Thatch And Compaction: 2 Problems You Can Fix
Over time, little bits and pieces of grass die and gather just above the soil. This is called thatch. A little bit of thatch can be beneficial. It’s organic material that is broken down by microbes in the soil. But sometimes, thatch builds up too fast for natural processes to break it down. It forms a barrier, keeping moisture and air from going where your grass needs it. A half-inch or more of thatch can weaken your lawn. You have 2 ways to remove it: dethatching and aerating.
Why Should You Aerate Your Lawn
It is important to aerate your lawn because it helps to alleviate soil compaction. When the soils are compacted, they have a dense particle population, and this prevents the air, nutrients, and water in the soil from properly circulating. Excess lawn thatch, which is a layer of living and dead turfgrass tissue that has amassed on a lawn surrounding the base of the grass, can also starve the roots from the vital elements.
What Exactly Is Lawn Aeration
Lawn aeration is the process of puncturing the soil with small holes that aid vital elements, such as air and water, to enter the grassroots. This process helps the roots to grow deeply, which in turn produces a stronger and livelier lawn.
The main purpose of lawn aeration is to provide air and breathability to your lawn and the soil underneath it.
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So What Is Core Aeration
Core aeration is a mechanical process, which extracts cores of soil, thatch and grass from the surface of the lawn to increase nutrient availability, water penetration, soil air exchange and reduce compaction. This improves the effectiveness of your TruGreen services and ongoing watering, leading to a healthier lawn.
The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn
For the best results when overseeding, our lawn aeration service advises you aerate before planting. The purpose of aeration is to break up the soil and allow it to breathe. That way new grass roots can penetrate deeper into the soil and have access to more nutrients. When should you aerate cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses?
The trick is to aerate right before overseeding. The best time to have lawn care services aerate your lawn in Midwest locations is usually around August or September. In warmer states, aerate in late spring or early summer.
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Lawn Care : When To Aerate Your Lawn
Spring time! Flowers are growing – green time! It is almost officially spring according to the calendar, hopefully the warmer weather follows. When the weather breaks, it is time for some yard work to make our lawns beautiful for the year. You may be looking at your lawn knowing it needs to be aerated, but you keep putting the treatments off because it seems too hard. Aeration is a simple way to give your yard a healthy lawn. You just have take the time to get it done. You can do it yourself by renting the equipment or you can pick up the phone and hire a professional lawn care company to do all of the hard work. Lets make this the year to aerate. Make your lawn happy and healthy again by relieving compaction. Core aeration is a great way to keep your lawn green and lush, so lets talk about when to aerate your lawn this year.
Aeration: Why How & When To Aerate Your Lawn
In order to achieve and maintain a beautiful lawn, you should employ basic lawn care practices such as properly mowing, fertilizing and watering. It is also important to ensure that nutrients can reach the soil beneath your grass. Aeration can be an extremely vital element to a healthy lawn because it allows air and water to penetrate built-up grass or lawn thatch.
Get rid of thatch and make way for a beautiful lawn with this quick guide to aeration. Youll learn why, how and when to aerate your lawn for the best results.
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Best Time To Aerate And Overseed Your Lawn
Theres nothing better than a lush lawn that lets you spend time with your family in the back yard, laughing and having fun. But, to keep grass healthy, techniques such as overseeding and aeration are important. This leads us to the question, when is the best time to aerate and overseed your lawn?
Overseeding After Aerating Your Lawn
If you have gone to the trouble of aerating your lawn you really should take full advantage of the situation and I feel adding fresh grass seed to your lawn is a good idea after aeration.
When you aerate your lawn it is the perfect time to overseed it as there will be holes all over that the seeds will have a chance to go down.
While it is not vital for the seeds to go down the holes as they will germinate and grow even if they are on the surface and thats where most of the seeds will end up, if you get some seeds down the holes it will be an advantage because those seeds will have a better chance of growing deep roots and a healthy lawn has a deep root system.
Depending on who you ask some people will overseed first then add topsoil and other people will add topsoil and then overseed.
My theory is:
- If you are only adding a thin layer of topsoil you should overseed before you add the topsoil, the seeds will get moved around slightly from spreading the soil but it will cover the seeds so that birds dont eat them.
- If you are adding a thick layer of topsoil you may want to add the seeds after you have evenly spread the soil over your lawn. When you are spreading lots of soil the seeds may get moved around too much.
I normally add a thin layer of topsoil after I overseed so read on to find out about adding topsoil after lawn aeration
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Frequently Asked Questions About Aeration
What is aerating or core aeration?Aeration, which is also called core aeration, is the process of perforating the soil, as well as any thatch layer that may exist, removing a core or plug of soil and depositing that core on the surface to break down.
