When it comes to fall lawn care, aeration is vital to keep your lawn healthy. Aerating involves punching holes into the lawn to allow oxygen, water, and nutrients to reach the soil. The goal of aeration is to loosen compacted soil and is needed for lawns that experience a lot of foot traffic and construction.
Soil compact occurs naturally over time but can be accelerated by heavy foot traffic or lawn rolling. This squeezes the oxygen out of the ground, making it difficult for oxygen, water and other nutrients to penetrate the soil. Due to this compaction grass is weak, and changes in color a bit. Weak grass also becomes thin and is more susceptible to pests and diseases which show up as brown spots on your lawn.
You should aerate your lawn if:
- Soil layering exists. Soil layering means that soil of finer texture, which comes with imported sod, is layered over the existing soil. This layering interrupts drainage, keeping water held in the finer-textured soil. This leads to compacted conditions and poor root development. Aerating breaks up the layering and allows water to flow through the soil more easily.
- Your lawn gets heavy food traffic. Children and pets roaming around your lawn contributes to soil compaction.
- Your lawn 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.
Controlling the thatch on your lawn is an important, and many times overlooked, part of lawn care. The thatch layer is the layer of dead grass, roots, and debris that accumulate on the surface of the soil. Over time, a thick mat forms and prevents air and water from reaching the soil. Consequently, your lawn is more susceptible to diseases and pests.
If the thatch layer is over a half inch thick, it should be removed. Most lawns need dethatching once a year. To check if it’s time, work your fingers into the grass and take note of the thatch layer. To remove thatch from your lawn, use a dethatching rake or power dethatcher.
If you are considering aeration this year, make sure you have an aerating tool. You need a tool to poke holes in the ground. For best results, use an aerating tool or machine that removes plugs of grass and soil from the lawn.
Your aerating tool or machine should remove soil plugs approximately 2 to 3 inches deep and 0.5 to 0.75 inches in diameter, and about 2 to 3 inches apart. These machines can be rented from outdoor power equipment stores or you can call a landscape company to help with the process.
Lastly, you should aerate when the soil is moist. It’s not easy to aerate soil that is dry.
Aeration is beneficial for achieving a beautiful lawn. The long-term effects include thicker grass, higher turf density, and more blades of grass per square foot.
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Weingartz, family owned and operated, began in 1945 as a farm supply store for local Michigan families. In the 1970s, we began to focus exclusively on outdoor power equipment. Over time, we morphed into the “power equipment superstore” that now defines all of our locations. The staff and experts at Weingartz work diligently to provide the best service possible and give honest and helpful advice to each and every customer.
Weingartz also sells parts for all outdoor power equipment at https://weingartz.com/parts-lookup.
5436 Jackson Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
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