As the weather continues to warm up, now is the time to be proactive on lawn care to ensure that your grass grows with plenty of vigor and color. One of the ways to ensure a healthy Metro Atlanta lawn come springtime is to employ core aeration techniques that will provide your soil with the means to distribute nutrients more thoroughly. Core aeration during the summer is a relatively simple process, but can pose tremendous benefits to your lawn, and the results will be visible within the next 6-8 weeks.
As your grass goes through its natural growth cycle, growing during the warm months and going dormant during the cool months, grass roots and leaves will natural compact over time. This compaction can happen as a result of a lawn being stepped on frequently, during normal use, or other causes. As soil compacts, the small air pockets in between soil clusters become smaller and farther away from each other, making it much more difficult for the soil to properly deliver air, water, and nutrients to the plant roots below. Aeration creates new spaces in the soil, breaking up compacted soil and root clusters, allowing for new growth and the formation of more grass leaves.
While you may have heard of lawn aeration before, you may be unfamiliar with core aeration. Differing from spike aeration, which uses wedge-shaped spikes which punch holes in soil, core aeration makes use of hollow tines. These hollow tines still punch holes into the soil but grab onto the soil and pull the "core" out, leaving a small hole in the ground.
Both methods of aeration have their uses, but in the Metro Atlanta area, where soil tends not to be sandy, poking holes with spikes will most likely lead little benefit and could in fact lead to further compaction of soil over time. Core aeration physically removes cores of soil, leaving holes that will allow for better transport of water and nutrients.
In addition to a fuller, healthier lawn after a few weeks, core aeration has additional benefits that will help the health and aesthetics of your lawn. If you are noticing puddling or runoff in your lawn after a rainstorm, compacted soil may be the culprit, and a visit from the aerator could make a world of difference. Not only can puddles be frustrating but standing water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and lawns that are too wet can suffer from fungal infections over time. As an added benefit, leaving the plugs where they fall during the aeration process is an essential function of the process, but also provides huge benefits to your lawn. While it may look a little strange at the outset, those plugs will break up over time, and will begin feeding your lawn with vital nutrients.