Just like people, lawns need to fresh air to stay healthy. But when the soil underneath your grass gets compacted, less air and nutrients can get through, causing problems with your grass. The solution is aerating your lawn. Core aeration is a process that involves removing plugs, or cores, of soil from the ground in order to allow air, water and nutrients to reach more places in the soil. The lawn care specialists at The Yard Barbers know that core aeration is an important part of lawn maintenance and want to help keep your yard beautiful at all times.
Compacted soil and thatch are the main reasons that lawns need to be aerated. Compacted soil occurs as things walk or move over the lawn. Over time, a layer of dead plant material called thatch can build up on your lawn. This layer of dead grasses sits between the healthy, green grass on top and the roots below and prevents water and fertilizer from reaching the root system. Thatch also provides a great environment for bugs and pests to thrive, where they can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden.
Thatch and compacted soil are most common on grassy areas that see heavy foot-traffic such as homes with children and pets. New construction homes may also have problems with compacted soil due to recent construction traffic on the land. Lawns that having different layers of soil, such as those with imported sod, may also see these problems.
Almost every lawn can benefit from annual core aeration, but there are some lawns that need it more than others. Yards with clay-heavy soil underneath the grass will likely need core aeration more often than others because clay in the soil gets compacted more easily. If there has been any recent construction on your property such as adding a building, driveway, or pool, it is likely that the grass and soil were compacted by heavy machinery and your lawn could benefit from aeration.
One way to see for yourself if your lawn needs to be aerated is to use a shovel to dig up a small plug of grass. If there is more than a half inch of thatch built up or the roots are less than two inches deep, it will benefit from core aeration.
There are two types of lawn aeration machines: spike aerators and core aerators. Spike aerators simply punch holes in the ground using spikes, while core aerators use hollow tines that pull plugs, or cores, of compacted soil up from the ground. The professionals at The Yard Barbers will use a core aerator to remove plugs of soil 2-3 inches long from the ground every three inches or so. These holes will allow water and nutrients to reach the roots further down. The machine is run over the entire area, using multiple passes if necessary to ensure that the entire yard benefits from this service. This process works best when the ground is moist, but not wet or muddy. The plugs of soil will break down in a few weeks and filter back down into your lawn. A light raking or pass with a lawnmower will help to break up these plugs and ensure a more even redistribution.
After core aeration, it is important to continue regularly scheduled maintenance such as mowing, watering, and fertilizing to keep your yard looking its best. It is also recommended that you overseed or fertilize your lawn after core aeration as the opening in the ground provides deeper access for the seeds and fertilizer.
The best time for core aeration is during seasons of high growth, when the grass can easily regrow to fill in the holes. Mid-spring and early fall are the most popular times for core aeration. Many homeowners choose to overseed their lawns after aeration to take advantage of the better seed-to-soil contact that core aeration offers. Combining the services gives the seeds the best environment to grow. Core aeration should be avoided in the dormant times like harsh winters and brutal summers, as the grass will not grow back in as fast and may lead to an uneven lawn.
Most lawns should be aerated at least once a year, but some yards may benefit from core aeration twice a year. Let the lawn care technicians at The Yard Barbers analyze your lawn and provide a plan to keep your yard in tip top shape.
The Yard Barbers is Sioux Falls leading experts when it comes to lawn aeration. Our lawn care specialists will take the time to examine your lawn and determine the best course of action to keep your lawn healthy and your family happy. Call today to schedule a consultation!