Lumpy Lawn 911

Credit: Flickr / rfduck

Q: We live in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The property backs onto Buttertubs Marsh Bird Sanctuary. Our lawn is an eyesore and very difficult to walk on. I was going to say it has lumps everywhere, but perhaps a better description would be it has dips everywhere. They are about 10 cm wide and 6 cm deep and no grass grows in them. When we moved in two years ago my partner ordered some soil from a nursery, spread it and rolled and reseeded the lawn. It was not bad for a while and then the lumps or dips started again. I don’t know if the two are related but we have another problem in our yard. This spring there was an infestation of thousands of tiny white flies. We did notice them last year but this year was particularly bad.

There is not enough information given so I am going to take a wild guess since I have not encountered this type of problem. The dips and the insects could be related or two separate problems.

If possible try to capture the insect in question and have it identified by a specialist, e.g., local garden centre or nursery (hopefully the staff might recognize the insect). The insects could be the “ground nesting bee,” which are beneficial for pollination. Insects should be considered harmless unless proven otherwise.

The soil condition must be determined, e.g., is there proper depth (min. 10 to 15 cm of soil), adequate drainage, optimum soil texture. Other factors necessary for a successful lawn are correct soil pH, light exposure, grass types appropriate to the conditions they are growing in, etc. Dips, holes and unhealthy lawns can also result from skunks looking for grubs, worms or other insects. Review cultural and environmental conditions to improve chances of growing a successful lawn.