getting rid of bumps in lawn

My lawn has a lot of bumps. They're random, not in a line, and don't seem to be caused by moles or anything like that. I think maybe they have something to do with past or present weeds, or bad times when I'm ashamed to say I let the grass grow until it went to seed. Is there a way to get rid of the bumps, most of them, without ruining the grass?
I thought renting a lawn roller, the thing with the big drum one fills with water and pushes or pulls by hand, would do it if I did so after heavy rains. But someone told me that is primarily for pushing the grass seed under the ground after seeding. Do you think that would work for me and my bumps?
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Yes, that is likely to work quite well for you; if it's a small lawn, since you sound like you'll push it by hand. Or you're a big, strapping lad! Water the ground well and get it softened up (next spring might be a lot better time to try this), it'll work very well. It'd take quite a rain storm to put enough water in to soften the ground much. You need it softened down at least a few inches to get a good, lasting job. Here the "bumps" are caused by both the normal heaving of the ground as it freezes/thaws, plus rodents, wild turkey, a few animals, even some deer visit. We have about 1 1/2 acres of lawn, so I rigged up a 50 gallon drum just for that purpose. Amazingly, it quit leaking the last couple of years too and is water tight now; no more stopping to refill it every 15 minutes <g>. Wherever you rent it from is likely to have recommendations on the best way to use it, how much water, etc.. But, like I said, spring is a better time of year. The bumps will probably tend to come back, though not likely as bad for a couple years. The only drawback I know of to rolling is it can seal the top surface of the ground, meaning you might have to aereate it with one of those spiked rollers after a couple of years of rolling it. Perfectly normal. As for primarily used to push grass seed down, well, that's not really true with all due respect to your friend. Lawn rollers alone don't do a very good job of that. They DO use them to "stitch" new sod together though, so maybve that's what he saw.
Pop
| My lawn has a lot of bumps. They're random, not in a line, and don't | seem to be caused by moles or anything like that. I think maybe they | have something to do with past or present weeds, or bad times when I'm | ashamed to say I let the grass grow until it went to seed. Is there a | way to get rid of the bumps, most of them, without ruining the grass? | | I thought renting a lawn roller, the thing with the big drum one fills | with water and pushes or pulls by hand, would do it if I did so after | heavy rains. But someone told me that is primarily for pushing the | grass seed under the ground after seeding. Do you think that would | work for me and my bumps? | | Meirman | If emailing, please let me know whether | or not you are posting the same letter. | | Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
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In alt.home.repair on Tue, 19 Oct 2004 21:07:42 -0400 "Pop"

I'm 57 and out of shape. By next spring, I'll be 58 and if thinks continue as they are, in moderate shape.
But my whole lot is 1/20th of an acre, and that includes where the house is. :) The house has 700 square feet of floor space per floor, but I don't know how that compares to an acre. OK an acre is about 43,700 square feet, so I have about 2180 sqare feet minus 730 (30 for walls) = 1450 square feet. - the little deck and the bush and tree areas, and the tiny patio = 1250, and even that has been more than I could handle. OTOH you have about 63,000 square feet. :)
And I guess I don't have to do the easement, which is pretty flat and too hard to do anyhow. That's a strip 3? feet wide on 3 sides of the yard that are outside of my fence, that my townhouse neighbors walk on to get the lawn mower from the front yard to the back yard. That might be 360, plus the sidewalk is about 50 = 840 square feet. Wow, that's a lot less than last time I figured it out.

Spring will be fine.

There are frequent rains in Baltimore, and I figured I would wait until a bigggg rain, that's about 3 times a year, and the next day rent the roller. I can use the garden hose too in spots if that helps.

I'm going to assume your reasons are true for me too, but where is "here"?

There are mice and rabbits around here, but I think the fence kept out any foxes or deer. The deer can jump over the fence easily enough, but the only time I've seen them within 100 yards they were in the woods 40 yards away.
We've had a few rats in the last 20 years, but I think they actually live in the big sewer that is quite near. I once saw one in my front yard, before I left for work. I threw 2 hiking boots at it and missed each time, but the rat didn't even move. They don't scare easy. I think to get my boots back, I went back in the house for 5 minutes. :) Speaking of fearless, I once at night had a raccoon in my garbage can outside, and I took flash pictures of it. I figured the flash would make it run away, but it didn't faze it either.

That's cool.

These are 20 years worth of bumps, or maybe 25 counting when the first owner had the house. (He spent loads of time on his bushes and trees, but he didn't say much about the rest of the yard.)
I only noticed the bumps about 5 years ago, so if the yard comes out well, I'll figure it's good for another 15 or 20 years, which will make me 73 or 78. I know people that age who could still do this work, but I don't know if I will. Now I have no aches or pains and take no medicines, and feel like I'm 18 (I was out of shape then too, but got into shape later.) but who knows what the future will bring.

