactions so the rutted areas can begin to recover.

5. Fill Them In

Filling in the ruts is necessary to make the ground level again. Unless you want to tear out the sod and start from scratch, tackle this project over time. Spread topsoil over the ruts so only about 1 inch of the lawn protrudes above the soil. After a few weeks, once the topsoil settles, repeat the process. Continue to add topsoil every few weeks until the ruts have leveled out. 

Contact a lawn maintenance service if you need more help with addressing ruts in your lawn.