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.
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.
My name is Jeff Wisnia and I approved this message....
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.
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.
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.
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