As summer begins to wind down here in Rhode Island, it’s time to start thinking about fall lawn care. Rhode Island summers can be harsh on even the healthiest lawns as soil compaction, drought, and high heat can cause stress, damage, and fatigue. If your grass shows bare patches and is spongy in certain areas, you may have compacted soil.
What is Compacted Soil
Compacted soil is essentially a build-up of thatch, or layer of grass clippings and organic matter that form a barrier at the base of your turf. It reduces the rate of both water infiltration and drainage preventing nutrients and water from getting to and from your grassroots. This will cause your grass to become malnourished and dehydrated. Weakening, over time, it will die.
Signs You Have Compacted Soil
- Spongy grass
- Water runs off or pools in areas of your yard.
- Bare or patchy areas of grass
- Stunted growth of plants
- Hard soil – Test your soil by sticking a screwdriver into the ground. If it’s dry and does not easily penetrate, your soil is probably compacted.
The best way to combat compacted soil is through a process called core aeration.
What is Core Aeration
Core aeration uses a machine to perforate small holes in your soil, pulling up hundreds of tiny plugs to redistribute the turf across your lawn. Doing this allows the much-needed water and nutrients to penetrate the roots of your grass. This can be done by poking holes in your yard with special boots or a sharp stick. For much better results, core aeration provided by a professional lawn care company such as 4-Evergreen is highly recommended.
What Are the Benefits of Lawn Aeration?
- Breaks down the thatch build-up that is blocking your roots from absorbing the essential water and nutrients
- Reduces soil compaction
- Promotes stronger roots
- Improves water and fertilizer intake
- Eliminates water runoff and puddling
- Improves your lawn’s resistance to drought
When is the Best Time to Aerate?
Aerating a lawn should be done once a year or, at least, once every other year. It should only be done during the growing season for your grass, as this will allow your lawn to recover quickly after the service. Here in Rhode Island, we have mostly cool-season grasses with a growing season in the spring and fall. This means that late summer or early fall is the best time to aerate your lawn. At 4-Evergreen, we perform our core aeration service, starting Labor Day through Halloween. A fall core aeration service will help strengthen the roots of your lawn before old man winter returns.
What About Liquid Aeration?
Do you have a buried sprinkler system or an electric dog fence? You may want to try liquid aeration. Liquid aeration works the same way as core aeration except that instead of using a machine, we spray a chemical on the grass. The chemical soaks in and loosens up the soil, breaking up the thatch. Liquid aeration may be the preferred method of choice if you have wires or pipes buried underground you do not want disturbed with plugs or machinery. Liquid aeration can also be done at any time during the growing season.
Professional Help From 4-Evergreen
At 4-Evergreen, we offer both core aeration and liquid aeration to help decompact your soil and return your lawn to its healthy state.
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