A regular aeration schedule can help you eliminate and prevent some of the most common turf problems. However, the real secrets are to over seed and add a compost-rich top dressing to an aeration routine. This triple threat is the best way to set the stage for healthy, beautiful turf.
Combat Compacted Soil with Lawn Aeration
When it comes to turf care, many focus on mowing, weed control programs and fertilizing but often forget about aeration. Over time, the soil underneath becomes compacted, creating little or no space for grass roots to have the room they need to absorb nutrients and water. The result of tightly compacted soil is that the turf itself is more susceptible to dry weather, insects, diseases and weeds.
Aeration removes small portions of soil and puts them back onto the surface so they can work their way back into the grass. This process creates small holes that help break up the compacted soil so that water, air and nutrients can penetrate the grass roots.
Aeration is an important step in any turf care routine, but it’s not enough. Once aeration is complete it’s wise to add top dressing, which refers to the process of adding a layer of compost-rich soil. A layer of compost is simply raked over the turf to loosely fill the aeration holes. Top dressing will add needed nutrients back into the soil system.
The final step is to add new grass seed on top of existing turf – this process, called over seeding will help the grass stay young and healthy. According to Dr. Nick Christians, a Horticulturalist at Iowa State University, a single blade of grass only lives an average of 45 to 60 days and because mature plants reproduce at a slower rate than young plants it becomes important to manually add young grass to the turf mix to keep it strong, healthy and fertile.
The combination of turf aeration, top dressing and over seeding will help your turf regain its natural balance, allowing roots to establish themselves and make room for young grass to grow. The result will be healthier, hardier turf that is better able to withstand dry, hot summers and is more resistant to weeds and diseases and is more appealing to the eye.
Triple Threat – The Benefits of Turf Aeration, Top Dressing and Over Seeding
Turf aeration, combined with top dressing and over seeding, is a simple, affordable and natural step in a solid turf care program. The benefits of aerating, top dressing and over seeding turf include:
- Improving the flow of water, oxygen and nutrients through the soil
- Helping essential water and nutrients reach the root system
- Encouraging grass to root more deeply
- Promoting the growth of grass which is healthier and more tolerant to drought
- Controlling the growth of thatch, weeds and disease by increasing the activity of micro-organisms in the soil
- Conserving water because grass will be better able to absorb it
- Making the most of turf fertilizer
- Reducing the cost of weed control because weeds will have more difficulty growing
- Adding nutrients back into the soil system
- Introducing young, fertile, healthy grass into the turf
The Best Time to Aerate
Spring and fall are the best times to aerate, top dress and over seed because these are active periods of growth. The weather is often cooler during these times of year, which helps promote the establishment of new, healthy grass seeds.
Ultimately, the combination of seasonal aeration, top dressing and over seeding will show results in as little as one week and start building a turf area that looks better and sustains itself naturally. Contact the experts at Garden Grove to learn more about our services or to book a landscaping consultation.
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Written by Paul Lammers
April 11, 2016
Paul Lammers is the vice-president of operations with Garden Grove Landscaping. Garden Grove provides Commercial Landscape Management Services across the Golden Horseshoe, GTA and Southwestern Ontario. Paul may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-996-1099.