I received this question by email in January 2017. It is about an unusual garden invasion from cows, and if the company repairing the lawn is going about it correctly
Lawn care question
Sorry to bother you but you appear to know about lawns!
About 12 weeks ago 20 cows got into our garden and had a bit of a party! The insurance company suggested a company who would do a good job of sorting it out.
They came and filled most of the deeper holes with earth and then spread some grass seed. About 5 weeks ago they came back and went over the whole thing with a vibro roller. All this seems to have done is stop the water draining away.
They propose coming back in march with a scarifier and to add more seed.
Do you think this will work?
P.S. Actually they will use hollow tine equipment!
Fixing a lawn after invasion by cows
No problem. Thanks for asking.
Sounds like a lot of damage has been done! Repair from cow damage is not a common question, but I’ll have a go.
The only thing I would be concerned about with the repair is their use of a vibro-roller.
I would normally not recommend rolling the lawn at all, and especially after putting down new soil as the structure of the soil will be compacted and the new seed may struggle to put down a root. Especially as it has already been trampled by heavy animals.
You say that the garden now does not drain very well. That is worrying and is likely a result of rolling and compacting.
Patience is your key
Obviously this does depend on a lot of things. If you have a sandy soil and they only used a light machine to light firm the soil and it has recently rained a lot in your area causing puddling then it may be OK. However, if you have a clay soil, a heavy roller was used and (even worse) if it was wet then you will certainly have some soil structure problems.
It is very much out of season and you are unlikely to see any sign of recovery until well into spring anyway.
To try and investigate the soil compaction, push a strong garden cane or straight stick into the ground. If it goes quite deep without too much force, then all is good. If you have to lean on it at all to get it into the ground, then you may have a compacted soil. Just a guide though.
I would tend to give your repairers the benefit of the doubt at the moment and wait to see how recovers around May / June time. If you are seeing good growth from new grass then, then you should be okay and should get full recovery. If not, then you may have to make some further enquiries.
I hope this is helpful, let me know how it gets on.
Thanks again for your question.
The Lawn Man