There are many reasons why you would have tire tracks or ruts on your lawn. It may be your fault for mowing your lawn when the grass is wet or someone else pulled their car on it and caused the damage. The good news is there’s a way to fix it and how to avoid such a situation again.
Tire tracks are best repaired when the grass is in its growth stage during spring for warm-season grasses and early fall for cool-season grasses. The time of the year you choose to repair the tire tracks can greatly influence whether your grass flourishes afterward. If your lawn is damaged during winter, wait until the weather warms up because most grasses grow slowly when it’s cold and won’t take hold.
How to get rid of tire tracks on your lawn
How you fix tire marks on your lawn will depend on the type of tire marks on your lawn.
Shallow tire ruts
These types of tire marks that are less than 4 inches deep are fairly easy to fix.
- Take a spade fork and loosen the compacted soil in and around the ruts.
- Insert the spade fork at the edge of the rut at a 45-degree angle and push it gently press on the fork handle to lift the sod till it’s about 2 inches above the surrounding sod.
- Continue around the mark inserting the fork and lifting the sod until it’s about an inch above the rest of your lawn so when it settles it will be the same level as the surrounding area.
For deep tire ruts
If a heavy vehicle went over your lawn, especially when it was wet, the process will be a bit more involving to correct the tire ruts.
- Place a spade fork 45 degrees along the edge of the rut, but push the fork a bit more into the ground to loosen the compacted soil.
- Use a garden spade or edger to cut the grass at the bottom of the tire rut lengthwise. Make sure you cut through the thatch into the soil. Press gently on the handle to lift the sod.
- Use the fork to fold back the sod over onto your lawn ad use a spade to turn over the soil in the rut to make it loose so that new grass will have a chance to take root and flourishing.
- Create a balanced mixture of your topsoil and sand or compost so that the area will drain well and be more resistant to compacting in the future.
- Fill the tire track with the mixture until it’s about 1-2 inches higher than the rest of your lawn. Fold the sod back on the newly laid soil and press down firmly so that the grassroots come in contact with the soil underneath. After the ground settles it will be level with the rest of your lawn.
- Often you’ll need to reseed the area, but make sure you use the same variety of grass seed and use a rake to carefully spread the seeds evenly. Water the area regularly to allow the grass to take root and flourish.
How to prevent tire tracks from your lawnmower
Don’t mow when it’s wet
Mowing your lawn after it has rained or after watering your grass is the most common reason why you’ll find tire tracks on your lawn. The wet soil is loose so it can’t support the weight of your mower and this causes the wet soil to sink and create nasty marks on your lawn. Wet grass doesn’t stay upright which makes it difficult to cut it with your mower so it’s best to wait till your lawn has dried properly.
Don’t overinflate the tires on your lawnmower
Make sure you put the recommended amount of air in your mower tires to avoid overinflating them so that their tread patterns don’t bulge outward from the middle of the tread. The tires will also have less surface area that will come in contact with the soil so that all the weight of your mower is put on a narrow surface. Generally, keep the pressure in your mower’s tires at 10 psi for the rear wheels and 14 psi for the front wheels.
Avoid using the same pattern to mow every day
If you follow the same route around your lawn when mowing, you’re compacting the soil on each mow and this causes the grass on that pattern to grow slowly. This leaves visible tire marks on your lawn, but you can switch it up and use a different mowing route each time to give the ground time to recover. Changing up your mowing pattern makes beautiful designs on your lawn that make it look like a super bowl stadium.
Don’t use aggressive tire treads on your mower
If you’re going to be mowing a hilly part of your lawn, you’ll need a mower with aggressive tire treads to provide extra traction, but otherwise, you don’t need them to mow a regular lawn. Aggressive treads tend to sink deeper into the soil and damage or uproot your grass leaving tire tracks all over your lawn.
Avoid tire spinning
Tires spinning in place is a common problem with riding mowers because they’re heavy and you can’t push them forward if your lawn surface is steep. Your mower will spin in place if the grass is wet, you’re mowing on a steep hill, you’re using the wrong gear, and your tires are bald with no traction. To avoid spinning regularly check the treads on your tires, avoid taking very sharp corners when mowing uphill, and use shorter gears to provide more torque so you don’t get stuck.
Although mowing your lawn is important and a part of lawn maintenance, you should be careful when using your lawnmower to avoid damaging your grass and soil in the process. While it’s easy to fix the damage caused by your lawnmower tires it’s better to avoid causing the damage in the first place.