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Aeration is the process of mechanically removing cores of turf to improve the flow of air, water and nutrients in dense, compacted soil. Soil compaction, caused by lawn traffic such as walking and mowing, is one of the greatest causes of turf deterioration. When soil is compacted, dirt particles are forced together, reducing the area where roots can grow. Aeration relieves soil compaction by improving the exchange of water and critical nutrients to grass roots. The benefits of Lawn Aeration include:
Before I arrive, please mark any obstructions such as sprinkler heads or drains.
The type of aeration that I perform is called "core aeration." I remove little plugs of soil from your lawn. This brings air down to the root zone and releases trapped gases. The length of the plug can be up to 3" long, depending upon your soil conditions.
The plugs left on your lawn will eventually break down and feed microorganisms that help reduce thatch production. Each one of these little plugs represents a hole left in your lawn. This hole actually acts as a reservoir, holding water and therefore cutting your watering costs. In addition, each hole becomes an individual germinating chamber when aeration is combined with overseeding, in the spring and fall. If you don't like the plugs on your lawn, you can always use a rotary lawnmower to break them up.
Generally lawns that have a lot of sand in the soil only need aeration once a year. Heavily compacted lawns that have sod laid over heavy clay need aeration twice a year.
In addition to aeration, bringing in organic compost and raking it into the holes can improve your soil. When the compost breaks down, organic matter is then introduced into the clay to nourish and enrich the soil, which then encourages worms and strong root growth.
DO NOT ADD SAND! If you have clay and add sand, sand + clay = cement! Golf courses have a mobile lab that comes out four times a year to analyze their soil composition. They know exactly what they need to do to improve their soil over time. When a homeowner haphazardly adds sand after aeration, big problems can occur. This is why I say add organic material and you will build a healthy soil profile.