As lawns age or sustain heavy use from play, sports activities, pets, vehicle traffic and parking, soil compaction can result. Soil compaction is most severe in poorly drained or wet sites. Compaction greatly reduces the pore space within the soil that would normally hold air. Roots require oxygen to grow and absorb nutrients and water. Compaction reduces total pore space and the amount of air within the soil. It has a negative impact on nutrient uptake and water infiltration, in addition to being a physical barrier to root growth. This results in poor top growth and lawn deterioration.
Core aeration can benefit your lawn by
- Controlling thatch by increasing the activity of soil microorganisms that decompose thatch.
- Increasing water, nutrient and oxygen movement into the soil.
- Improving rooting.
- Enhancing infiltration of rainfall or irrigation and helps prevent fertilizer and pesticide run-off from overly compacted areas.
- Soil cores are best left on the lawn surface; they typically work back into the grass in 2-4 weeks.
- Lawns should be aerated once a year, especially under heavy use conditions.
- Lawns may be fertilized and seeded immediately following aeration with or without further soil top dressing.
- If your soil is heavily compacted, you can apply stable, mature compost 1/4 inch deep. Rake the compost over the lawn, filling the aeration holes.