What are some of the benefits of aeration? Aerating will allow water, air and fertilizer to penetrate all the way down to the root zone. This in turn allows the roots to grow deeper, creating a healthier and thicker lawn. It will also greatly reduce the chances of having thatch buildup. Aeration will reduce soil compaction. If you plan to overseed, it will create an optimal environment for direct seed to soil contact.
How do I know if my yard needs to be aerated?Any lawn can benefit from at least an annual aeration. Any areas of high traffic that look worn, grass that doesnt green up after fertilizing or browns easily in high heat conditions, yards with poor drainage that have standing water after it rains, and homes built on poor subsoil with clay are all excellent reasons to aerate your yard.
When should I aerate and how often?We recommend aerating twice a year in both the spring and fall for most grass types. At a minimum, aeration should be done at least once a year.
What do I do after I aerate?There are a few things you can do right after aerating such as fertilizing, overseeding and watering. What you decide depends on your personal preference and the condition of your yard.
What Is The Best Time To Aerate Lawn In Northeast
Late summer through early fall is the optimal time to aerate your lawn in the northeastern United States. This is because the cool-season turf grasses planted in northeastern regions experience their strongest growth in the fall months. By aerating just before fall, your grass will recover quickly from aeration, suppress weeds, and take advantage of decompacted soil by growing thicker and fuller. Fall aeration also pairs excellently with the optimal time to fertilize and/or overseed your lawn in the northeast.
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What Would Happen If You Aerated A Warm
In most cases, nothing bad. The roots of the turfgrass will probably not grow any faster. But there is still the benefit of helping to reduce compaction. When a lawn is aerated, a certain amount of soil is lifted from the lawn and left back on the lawn.
As these cores are broken apart by mowing or melt into the lawn through rain fall or irrigation, the soil will intermingle with the current thatch layer and start feeding on it to naturally break it down. The only concern would be if abnormally cold temperatures were to occur and the ground were to freeze. This may cause some roots to die that are close to the edge of the core holes.
Fall may be the best time to aerate a cool-season lawn, but in some cases, aeration in spring and fall may also be recommended. If the thatch layer has been built up above a half of an inch over a period of time, spring and fall aeration may be the best choice. Many people like to seed after aeration, but we dont recommend seeding a lawn in the spring, since we cannot apply a crabgrass preventer and the lawn will require more watering than it will in the fall.
The most important condition that can affect the quality of aerating a lawn is the amount of moisture that is in the soil. The lawn has to be moist for the tines to penetrate into the ground. Be sure to either wait until after a good rain fall or provide about a half inch of water to the lawn before trying to aerate it.
What To Expect From Trugreen Lawn Aeration
In addition to a healthy, lush lawn, here are four things to expect from your TruGreen lawn aeration service:
1. Your lawn specialist will remove small plugs of turf, thatch and soil from your lawn.
2. For cool season grasses, your lawn could also benefit from overseeding since aeration creates optimal conditions for seed development and growth.
3. In 1-2 weeks, the plugs break down, feeding nutrients back to your lawns roots.
4. You may begin to see new white roots and seedlings growing in the aerated holes.
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Things To Do After Aerating Your Lawn:
When to Aerate Your Lawn, Bayer Advanced, Web. Accessed Jan. 28, 2016
Day, Julie, Spring Lawn Care Guide, TodaysHomeowner.com, Web. Accessed Jan. 28, 2016
Fresenburg, Brad S. Spring Lawn Care Aeration, Fertility and Crabgrass Control, University of Missouri Integrated Pest Management, Web. March 15, 2012
Juror, Richard and Wallace, Greg, Properly Aerating Lawns, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Web. Aug. 12, 2015
What Is Lawn Aeration When And How To Do It
If you are a novice or seasoned gardener, or simply a homeowner who has an interest in understanding and knowing more about landscaping, you may have heard of lawn aeration even if you have little idea of what it is.
In this article, we will provide an in-depth explanation of what lawn aeration is, why & when you should do it, and provide tips that will help you with the actual process.
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Is Aerating Your Lawn Worth It In The Northeast
Aeration is a crucial part of lawn maintenance. In fact, it might be the most versatile lawn care tool in your belt. In one process, aeration breaks up soil to allow healthy grass root development, removes harmful thatch buildup, introduces helpful oxygen to the soil, sets the stage for overseeding, and allows any fertilizer you apply to penetrate deeply to feed grass roots.
- Aeration is crucial to a healthy lawn.
