Lowering a lawn

The grass strip between my sidewalk and the curb, (5' wide x 85' long) has become too high over the years by about 2 inches. I'm thinking of lowering it by renting a sod cutter to remove 2 inches of the lawn, setting it aside, then making a second pass to remove 2 inches of the soil below. Finally, I'll replace the lawn removed during the first pass. Anyone see any problems? What's the best time of the year. I'm in central New Jersey, with freezing winters.
Thanks,
Ray
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Why bother, everything flows down hill , even you....
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Ray wrote:

Should work fine.
It sounds to me like the level may have increased through many years of grass clippings rotting and compost into "more soil".
Then again it may have just been dirt precipitating out of that clean New Jersey air. <G>
You may nhave to do a bit of shovel work along the edges though, and be prepared to lose a little of the existing lawn which may bust off, but you'll have plenty of soil to fill the gaps with, and a little seeding will help those turn green fast.
If it was me, I'd wait until spring to do it.
HTH,
Jeff
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Your plan should work, if you get deep enough to cut below the roots. Nevertheless, do check to see that "hard dirt" actually rises above the sidewalk level. You could just have overgrown thatch due to grass and leaves intertwining over the years, and getting trapped in the carpet of grass. If that is the case, you can rent a thatcher in the spring, not now, and cut all the intergrown part, then scalp the area low-set mower. Grass can take severe shortening if you preserve the roots. Check with a knowledgeable garden person at a nursury or grass business, and get his opinion, given your species of grass, which will be relevant to your NJ area.
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Roger wrote:

Roger,
Thanks for the good points. Yes, the first slice should be deeper to get more of the roots, with the second slice deep enough to lower the lawn by the desired amount.
It's definitely not thatch; I dethatched just a few months ago. The soil level rises over the years from road debris kicked onto it by passing cars, snow plows, etc. Gets to the point where I can't mow it properly because one of the mower wheels is on the sidewalk and the other several inces higher on the crown. The band of grass parallel to the sidewalk gets scalped; of course it doesn't do the blade any good if it hits the soil.
Ray
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Your original idea is good, then. Just wait till spring when soil is softer and grass is eager, and easier to transplant.
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Roger wrote:

Turns out the idea is GITNIP - good in theory, not in practice. I went to the rental place today and explained what I planned to do. While there is clearly no problem with the first pass of the cutter cleanly removing the top layer, the second pass will not result in a nicely sliced layer of soil that can be removed as easily as the first. The grass's roots hold the soil to them; that's why the first pass comes off cleanly. The second pass has few roots, so the soil will merely crumble and require manual shoveling to remove.
Anyway, everything's on hold until the spring.
Ray
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Yep, that's the way to do it. Easiest if you do it in the spring after the grass is growing well.
Ray wrote:

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