So, how do you maintain thatch at levels that support healthy grass? The best way to manage lawn thatch and prevent unruly over growth is with lawn aeration, specifically core aeration administered by Cedar Creek Lawn Care Services LLC.
Lawn core aeration extracts a core of grass, thatch and soil, slightly larger than an apple core. These cores are removed on a grid every few inches by a core aerator. The cores are deposited on top of your lawn to allow the soil and nutrients to wash out of them. The hole left behind allows water, air and fertilizer to move into the root, thatch and soil area to support healthy lawn growth. And, if you over seed your lawn, it creates a great home for that seed to germinate. This is a much different operation and much better for your lawn than classic dethatching.
Every lawn should be aerated at least once a year. If your thatch problem is severe, you’ll want to have lawn core aeration performed several times a year, twice at a minimum. Lawn aeration can be done any time of the year as long as the lawn isn’t soggy.
Common Core Aeration Questions:
Q: What is aerating or core aeration?
A: Aeration which is also called core aeration is the process of perforating the soil, as well as any thatch layer that might exist, removing a core or plug of soil and depositing that core on the surface to break down.
Q: What are some of the benefits of aeration?
A: (1) Aerating will allow water, air and fertilizer to penetrate all the way down to the root zone. This in turn allows the roots to grow deeper, creating a more healthy and thicker lawn. (2) It will also greatly reduce the chances of having thatch buildup. (3) It will reduce soil compaction. (4) It will create an optimal environment if overseeding for direct seed to soil contact.
Q: How do I know if my yard needs to be aerated?
A: To be honest any yard can benefit from at least an annual aeration. Any areas of high traffic that look worn, yards that don’t green up after fertilizing or brown easily in high heat conditions, yards with poor drainage that have standing water after it rains, and homes built on poor subsoil with clay are all excellent reasons to aerate your yard.
Q: When should I aerate and how often?
A: We recommend aerating twice a year in both Spring ( April – May ) and Fall ( Aug- Nov ) for most grass types. At a minimum aeration should be done at least once a year.
Q: What do I do after I aerate?
A: There are a few things you can do right after aerating like fertilizing, overseeding, and watering. What you decide depends on your personal preference and the condition of your yard. ( Reference the next three Q & A’s )
Q: What will I achieve by watering my lawn after aeration?
A: Just watering your lawn after aeration can be very beneficial at helping to break down the cores created by the aeration itself. It also allows water direct access to those newly exposed roots. If you are planning on fertilizing with your watering make sure to read all of the instructions on the fertilizer about when or if it should be watered in.
Q: Should I fertilize after aeration?
A: Yes, now is the best time to fertilize while the holes created by the aeration are still open, allowing access to the root system and before the cores start to break down. Always make sure to use the correct fertilizer treatment for the appropriate season. Also remember not to use a fertilizer with any sort of weed control or crabgrass preventer if you also plan on overseeding. If you ARE NOT overseeding a fertilizer with weed control will be fine to use.
Q: Is it a good idea to overseed after aerating?
A: If your lawn looks thin in places it never hurts to overseed after aeration. Keep in mind if you are going to overseed, plan on having your yard aerated early in the season, so as to give the seed the maximum amount of time to germinate. You should also try to overseed the same day or within a day or so after your aeration while the holes are still open and before the cores start to break down. Just another reminder if you’re fertilizing along with overseeding, DO NOT use a fertilizer with weed control. If you do, your seed will not germinate properly. If you want to fertilize in conjunction with overseeding ( which is a good idea ), just use a starter fertilizer or one without any type of weed control.
Q: How long will it take for the cores in my yard to disappear?
A: It usually takes around two weeks for the cores to break down. It can however be longer or shorter depending on weather conditions. Mowing can also expedite core breakdown. You do not want to rake or pick up the cores however, because this will reduce the effectiveness of the aeration.
Q: Can aeration damage my invisible dog fence or sprinkler system?
A: Yes it can. It is the customer’s responsibility to mark any dog fence or sprinkler head with marker flags.
Q: If I see improvement after my first aeration, should I still aerate in the future?
A: Yes you should continue a bi-annual or at the very least, an annual aeration program. Aeration should be a continual part of any lawn care program, just like fertilizing, overseeding, weed control, watering, and mowing is. Without it your lawn could easily begin regressing and all of your hard work will have been for nothing.