Fall Lawn Aeration: Give Your Lawn a Healthy Boost Before the Winter
Here in Pennsylvania, our summers can be pretty stressful to our lawns. Drought conditions, high heat, soil compaction, and increased traffic from backyard gatherings and weekly mowing take their toll on our grass. The good news is there’s a way to give your lawn a healthy boost this fall and set it up for success next spring, lawn aeration.
Lawn Aeration: What is it?
Lawn aeration, also known as core aeration, is a lawn care service where a core aerator is used to pull up plugs of soil throughout your lawn, redistributing them across the lawn. So, how do you know if your lawn needs to be aerated? Here are a few signs that your lawn needs to be aerated.
Signs that your lawn needs to be aerated:
- Spongy grass: Check to see if your lawn feels soft or spongy underfoot. If it does, then it’s time to consider lawn aeration.
- Pooling water: Watch for pooling water, large puddles, or water runoff after a rainstorm.
- Excess thatch: If the layer of thatch at the base of your grass is thicker than a half an inch, then it’s time for aeration.
- Compacted soil: Using a screwdriver, check your lawn for compacted soil. If it’s difficult to drive the screwdriver into the soil, then your soil is compacted.
What are some of the benefits of lawn aeration?
Soil compaction and excessive thatch are two of the biggest lawn problems that aeration addresses. Thatch is the layer of organic matter, like grass clippings, that settles at the base of your grass. This barrier, if too thick, can block water, air, and nutrients from getting down to the soil and root system. A general rule of thumb is to keep your thatch at less than a half an inch thick. Any more than this and your grass will start to suffer. Lawn aeration relieves your grass of excess thatch, among other benefits.
Additional benefits of lawn aeration include:
- Reduces compacted soil: Cores of compacted soil are pulled from the lawn, allowing grass roots to spread out and grow deeper.
- Reduces excess thatch: Aeration relieves your lawn of excess thatch, allowing your grass easy access to air, water, and nutrients.
- Access to water, air, and nutrients: Relieving soil compaction and reducing thatch build-up allows your grass easier access to air, water, and fertilizer.
- Stronger root system: With less soil compaction, your grass roots will have more space to spread out. This results in deeper root systems and healthier grass.
When’s the best time to aerate your lawn?
Lawn aeration is a service that can be done once a year. This service should only ever be done during the growing season for your grass. Doing it during the growing season means your lawn will have time to spread out and grow after the plugs of compacted soil and thatch are removed.
Here in Pennsylvania, most of our lawns are made up of cool-season grasses. The growing season for cool-season grass is in the spring and fall so it’s best to aim for late summer or early fall to aerate your lawn. Core aeration in the fall will help strengthen your grass roots in preparation for the frigid winter. This will set your lawn up for success, next spring.
Before your lawn aeration service:
Fall is the best time for lawn aeration, but it’s important to prepare your lawn for the service. Make sure to mark any areas near electric dog fences and mark your sprinkler heads as well. This helps your lawn care technicians navigate your lawn safely, without causing any accidental damage.
It’s also a good idea to make sure the soil is moist before your aeration service. Watering the lawn a couple of days before the service will make sure the tines from the aerator can easily penetrate the soil.
Call in the professionals.
Want to ensure your lawn is healthy going into the winter? Contact the professionals at Showcase Lawn Works about our lawn aeration services. It’s also a good idea to invest in a yearly lawn care program to ensure your lawn is getting the care and nutrients it needs when it needs them.