Can I Aerate My Lawn In The Spring?
Aeration in spring or the fall is one of the best things you can do to ensure you have a healthy lawn. So, the simple answer is YES! A core aeration is best performed just before or during periods of high growth, but not immediately preceding or during periods of stress to the lawn, whether from heat or drought. Basically, don’t aerate in the hot and dry summer!
What Are Symptoms Of Compacted Soil?
Soil compaction happens naturally over time which is why it’s important to aerate at least once a year. Compaction is further aided by a lot of traffic, like dogs and kids running around, cars (including Barbie Jeeps) being driven through the grass, a riding lawn mower, or heavy objects like trampolines and picnic benches sitting on your grass.
Thatch is one of the main symptoms of poor air infiltration and compaction in a lawn. A compacted soil holds little air or water and is not going to be able to sustain a normal and healthy population of microbes and beneficial fungi. It is these guys that keep the natural balance of life, death, and decay going in your lawn. Without microbes the decay will almost come to a stop.
This means that as new grass plants develop and grow the older ones die and just build up in a layer underneath causing a spongy ‘thatch layer’. Once developed beyond a reasonable thickness (1/2”) this thatch layer acts as a barrier to water, air and nutrient penetration further exacerbating the lawns problems.
What Are The Benefits Of Spring Aeration?
Aeration is the removal of plugs of soil from the lawn using a machine. These holes help reduce thatch and compaction in the lawn and allow for more air, water, and nutrients to get down to the grass roots. It also encourages deeper root growth which can help your lawn withstand some of the stresses of summer like heat and drought.
The cool season grasses we have here in New England will respond well to a spring aeration. You should wait until you’ve mowed the lawn at least a couple times before aerating. This will ensure the lawn is growing fast enough to recover and take advantage of the increased pore space and air exchange at the root zone that aeration creates.
Aeration And Pre-emergent
There can be weed seeds in the plugs that the aerator removes and leaves on your lawn. Because of this it is wise to put down some pre-emergent weed control after your aeration.
If you plan on over-seeding when your aeration is done, you will not be able to apply pre-emergent or broadleaf weed control as these products can both interfere with seed germination. This could lead to a weedier lawn than normal so consider carefully if you want to do spring over-seeding with your aeration. A reputable lawn care company will know the do’s and don’ts with over-seeding in the spring.
Get More Info From The Pros!
Looking for more information on aeration or just ready to let the professionals take over your lawn care needs from here? The Grassmaster Plus team is ready and willing to answer any questions you have and can provide you a free quote on your lawn care services for the season. Contact our local office today!