OK, but I'm not going to roll it every year.

Maybe. He won't be offended if I use it for this.
Thanks a lot.

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Comments inline:
posted: | | >Yes, that is likely to work quite well for you; if it's a small | >lawn, since you sound like you'll push it by hand. Or you're a | >big, strapping lad! | | I'm 57 and out of shape. By next spring, I'll be 58 and if thinks | continue as they are, in moderate shape.
Ha ha, 59 here and pretty out of shape, too; as in, forced to retire. DJD mostly. | | But my whole lot is 1/20th of an acre, and that includes where the | house is. :) The house has 700 square feet of floor space per | floor, but I don't know how that compares to an acre. OK an acre is | about 43,700 square feet, so I have about 2180 sqare feet minus 730 | (30 for walls) = 1450 square feet. - the little deck and the bush and | tree areas, and the tiny patio = 1250, and even that has been more | than I could handle. OTOH you have about 63,000 square feet. :)
Used to have that size lawn in Chgo when we lived there (abt 15 years total). | | And I guess I don't have to do the easement, which is pretty flat and | too hard to do anyhow. That's a strip 3? feet wide on 3 sides of the | yard that are outside of my fence, that my townhouse neighbors walk on | to get the lawn mower from the front yard to the back yard. That | might be 360, plus the sidewalk is about 50 = 840 square feet. Wow, | that's a lot less than last time I figured it out.
Dunno; In our neighborhood in Chgo we didn't have easements to worry about, fortunately. Cement walkways separated the houses on two sides with a weed, I mean, fern-filled gravel on each side. Out back was the garage and alley. All we had was around the sidewalk out front, house to street. | | > Water the ground well and get it softened | >up (next spring might be a lot better time to try this), it'll | | Spring will be fine. | | >work very well. It'd take quite a rain storm to put enough water | >in to soften the ground much. You need it softened down at least | >a few inches to get a good, lasting job. | | There are frequent rains in Baltimore, and I figured I would wait | until a bigggg rain, that's about 3 times a year, and the next day | rent the roller. I can use the garden hose too in spots if that | helps.
"Here" is northern NY state, up on the St. Lawrence River across from Canada. It's 55 miles north to Ottawa, 120 south to Syracuse and about as far to Rochester or Buffalo. Beautiful area.
| | > Here the "bumps" are | | ... | These are 20 years worth of bumps, or maybe 25 counting when the first | owner had the house. (He spent loads of time on his bushes and trees, | but he didn't say much about the rest of the yard.) | | I only noticed the bumps about 5 years ago, ...
I'll bet you described the reasons for the "bumps" right there. They are rotted trees, plants, flowers and weeds that were there at one time. The material rots away slowly, becomes porous, collects water and over-expands in the winter, lifting up the bump, which partially fills with surrounding soil when it thaws and the water runs, plus the rotting continues. We cleared a forest area for a camp when I was a kid; parts of it, especially where there were small trees, shrubs, and a sunflower garden looked just like what you seem to be describing. Kick the bumps on top and they felt solid, but knock off the sod and there'd be a soft clump underneath. In the spring though you could almost push them down with a good boot stomp. Don't try that though; it hurts after awhile!! ;-)
You need mother nature to make things as wet as she can for you, esp if you have a water meter! You need a week long rain period for best results; hose and strong storms, the water just usually run along the surface and drains away as opposed to soaking into the soil. I could get our yard in Chgo wetter with a sprinkler than any rain storm we had the whole time I was there. Under the soil was a gravel water run-off area so water would never stand on the grass.
Good luck!
Pop
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In alt.home.repair on Wed, 20 Oct 2004 16:22:29 -0400 "Pop"

We've had days of rain in a row sometimes.

I think mine is mostly clay. I'm told this n'hood was an auto junkyard before houses were built, but mostly I find embedded rocks, large, medium, and small, in the dirt every time I try to plant a bush or tree.

Thanks.
Meirman
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just dig em out and reseed or save the turf and relay it. or mess around with it for a while and end up digging them out anyway.
randy

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In alt.home.repair on Tue, 19 Oct 2004 19:38:04 -0600 "xrongor"
I know myself. I'll never get close to finishing that.

Or that.
Thanks anyhow.

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Depending on how big the bumps are, you can water the lawn, core aerate, then use the drum roller on the high spots.
If the spots are too big to try this approach, simply use your shovel to peel back the grass and top 2" of dirt in the high areas, then remove enough of the exposed earth to level the area.
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In alt.home.repair on Tue, 19 Oct 2004 22:08:08 -0400 "Kyle Boatright"

I don't think there are any big spots. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try to remember to let you guys know next spring or summer how this turns out.

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