Aeration & Overseeding: Creating Room for Growth

Do you have dreams of a beautiful, green lawn next year? Believe it or not – now is the time to start the process with aeration and seeding. Aeration is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. It may sound complex, but it's really simple, as is seeding. 

What is Aeration? 

Core aeration is the process of making thousands of holes in the turf to open the soil and break up thatch. An aerator punches out cores, or plugs, of soil about a half-inch wide and two inches deep, across your whole lawn. This lets moisture, nutrients, and most of all, oxygen, reach your turf's roots. 

When a lawn is aerated, small plugs of soil (including the microbes) are pulled out and deposited on the surface. The microbes almost immediately start to break down the organic layer of thatch, which is the layer of dead grass and debris between the soil and grass that blocks water and fertilizers from reaching the root zone. When the thatch layer exceeds about one-half inch, it becomes a breeding and incubation area for all sorts of nasty lawn diseases and insects. It is very difficult to grow a healthy turf through a heavy layer of thatch. 

Some benefits of core aeration include: 

  • Reduced thatch
  • Increased oxygen in the soil
  • Improved turf density
  • Improved water uptake
  • Improved nutrient uptake
  • Improved root growth
  • Deeper root system
  • Reduced drought stress
  • Reduced water runoff 

The root system of your lawn is constantly renewing itself by sending out new shoots. This new growth needs loose and open soil. If your lawn soil is heavy and compacted, the new roots stay near the surface, or even in the thatch layer itself. This leads to a lawn that dries out too quickly and builds up thatch much faster than a deeply rooted lawn. 

Cool-season grasses, like Fescue, benefit most from aeration in the fall once temperatures have dipped and root growth has picked up. On the other hand, warm-season grasses, like Bermuda and Zoysia, benefits from core aeration in the spring and summer. By disrupting the turf structures that grow above and below ground, warm-season turf is encouraged to resume growth after its winter dormancy. 

What is Overseeding? 

Essentially, overseeding is where you add grass seed to your existing lawn to encourage grass growth for the upcoming season. The best time to overseed cool season lawns is in early September so that you will hopefully see thicker, greener grass next spring. But what does overseeding have to do with aeration exactly? It comes after aeration and actually encourages improved germination and growth rates for the seeds that you planted. When your soil is loosened because of aeration, it provides a healthy environment for the new seed to thrive. 

Pairing both aeration and overseeding together is an excellent way to prepare for the growing season. With September being right around the corner, we encourage you to contact us to set up an appointment to jumpstart your green grass for next year. 

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