Clearly, farming takes a lot of hard work and involves a wide variety of tasks that the non-farmer may not consider. A lot of times, as a farmer you have to be your own road maintenance crew. That's why we thought it'd be helpful to make a video on how to fix potholes on a gravel driveway.
In the general form, dirt driveways tend to be smaller in size compared to brick driveways or asphalt driveways. However, the dip in the road or driveway surface caused by potholes can be quite the nuisance. There are three simple steps that allow for easy filling and smoothing potholes on dirt and gravel driveways. Watch our video below to learn the best method for fixing a pothole on gravel driveways.
What is a pothole?
What causes a pothole? Most potholes on a dirt or gravel driveway are caused by simple water displacement. This water comes from groundwater as well as rainwater drainage issues. As the water changes temperature and thus expands and contracts, the aggregate in your gravel or dirt driveway will become displaced and create a compacted ring. That ring is the basis of a pothole.
Remember that potholes can not be fixed themselves, but can get larger and deeper all on their own. We recommend fixing the problem as soon as possible to save you and your vehicles some pain.
Best tools for fixing potholes in gravel driveways
In this video, Mike is using a Ditch Witch. Now we are well aware that this is likely not the best tool you have on your farm for this job. When you have a skid steer or a tractor, there's not much use for a Ditch Witch! But that's what we're working with on our property. If nothing else, this shows you the variety of tools with which you can fix potholes.
Gravel Driveway Maintenance- Fixing Potholes
Before you Start - Remove Debris From Potholes
Before tackling a pothole on your gravel driveway, remove any large loose stones or other debris that may cause damage to your machinery.
Step 1 - Break it Up
This is what most people overlook! You have to completely rip out and break up a pothole for it to not re-form once more water fills it up. You have to rip our the hardpan and actually create a much bigger hole. Remember that compacted ring we were talking about earlier? These firm edges has to be completely broken apart in order for the pothole to truly go away.
The area that you tear up needs to be at least double the size of the pothole itself. In the case of our video, Mike dug up an over 4x4" area to handle a 2x2" pothole. This is so the compaction can be completely dispersed. We recommend cross ripping- tear up the pothole one way, and then the other. Cut the edges of the hole straight down as much as possible.
Step 2- Fill it In
Step two is get the large pieces of aggregate broken up and compacted back into
the are where the pothole used to be. Run the area over a few times to get the more coarse gravel back into place.
Step 3 - Level it Off
Lastly, pack in smaller aggregate to level off the area. We recommend using a really fine aggregate. In this example, we used granite dust. Be sure to use enough gravel to achieve your desired level of evenness across your driveway surface. Voila! One less pothole to be jostled by when you use your road.