Is your lawn beginning to thin and lose its vitality?
After that burst of growth during the spring growing season and then surviving a hot, humid summer, your lawn has taken a beating. And a thin, faded lawn will stand out when you’re used to looking at thick, green turf.
Even with proper fertilization, watering, and mowing, your lawn may not respond to these activities. . You might not know what to do next, to try and improve the overall health of your lawn.
That’s where aeration and overseeding come into the picture. Let’s talk about reasons to aerate your lawn and what it can do for turf revival.
Core aeration is when you use a machine which looks similar to a walk behind mower called an aerator. It is used to go over the lawn and pull small soil cores or plugs. Those cores are then deposited on top of the lawn. These cores begin to decompose over the next week or so depending on rainfall. This breakdown of soil redeposits rich organic matter back into your lawn’s soil.
While this process seems simple, it adds tons of benefits to your turf.
First of all, it’s important to understand what lawns need to thrive. Lawn roots require oxygen, water, and nutrients for good growth. As a result of foot traffic and normal, everyday activity, your lawn soil can become compacted, which restricts oxygen, water, and nutrients from getting to roots.
Core aeration breaks up this compacted soil, allowing those three elements to continue nourishing your lawn roots again. Healthy soil is a big part of growing a great lawn. Aeration also assists in deeper turfgrass root establishment.
Overseeding at this time is usually a great idea as well. For ideal seed germination, you need maximum seed to soil contact. When you aerate, you naturally create these pockets which allows for optimum seed to soil contact, boosting your seed germination results. This can help thicken up a thin or bare lawn, crowd out weeds, and create a healthier overall stand of turfgrass.
When it comes to aeration, how often you perform the service can be dependent on your soil type.
Once a year or even twice a year are usually adequate for clay soils, depending on how compacted they are. Sandier or loam soils may not need to be aerated as much, due to porous nature which allows for better oxygen flow to the roots.
If you walk on your soil and it feels rock solid and is looking thin or patchy, these are signs that it could probably use aeration.
But if your grass is healthy and thriving and hasn’t been impacted by a lot of equipment or foot traffic, it likely doesn’t need aeration.
Once annually is usually enough in most cases, and for healthy lawns that receive regular maintenance and are performing well, every two to three years may be sufficient.
The ideal time for aeration and overseeding your lawn will depend on your region and turf type.
In the Northeast and Midwest, late summer (late August-early September) is a good time to aerate and overseed.
For southern regions that experience cooler winters, the rules change a bit. Bermudagrass can be overseeded with perennial ryegrass in fall so that it doesn’t lose its lush appearance in winter. Zoysiagrass can be overseeded during its peak growing season -- late spring to late summer. Bahiagrass can be overseeded from spring to summer.
When done correctly, aeration and overseeding can greatly benefit your lawn.
Avoid common mistakes which will cost valuable time and money, along with not gaining maximum benefit from work done.
Avoid these typical errors people tend to make when aerating and overseeding: