How to fix tire tracks in lawn is a useful skill that all lawn and turf owners need to have hidden up their sleeves. Sometimes, fixing ruts is as simple as getting rid of the compaction in the soil and lifting it.
The procedure is more time-consuming in the case of tracks produced by heavy vehicles, which run deep. Discover how to best carry out a tire track fixing operation in this guide we have compiled just for you.
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- How Do You Fix Tire Tracks in Lawn?
How Do You Fix Tire Tracks in Lawn?
You can fix tire tracks in lawn by removing grass and sod from it and then using freshly mixed soil in the low spots. In the case of shallow tire ruts, you can loosen the soil and lift it, which will be enough to fix the tracks.
Make sure you are well protected when undertaking this project. Fixing tire tracks will require you to be out on the lawn for the good part of a day, and if it is a scorching hot summer day, then you might be at risk for heat-related injuries or illnesses.
– Gather the Tools You Need
You can only carry out tire fixing within the lawn if you have the right tools. First, you need a shovel to move the soil around or a garden spade if you don’t have the former. Another important tool for this task is the landscaping knife, also known as the edger in the gardening world.
A garden spade or the spading fork helps dig larger tracks and eliminate soil compaction. For bigger tracks, fresh and loose soil, sand, and compost will be needed to fill them in.
Arrange a garden hose with a long pipe unless you already own one. An uninterrupted water source is a prime necessity here, so having a long piped hose will make your task much easier. Lastly, you will need fresh, authentic, and good-quality grass seeds of the variety that is growing in the rest of the lawn to make the tracks disappear completely.
– Pick Out the Perfect Month
One of the most important aspects of fixing tracks made from tires in the lawn is planting new grass seeds.
You can also install brand-new sod on the fixed lawn instead. The timing is of utmost importance for new grass to be successfully grown there. This timing depends on the type of grass that you have growing in your lawn, which will also be grown in the fixed tracks.
Cool-season grasses such as fescue, ryegrasses, and bluegrasses are not fit to be grown in warmer states. These grass varieties need dropping temperatures to germinate and grow with proper lawn care. No matter when you decide to fix the tracks left behind by the tires, cool-season grass will only germinate in late summer until early fall.
The warm-season grass is quite the opposite in this regard. These grass varieties germinate when the temperature is warm and see a growth spurt starting from late spring until early summer. Bermuda, buffalo, zoysia, and centipede will grow into the tracks better from spring until summer.
– Pick Out the Perfect Day
Check out your neighborhood’s weather forecast to select the right day when you will be fixing your lawn’s tracks. During winter, the day should be warm and bright without any chances of snow in the next two days.
If it has snowed or the weather is cold enough for a thaw, then it is better to postpone this task until the spring. The day should not be windy — working with sand, soil, and grass seeds would be hard otherwise.
During summers, any non-rainy day would work, but selecting a day that is not too hot would be easier. Remember that you will be in the sun all day long, so selecting a hot day puts you at risk for heat stroke. At any rate, wear light, breezy clothes, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun, and use ample sunscreen throughout the day.
– Remove Grass Within the Tracks
All crushed and squeezed-out grass blades present within the tire marks must be uprooted next. If the tracks have been made by a particularly large and heavy vehicle, they might even be deep enough to allow a small-sized lawn mower to work. Within a few minutes and with a little bit of tricky maneuverability, you can mow grass within a few minutes.
This is going to be impossible in some cases of tire tracks. That is why it is better and more convenient to use a shovel instead so that grass can be removed along with its roots. These grass blades have already been crushed and killed, and their roots should be removed to make fixing tracks easier.
If you had sod installed previously, see if it can be salvaged and reused. Using a shovel or a landscaping knife, gently lift the edges of this sod. Once the edges have been lifted, remove the sod all in one go and keep it moist until you reuse it; if the sod is useless, it’s easier to use a shovel to cut through it, which will finish its removal within a few minutes.
– Loosen Soil That Has Been Compacted
Whenever a vehicle drives over your lawn, its weight causes the soil to compact under pressure.
All this pressure is delivered to the soil through the tires, so the soil within these tracks will be the most compacted. This compacted soil has to be loosened while fixing deep ruts. This is the only hard part of this process; the older the tracks, the more time it will take.
- The larger the size of your garden fork, the easier loosening the soil will get. Place the twines of the garden fork on the edge of the tracks at an approximate angle of 45 degrees to the ground.
- Your posture will make using the fork easier, so hold it with one hand on the handle and the other near the twines.
