Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Put a Little Air in Your Turf!

Today we address some nuts and bolts of maintaining a lush, green lawn: a process known as aeration. That's a euphemism, of course; you'll be happy to know that we do not propose to dump any actual nuts and bolts in your front yard. Aeration refers to air, which is what needs to be periodically introduced into the root system of your grass in order to encourage turf grass rooting, among other benefits.

The process is simple enough: it involves mechanically poking thousands of holes in the soil. This allows oxygen, but also water and fertilizer, to circulate down there where the root system is working its magic. Additionally, our clay soils are prone to tight compaction over time, becoming near brick like in consistency. Aeration loosens the clay, allowing air, water, and nutrients to penetrate farther into the ground. This in turn encourages the roots to extend themselves.

The net result is a hardy, lustrous lawn that reduces water runoff and resists drought and disease.

When should you aerate? Most commonly annually, just before the grass starts to grow rapidly. Different grasses have different growth habits, so it is important to know your grass. Fescue does most of its productive growth in the Fall, so September and October are ideal months to aerate. But Bermuda, zoysiagrass, and centipede lawns complete their green-up in April, so late April is the best time to aerate those grasses.

So, to sum it all up, know your grass and aerate your lawns. You can thank me later.