It is estimated that over 66% of residential lawns are growing on compacted soils. Many times, there is no evidence of insect or disease activity, yet the lawn seems to be off color, thinning and shows signs of stress in high temperatures. If this is the case, then chances are that the lawn hasn’t been aerated in the past few years … if ever.
Compaction is a physical process where the soil gets more and more compressed so that there is a reduction of the amount of oxygen contained in the soil and movement of nutrients to the roots of the grass plant. THe roots need oxygen and as they grow, they give off carbon dioxide. Eventually the lawn thins until, ultimately, the soil can no longer support any turf growth.
Aeration is the removal of small cores of soil to allow air, moisten and fertilizer down to the root zone. A core aerifier will pull one to two inch plugs of soil from the ground. These plugs are deposited on the soil’s surface where they will break down. soil surrounding the plugged holes and the soil deposited on top will collapse and fills the holes.
If it doesn’t work to use aerifying equipment that simply punches a hole in the soil. While a hole may be created, the “punched” soil merely compacts the soil surrounding the hole.
The controlled removal of the small soil cores has many benefits. It allows fertilizer, water and air to quickly reach the root zone of your grass. Both drought and heavy rain stress your grass. During drought conditions aeration helps water reach thirsty roots. When rain is heavy, it allows air to penetrate and help dry up excess moisture. Core aeration creates healthy roots and thicker, more beautiful lawns.
Specially designed aeration equipment consists of a series of hollow coring tines mounted on wheels. WHen these hollow tines are rolled over your lawn, they puncture the soil and systematically remove small soil “plugs.” If soil is badly compacted, then a second pass, perpendicular to the first, will be required.