Regular Up Keep

Should You Be Aerating Your Lawn?

  One of the most common questions from homeowners is how to determine if they should be aerating their lawn. Your lawn is probably a good candidate for aeration if it:

  • Gets heavy use, such as cookouts, yard games, children and pets running around the yard contribute to soil compaction as well.
  • Was established as part of a newly constructed home. Often, the topsoil of newly constructed lawns is stripped or buried, and the grass established on subsoil has been compacted by construction traffic.
  • Dries out easily and has a spongy feel. This might mean your lawn has an excessive thatch problem. Take a shovel and remove a slice of lawn about four inches deep. If the thatch layer is greater than one-half inch, aeration is recommended.
  • Was established by sod, and soil layering exists. Soil layering means that soil of finer texture, which comes with imported sod, is layered over the existing coarser soil. This layering disrupts drainage, as water is held in the finer-textured soil. This leads to compacted conditions and poor root development. Aerating breaks up the layering, allowing water to flow through the soil more easily and reach the roots.

 The best time for aeration is during the growing season, when the grass can heal and fill in any open areas after soil plugs are removed. Ideally, aerate the lawn with cool season grass in the early spring or fall and those with warm season grass in the late spring. 

Why Dethatching Matters

 

Although it takes some knowledge and a concerted effort, effectively dethatching a lawn is critical to its health and appearance.


What is thatch?

Thatch is the exacerbating level of debris that accumulates on the ground, below your grass. Consisting of dead vegetation, earth, twigs and all kinds of ‘who knows what,’ it slowly consolidates into a semi-solid mat that inhibits growth.

 

A minimal amount of thatch is normal and to be expected. However, all too regularly, the layer of thatch reaches disturbing proportions quickly. At that stage, the individual components that make up the thatch cease decomposing. You know what happens. Twigs, straw, leaves and clippings and debris from nearby plants bind together, compressed into a stifling, compressed mass. Stagnant and solid, thatch offers zero benefit to the grass.

Rather, when that thick level of thatch starts accumulating to an inch or so, only bad things happen. Your lawn begins to be effectively choked off from water, fertilize…even sunlight. Rather than flourish, the grass is stuck on ‘PARK’ or worse yet, ‘REVERSE.’ The thicker the layer of thatch gets, the quicker it grows. The last thing a lawn wants is a thick, tough, spongy layer inhibiting its growth.