- Keeping your back straight, push the fork deep into the soil on the edge of the rut. The more you push down on the fork, the easier the soil will loosen.
- Keep repeating this step over the whole edge of the track until the whole soil becomes loosened.
- When the track is very deep, you will have to dig the same spot deeper and deeper until the entire depth of the track is loosened. You will only have to dig a little because even the deepest tire tracks are barely deeper than four to five inches.
- You can also loosen compacted soil using a shovel instead of a fork, keeping it at an angle of 45 degrees.
– Fill Deep Tracks With Soil
When the track is deeper than four inches compared to the surface of the lawn, it will have to be filled with a fresh soil mix. Use your shovel to remove the first one to two inches of the loosened soil. This is optional, but it is best to do it.
These layers will also contain leftover grassroots that you must eliminate so that new grass can grow in its stead.
- The best combination is mixing equal parts of soil and sand to create an aerating soil mixture. Add an appropriate quantity of a slow-release form of commercial fertilizer or organic compost.
- You can also mix equal parts of compost with soil and add sand in smaller quantities. Compost will help the new grass take root faster and give the soil a better consistency.
- Use your chosen mixture of soil to fill the ditch using the shovel.
- It would help if you poured the mix lightly over the rut and do not push it forcefully. Even while smoothing the surface, do it with a light touch. You want this new soil to stay compact.
– Lift Shallow Tracks
Lifting the well-loosened soil and dropping it down in shallow ruts is enough to fix this problem. The soil needs to ideally be loosened using a fork, and then you can use a shovel to lift it. Once you remove the shovel from underneath, the soil will gently settle down on it while filling the rut naturally.
You can also lift the soil with the fork while loosening it. Do not pat the soil or disturb it for at least two to three days. You want it to stay intact once again. Shallow ruts are tracks that are less than four inches deep and do not require additional soil to fill them.
– Plant New Grass Within the Tracks
Now that the ditch created by the tires has been filled and is level with the rest of the lawn, it is time to plant new grass in it.
In some cases, you can uproot the grass properly along with intact roots and store them in a slightly moist piece of newspaper. This grass can be replanted back within the deep tire tracks again if still viable and is most likely to take root and spread further.
In another instance, if you could lift the sod in one piece without tearing or damaging it, replant it back.
While using a roller to attach the sod to the soil gently, try to be firm without putting too much pressure on it. It helps to first even out the soil’s surface so that the sod fits perfectly over it.
In most cases, you will not be able to salvage either old grass or sod. Do not worry; you can order fresh grass seeds and plant them there.
Now, grass seeds need properly hydrated soil to germinate and grow quickly. You can not water the newly fixed soil for the first few days, but start a twice-daily regime for about three days before superficially sowing fresh grass seeds.
– Do Not Allow Anyone To Disturb the Tracks
The newly fixed tire ruts in the lawn will take about a week or two to become stable enough not to sink back down.
This is especially true when you have only lifted the soil instead of filling the rut. Hence, you and your friends and family must steer clear of the fixed area for at least the first two weeks.
You might think your pet cat or dog is too tiny and lightweight to cause soil compaction, but trust us, they can. It might be challenging, but pets should also no longer be allowed near the lawn for the first two weeks. Not only can they cause compaction of the soil, but their nitrogen-rich pee is toxic enough to kill grass struggling to establish itself in the area.
You should schedule your lawn mowing before fixing tracks formed inside the lawn. At the very least, bring no heavy equipment near the lawn for the next month. Even afterward, we recommend you invest in the lightest lawn mower possible because it will cause the least amount of compaction.
You now know how to fix the tire tracks left on your lawn. Having reached the end of our comprehensive guide on fixing tracks left behind by tires on the soil, it makes sense to review the most important points discussed.
- Fixing tire tracks can be done simply by using a garden fork, a shovel, and freshly mixed soil in case of deep ruts.
- Shallow ruts are classified as less than four inches deep, and these can be fixed just by loosening and lifting the compacted soil using a gardening fork.
- When you have ruts deeper than four inches, they will need new soil that can be used to fill them after carrying out soil loosening.
- We like to mix soil by taking equal measures of soil and compost and then adding sand for better air drainage.
- To prevent these tracks from forming again, never mow grass when the soil is wet, and do not bring any other vehicle on your lawn, especially heavy machinery.
Tire tracks formed in a lawn do not give the best appearance and aesthetic. After reading our guide, we hope you have gained the confidence to finally get up and get rid of those irritating tracks!