Homeowners often overlook problems associated with soil compaction. Insects, diseases, improper watering and a lack of fertilizer are often blamed for a lawn's decline when the real culprit is compaction. The problem starts when the top four inches of the soil become compressed, impeding the movement of air, water, and nutrients to the grass roots. This stresses the grass plants, making them less able to compete with weeds and slow to recuperate from injury. In time, a compacted lawn becomes worn, thin and just plain tired. The solution is core-aeration!
What is Core-Aeration?
Lawn core-aeration involves the removal of small soil plugs or cores out of the lawn. Cores are removed mechanically; extracting ½ to ¾-inch diameter cores of soil and depositing them on your lawn. Aeration holes are typically one to four inches deep and three to six inches apart.
What Will Core-Aeration Do for My Lawn?
As lawns age or sustain heavy use from play, sports activities, pets, and heavy accumulation of snow, soil compaction can result. Soil compacting forces are most severe in poorly drained or wet sites. Compaction greatly reduces the porous space within the soil that would normally hold air. Roots require oxygen to grow and absorb nutrients and water. Compaction reduces total porous space and the amount of air within the soil. It has a negative impact on nutrient uptake and water infiltration, in addition to being a physical barrier to root growth. This results in poor top growth and lawn deterioration.
Core-aeration can benefit your lawn by:
- Loosening compacted soil enhancing infiltration of rainfall or irrigation by reducing water runoff.
- Increasing the availability of nutrients.
- Helping prevent fertilizer and pesticide run-off from overly compacted areas.
- Enhancing oxygen levels in the soil, stimulating root growth and enhancing the activity of thatch-decomposing organisms.
- While removing cores of soil, the spoons or tines also sever roots, rhizomes and stolons. Grass plants are stimulated to produce new shoots and roots that “fill up” the holes in the lawn and increase the density of the turf.
- Increasing the lawn's drought tolerance and improves its overall health.
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