RENOVATE YOUR LAWN BY AERATION AND OVERSEEDING (A&O)
WHAT IS AERATION?
Aeration is the process of mechanically removing small plugs of thatch and soil from the lawn to improve natural soil aeration. Commonly referred to as “core aeration” in the lawn service industry, but you may have also heard of it as soil cultivation (coring, spiking and slicing). Most homeowners simply call it aeration.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AERATION?
Core aeration can help make your lawn healthier, thus reducing maintenance requirements through these means:
- Improved air exchange between the soil and atmosphere
- Enhanced soil water uptake
- Improved fertilizer uptake and use
- Reduced water runoff and puddling
- Stronger turfgrass roots
- Reduced soil compaction
- Enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance
- Improved resiliency and cushioning
- Enhanced thatch breakdown
ROOT GROWTH – Core aeration allows air, water and fertilizer to better reach the root zone. This stimulates root growth to create healthier, stronger turfgrass plants.
WHY IS AERATION NECESSARY?
- Compact soil prevents grass from establishing a healthy root system and keeps water and fertilizer from reaching the roots.
- In most lawns, fertile topsoil may have been removed or buried during excavation of the basement or footings, forcing grass to grow in subsoil that is more compact, higher in clay content and less likely to sustain a healthy lawn.
- Walking, playing and mowing will compact soil and stress lawns. Raindrops and irrigation further compact the soil, reducing large air spaces where roots readily grow. Compaction is greater on heavy clay soils than on sandy soils, and it is greatest in the upper 1 to 1 1/2 inches of soil.
- Aeration can help relieve soil compaction, allowing your grass to grow deeper roots and make better use of water and fertilizer.
SOIL COMPACTION – Turfgrass in compacted soil (left) grows slowly, lacks vigor and becomes thin or does not grow at all. Core aeration (center) removes small cores of soil, depositing them on the surface of the turf. This improves the depth and extent of turfgrass rooting (right), and it can help save money on your water bill.
RELIEVE THATCH ACCUMULATION
Most home lawns are subject to thatch accumulation and if not managed properly, it impedes water, fertilizer and pesticide effectiveness. Core aeration combines soil with the thatch debris, so soil organisms are better able to break down the thatch and reduce its accumulation.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD LAWNS BE AERATED?
-All lawns can benefit from annual aeration however, twice yearly aeration can be beneficial for neglected lawns.
-Fall is ideal timing but Spring is beneficial as well.
-For seasonal turfgrass such as Tall Fescue, it is best to aerate between August and November to enhance spring growth.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?
- Immediately after aeration, your lawn will be dotted with small plugs pulled from the soil. Within a week or two, they break apart and disappear into the lawn.
- About 7 to 10 days after aeration, the aerification holes will be filled with white, actively growing roots – a sign that the turfgrass is receiving additional oxygen, moisture and nutrients from the soil.
- On compacted soils and on lawns with slopes, you should see an immediate difference in water puddling and runoff after irrigation or rainfall. After aeration, your lawn should be able to go longer between waterings, without showing signs of wilt. With repeat aerations over time, your lawn will show enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance.
- Remember, most lawns benefit from annual aeration. And while you shouldn’t expect miracles, especially with poor soil, lawns that receive this care will be healthier, more vigorous, easier to maintain and have fewer pest problems.