Core Aeration and Turf Restoration

When is the best time for lawn maintenance? While you might think that spring is great for restoring the backyard, you should be getting it done now. The fall season has the most ideal climate for a new healthy lawn. No matter how often you water or fertilize your grass, you will have to deal with a buildup in thatch. An effective technique that can break up thatch is “core aeration”.

Your lawn will eventually be compromised, unable to grow as best as it can, unless you take proper care. Thatch is a combination of dead and living grass roots that could clog up the space between the top grass and the soil. All healthy turfs will have some kind of thatch build-up, which will keep the newer grass roots resilient from heavy traffic. But too much thatch can be detrimental. If the grass roots have a difficult time passing through the thatch in order to reach the soil, less nutrition is spread to the top layer of your lawn.

Thatch can restrict the movement of air, water, and fertilization when it’s more than one inch thick. There is an effective solution. Core aeration is a process that will get rid of the excess thatch so that the grass roots can reach deeper into the soil. Everyone can check their lawn for thatch by removing a one foot square of grass that is at least six inches deep (or ask your lawn company/landscaper to do so). If the grass roots only extend for one to two inches, the lawn could benefit from core aeration.

In order to remove the thatch, core aeration requires small soil plugs or “cores” to be taken out of the lawn. This can be done by a hand aerator or mechanically by a core aerator. The machine has hollow spoons that are mounted on a disk. This pulls out a core of soil that’s one half inch to a three quarters of an inch. Each core should be one to six inches deep and two to six inches apart. The kind of grass and climate are also factors in determining how often and when a grass should be core aerated.

You will also need to check on high-maintenance lawns more frequently because thatch will accumulate faster than if it were low-maintenance turf. The soil should be moist, but not wet for core aeration. Your lawn should be watered two days before core aeration so that the machine can have an easier time digging deep into the soil. If your area has experienced a lot of rainfall, you should make sure that the soil has dried a little bit. Overly wet soil will stick to the core aerator’s spoons and compromise productivity.

Most grass that is used in American lawns grows faster in cooler temperatures. When your lawn is filled with small holes from core aeration, you want the grass to grow fast so that it can quickly patch up. In addition to core aeration, a healthy lawn may need additional nutrients, removal of weeds, and PH level adjustment. The fall is a productive time for weed growth. Due to the coming winter, weeds will pull more nutrients into their roots from the grass blades to prepare for the colder weather. If you spray herbicide during the fall, the weeds will draw the herbicide into its own roots. This strategy will effectively kill the weeds.

With the right information and a bit of effort, anyone can have a healthy turf. Plan on devoting some time to your lawn this weekend.