I recently augured two holes in my yard for posts. I was not able to keep all the debris contained. I cleaned up what landed on a board I laid down and the large piles with a shovel. I raked up as much of the remainder as I could. There are still patches of heavy clay soil covering my grass. I admit my workmanship and planning was a bit sloppy, controlling the waste while digging would have been smarter.

I think the right tool for this job is a rake. I don't see how to scoop up such small quantities with a shovel without scalping the lawn.

How can I efficiently clean up this debris?

Is there some way to break it down and disperse it onto the lawn?

  • Rake it into a pile, get up what you can, spread the rest out with the rake and a broom or brush, spreading it widely as far as possible over the top of the grass, so it more or less disappears.
    – Bamboo
    May 2, 2017 at 18:53

2 Answers 2


Small volumes will disperse of themselves, given time - even larger ones if you have frosts (that freeze the water in the clay so it expands and 'shatters') but, yes, a rake should gather together any clods without damaging the grass.

Piled up a shovel should then be safe to use. What little remains might either be picked up by hand (it should be cohesive enough) or if friable, just left.


Get a hose and wash it off. Save some wear and tear on your grass and yourself. The extra soil spread and washed into the sod is great. Next time, grab a cheap plastic tarp to throw any debris or soil or whatever...easier than using a wheelbarrow you don't have to lift the soil up so high and holds more debris like branches, pulled weeds more securely as you drag your tarp to the compost pile or truck. Tarps were our tool of choice instead of wheelbarrows, trash cans for landscape maintenance. You only have to deal with the weight of a tarp and the debris not a huge trash can or wheelbarrow. Once you get to transporting a whole lot of soil, however, you will want that wheelbarrow. Tarps and plywood are also great to protect sod and soil and graveled areas if there will be a lot of construction traffic, heavy machines. I should say also that tarps should not be used for heavy machines like backhoes, trucks...dumb of me. Tarps easily get wrapped around the axle and what a headache.

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