Many of our customers in the Kansas City area have heard of aeration, but people often tell us that they are unsure if their lawn needs it. The fact of the matter is that lawns of all sizes and conditions can benefit from aeration at least once per year. Whether your lawn is patchy and compacted or vibrantly green, this article will help you understand why you should aerate your lawn.
What Does Aerating Do?
Aeration is the process of improving airflow and nutritional intake for your lawn by loosening compacted soil. Over time, the soil underneath your grass gets pressed down and compacted due to a variety of environmental and man-made factors. When soil becomes compacted, your grass is unable to receive nutrients, water, or adequate airflow because the ground is too hard for such things to permeate. By aerating your lawn, you are allowing your turf to have easier access to the nourishment it needs.
- Core aeration is a popular method that involves removing small plugs of soil and thatch from your lawn. The holes left behind from the core aeration process allow your lawn to decompress and soften, which make it much easier for your grass to absorb nutrients and spread its roots.
- Liquid aeration has a similar effect, but it loosens compacted soil with a chemical compound that gets sprayed across your entire lawn. This method is typically best for lawns that are mostly healthy but have a few bare spots due to lack of nutrition. For more information on the specific benefits of each type of aeration, click here.
How Does Soil Become Compacted?
There are many factors that contribute to compacted soil, some of which are easier to remedy than others. For example, our area is home to some of the hardest clay soils in the country. Without lawn aeration, it is almost a certainty that lawns with such soils will become compacted naturally. On the other hand, factors like excessive foot traffic or heavy structures/equipment on your lawn can be avoided to reduce soil compaction.
Though some causes of compaction are more damaging than others, aeration benefits all lawns. Below are a few more common causes of soil compaction:
- Low moisture content
- Mixing sand and clay soils
- Over-tilling the soil
- Excessive machinery use
- Pressure on top of wet soil
- Excessive rainfall
- Thick thatch buildup
- Lack of healthy vegetation
What Are The Benefits Of Aeration?
The benefits of aeration are almost too numerous to mention. When compacted soil becomes loosened and your grass is able to absorb the nutrition it requires, you will notice many more improvements than just a greener lawn. Once the soil is able to breathe and it becomes a more effective delivery system for nutrients, you may notice many long-standing issues start to resolve themselves.
From yellow patches to puddles, aerating your lawn will go a long way in clearing up many landscaping concerns. The following are some of the improvements and benefits you can expect to see from aeration and proper aftercare:
- Thicker, greener turf
- More developed grass roots
- Deeper absorption of fertilizers
- Improved air exchange
- Softer soil
- Added nutrients from extracted plugs
- Less weeds as turfgrass thrives
- Better drainage / less standing water
- Reduced lawn pests
- Fungal disease control
- Thatch management
- Many more!
When Should I Aerate My Lawn?
Determining the appropriate time at which to aerate your lawn comes down to two factors—grass type and condition. Cool-season grasses like fescue or Kentucky bluegrass thrive most when temperatures are a bit cooler, so aeration is most effective between September and October for cool-season types. Warm-season turfs like Bermudagrass or St. Augustine grass grow quickly in summer, which makes aeration between May and July the best time to loosen and prepare your soil for the growing season.
It is important to remember that aerating too often can damage your lawn. Severely damaged lawns could benefit from core aeration twice per year (maximum) in both spring and fall, but mostly healthy lawns should stick to liquid aeration once per year in the appropriate season. Outside of these factors, there are several other telltale signs that indicate whether your lawn needs to be aerated.
If your lawn experiences any of the following issues, call Heartland Turf & Landscape for more information on the finest aeration services in Kansas City:
- Thinning grass
- Dead or bare patches
- Hard soil
- Puddles and pooling water
- Excessive weed growth
- Presence of lawn pests
- Excessive foot traffic
- Consistent leaf/tree debris coverage
Other Helpful Services From Heartland
Aeration is just one of many lawn care services you can utilize to improve the quality of your turf. As is the case with all lawn care tasks, achieving the best results requires consistent work. While aeration will likely improve the feel and appearance of your lawn, the best way to keep your grass healthy is by performing year-round maintenance. Remaining vigilant after you aerate your lawn will help ensure that compaction issues are minimized, making the next time you aerate a much easier and efficient process.
Fertilization & Weed Control – Loosened, moist soil created by aeration is the perfect environment for fertilizers to take effect. Fertilizing soon after aeration has the benefit of creating stronger grass as the soil becomes more manageable. As nutrients are absorbed and healthy grass begins to grow again, weeds will struggle against the competition.
Weekly Mowing – Keeping your grass at an appropriate height is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. Heartland’s weekly mowing service will keep grass growth in check, which leads to better nutritional intake and less material for harmful thatch buildup.
Leaf Removal – If you are aerating in fall, removing leaves is key. Fallen leaves, along with other types of organic matter, can create a thick thatch layer that makes soil compaction worse. Raking in fall, or even in early spring, will help keep your lawn clear of any blockages that could lead to compaction.
Overseeding – Permeable soil is the best environment for grass seeds to be planted, and there is no better time to plant seeds than after aeration. Our overseeding service includes verticutting and appropriate watering in order to make sure your new seeds germinate and bring life to your lawn this growing season.