Repairing Tire Marks on Your Lawn

By Tammie Jo , last updated June 21, 2011

Wheel barrows or lawn mowers can cause tire marks on your lawn that require repair if you consistently follow the same path each time you use them. Having a car or truck park on your grass can also cause an ugly mark. Tire marks are caused when the weight of the vehicle compacts the soil, especially if it has recently been watered, and then the tread of the tires can rip and tear the grass from its roots when the vehicle is moved. No matter how they get there, tire marks can leave deep, bald ruts in your grass and ruin the look of your well-manicured lawn.

If possible, wait until spring to repair tire ruts in your lawn. Temperate spring weather gives grass seed the best chance to establish strong roots and healthy foliage. Planting lawn seed at the peak of summer heat or when freezing temperatures are possible is essentially a waste of time and seed.
Gather all of your supplies before starting. You’ll need lawn seed, topsoil, starter fertilizer, a thatch rake, a shovel, hoe and sterile straw. Keep in mind that the new grass will need to be watered often so provide a hose or water source that is easy to access. Purchase seed that is the same type that’s already growing in your lawn. If you don’t know what type of grass is in your lawn and you can’t identify it, purchase an all-purpose seed mixture. Be aware that there are patching products that combine seed, fertilizer and mulch in one, but they may not include a type of grass seed that matches or blends with your existing lawn.
Remove all weeds and dead grass from the rutted area. Use your thatch rake to loosen the compacted soil and puncture it with holes for drainage. Fill the rut with topsoil to a level that is even with the rest of the lawn. Spread grass seed over the soil according to the seed package directions and then sprinkle a scant ¼-inch layer of soil over the seeds. Tamp the seeds down lightly with the palm of your hand or the back of a hoe. Apply the starter fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Moisten the soil with a light mist or sprinkle. The topsoil should be evenly moist to the touch without being “wet.” Scatter a light ½-inch layer of sterile straw (straw that has been screened for weed and weed seeds) over the seeds. Keep the repaired area evenly moist for the next two to three weeks until seeds have germinated. Do not let the seeds dry out. Once germinated, water less frequently but more deeply. However, never over-soak the seedlings or they will be susceptible to rot.
Keep people and pets off of the new seedlings until the grass is approximately 3 inches tall. Once it has reached this height, the patch can be mowed and treated just like the rest of the lawn. Avoid using additional fertilizers or weed control products on the area for a few months until the grass is completely established.
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