- Aerating reduces soil compaction, triggers grass root growth, allows fertilizer and oxygen to penetrate the soil, and boosts the effectiveness of overseeding.
- Plan to aerate your yard once per year for optimal health.
For the healthiest possible lawn, aerate annually in fall. If your soil has heavy clay content or is prone to compaction, aeration is the best thing for your grass.
How Often Should I Aerate
How often you aerate your lawn depends on a few factors. Our turf care experts at Timberline recommend once annually, during fall, for the typical lawn. If your lawn is walked on, mowed, or used very often, this will cause additional compaction. Clay soil types tend to compact more than other soils which could increase the need for aeration.
High use lawns may require twice per year aeration, once in spring and once in fall, to keep them healthy and beautiful. However, the opposite is also true. If your lawn is lush, beautiful, and almost never has foot traffic, aerating every couple of years may be the best fit. Its important to remember, aerating to often can cause way more harm than good for your lawn. If youre unsure how often to aerate or what soil type you have, a turf care expert will assist you in determining your lawn care needs.
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When Is The Best Time To Aerate
Aeration is best performed just before or during periods of high growth. However, not immediately preceding or during periods of stress to the lawn. For example, heat or drought. The type of grasses that make up your lawn will determine the best time of year to aerate.
When to Aerate if You Have Cool-Season Grasses: If youre working with cool-season grasses, including bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass, aerating during the growth periods in the spring and fall is best.
When to Aerate if You Have Warm-Season Grasses: For warm-season grasses such as Bermudagrass, buffalograss, St. Augustine and zoysiagrass, aerate during warm times of the year, between late-spring and early-autumn.
Considerations for Aerating in the Spring: In the spring, wait until youve mowed the lawn a few times before aerating. Doing so ensures the lawn will grow fast enough to recover and take advantage of the increased pore space and air exchange at the root zone that aeration creates.
One caveat, says Friell, is that any disturbance of the root zone in the spring can increase weed competition by bringing buried seeds to the surface. Applying fertilizer and a pre-emergent weed killer following aeration can reduce the potential for weed competition and increase the hardiness of the grasses. But dont apply a weed killer if you plan to overseed following aeration. It will prevent germination of the seed you put down.
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- Over time, grass and soil can become compressed and compacted. This creates thatch, which is a thin layer of dead and decomposing grass between growing soil.
- As thatch grows, it prevents air, water and fertilizer from getting to the roots of your grass. This causes it to grow thinner and die.
- Aeration makes holes in the lawn and loosens the soil beneath. This lets oxygen, water and important nutrients reach the roots, resulting in lush, green grass.
- Consider aerating your lawn if it is thin and brown and you have trouble growing grass
- This is also a good option if your grass is subject to heavy foot or vehicle traffic.
- Thoroughly water your lawn a day or two before you begin the aeration process.
- Apply at least one inch of water.
- Use irrigation flags to flag any area of the lawn that contain hidden objects like tree stumps or irrigation heads.
- This will help prevent you from running over them with the lawn aerator.
- Whether you’re using a core aerator or a steel spike aerator, you should cover the lawn completely in one direction and go back over it in a perpendicular motion.
- Spike aerators punch holes in your lawn as you go, while core aerators work to remove grass and soil plugs. We recommend leaving these plugs to decompose on their own, which will probably take about a week.
Tip: A steel spike aerator is ideal for small yards, while a core aerator is designed to handle bigger spaces. Both of these are available at The Home Depot Tool Rental Center.
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How To Best Care For Your Lawn After Aeration And Overseeding
Aeration and Overseeding is one of the best things you can do for your Montgomery County or Chester County lawn especially if your turf has been challenged and stressed by too much rain or drought conditions. Its an excellent way to put your lawn on the right path for a healthy summer next year.
Aeration allows air, water and nutrients to penetrate into the root system for healthy growth. Soil compaction and thatch are the two largest obstacles of beautiful turf. If the roots of your lawn arent healthy, your yard isnt going to look great, even with adequate fertilizer and water. In addition, your lawn is most viable for seed growth after aeration which is why it is smart to combine both services at the same time. Watch our video on Aeration and Overseeding.
Now that youve made this smart decision to aerate and overseed, youll want to take full advantage of this valuable service by knowing how to care for your lawn afterwards. Below are some aerating best practices that should answer any questions you may have when you have your lawn aerated and overseeded.
Aeration and Overseeding After Care
- Soil Plugs. Leave the soil plugs on the lawn to decompose and fill back into the holes left by aeration. If you reseed, the seeds mix with the soil plugs mix better with the non-compacted soil following aeration. Your lawn mower will often break them up and help work them back into the soil within two to three weeks.
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