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The best way to achieve a healthy and beautiful lawn is to hire a professional lawn care company to come and aerate it and overseed as part of an annual maintenance plan.
What is aeration?
Lawn Aeration is the removal of soil cores using a specialized machine called an aerator. The aerator will remove 1-2 inch soil cores and leave them to break down on the lawn surface. Microbes feed on and break down the thatch layer of the soil. The thatch layer is the spongy, impervious layer of decaying material between the crown of the grass plants and the actual soil.
What is the benefit of lawn aeration?
The reason that aeration is so healthy for your lawn is that it helps to reduce soil compaction and it allows water to reach deep down through the layers of soil to the root zone. This process benefits the microorganisms living in the soil which in turn break down existing thatch which improves soil quality by releasing important nutrients for healthy, thriving grass plants. Grasses and plants can take in nutrients more effectively when the soil has been aerated. The holes that the aeration process leaves in the soil also allows roots to expand which results in improved turf quality and vitality.
Preparing Your Lawn For Aeration
Before your lawn is aerated you will want to ensure that you prepare it properly to get the most benefit.
Step 1: Mowing
Immediately prior to aerating and seeding your lawn you will want to mow it to a height of about 1.5 to 2 inches high. Clippings should be bagged either during or after mowing then any residual should be raked or blown off the lawn to prepare for aeration. Lawn mowing is an important step to prepare your lawn for aeration because it maximizes seed to soil contact as the new seeds are spread out after aeration which is a key factor in the germination process. Cutting your lawn this short will also allow for maximum time between mowings allowing the new seedlings to establish themselves.
Step 2: Watering
Watering your lawn prior to aeration allows the aerator machine to pull deeper plugs from the soil. Water until the soil is moist, but not mushy or marshy. If the soil is too wet the aerator machine will get bogged down and jam up for the soft soil. Watering prior to aeration is especially important in areas where the soil is mostly clay which tend to be heavily compacted.
Step 3: Marking Obstacles
Objects in the lawn that are at or below grade, up to 3 inches, should be marked so that the metal tines on the aerators will not damage them. Objects that you may want to mark prior to your aeration service include: irrigation heads, drainage pipes, valve box covers, shallow electrical lines. The best way to mark these items in your lawn is with a metal flag which can be purchased from any local hardware store. It is not a good idea to mark using spay paint because it is only visible after the aerator has already passed over it. In addition to marking objects at or below grade, you will also want to be sure to remove any law further, children’s toys and any other objects that are easily moveable. By following these 3 simple tips prior to your lawn aeration service the aeration and seeding process will go smoothly.
When is the best time to have your lawn aerated and overseeded?
The answer to this question is – It depends where you live! The best time to aerate and overseed cool season grasses like tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass is, you guessed it, during the Fall when temperatures are cooler. By contrast, the best time to aerate and overseed lawns with warm season grasses such as bermudagrass and zoysiagrass is during the Spring.
What are the benefits of overseeding?
The reason that overseeding is a necessary lawn maintenance requirement is that it allows new grass varieties to be introduced into the lawn which helps make the lawn more disease and insect resistant. Another great benefit of aeration and overseeding is that as the new seeds grown and the lawn thickens it can more efficiently crowd out pesky weeds. In addition to the health benefits that aeration and overseeding provide your lawn it will also make your lawn look beautiful and enhance your curb appeal.