With Alberta’s unexpected moods, we can never be 100 percent sure that the frozen ground is behind us, even in May.
We should, though, have four or five months to get serious about our yard, starting with getting our lawn in shape.
For anyone who wants to prepare their lawn for the growing months ahead, a reminder note should have popped up in your diary saying “lawn aeration” this month.
Now is the time to do it. Without aeration, most lawns become compacted and the all-important root system becomes starved of water, oxygen, and nutrients.
Aeration at least once a year (preferably twice or more) can help ensure your lawn system is in peak condition to deliver a luscious, rich green patch of grass for all the family to enjoy in the months ahead.
Below are eight benefits of why you should aerate your prized area of greenery right now.
1. Removes dead grass (thatch)
Without aeration, most lawns develop heavy thatch or dead grass growth.
A thin layer of thatch is beneficial for a lawn but should not exceed half an inch. If it builds up more than this, it will prevent fertilizer, pesticides, and the right nutrients from reaching deep into the grass root system.
Core aeration breaks through the hatch and takes plugs of soil from below the surface, introducing microorganisms that stimulate the decomposition of the thatch on the surface layers.
2. Makes the soil less compact
Compacted soil prevents water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the root system, which can cause dead patches or lawn thinning.
Many home lawns may have had their fertile topsoil removed. The grass is forced to grow in the compact subsoil that is high in clay content.
Heavy-use lawns also become more compact because of foot traffic over the summer months.
Mowing the lawn regularly also compacts the soil. Aeration in spring or autumn can help decrease soil density and relieve some of the soil compaction.
3. Improves air exchange
The amount of oxygen getting to the root system of your lawn directly affects its growth.
By making the soil less dense and compact, aeration improves oxygen flow to the roots and stimulates healthy growth.
4. Improves water usage
Puddles gathering and water runoff from your lawn after rainfall are just two signs of poor water efficiency within your lawn system.
Aeration will improve this and ensure the root system remains well hydrated for healthy lawn growth.
5. Reduces drought stress
It can get awfully dry in parts of Alberta. This can lead to a drought-stressed lawn unless you have taken steps to look after it.
Especially for lawns with a sprinkler system, you can avoid a dry, crunchy, thirsty lawn by performing core aeration at least once or twice a year.
6. Improves fertilizer uptake
A healthy lawn receives a steady supply of nutrients to produce deeper and more extensive turf grass roots.
To enable this, the lawn requires fertilizer as well as adequate oxygen and water. By removing thatch and reducing compaction in the soil, the aeration process aids the supply of the right nutrients to your lawn
7. It stimulates new growth
Not only does aeration help prepare your lawn for overseeding that promotes new lawn growth but the vertical mowing action of the lawn aerator also stimulates new grass growth.
Aeration enhances the seed-topsoil contact that benefits germination and the well-watered, oxygenated and nutrient-rich soil creates the ideal conditions for healthy new grass to grow.
8. Creates a lush and cushioned lawn
Your lawn may make you proud to look at from the window but it should be more than something you admire from a distance.
Families want to spend time on their lawns in the summer months. Aeration will help provide the lush, cushioned, inviting feel that draws families out to their lawn when the sun is shining.
Do all lawns need aerating?
Most lawns in Calgary and Edmonton yards will benefit from aeration.
Those that receive moderate to heavy “foot traffic” from kids, adults, and pets will benefit even more because the soil around the root system may have become compacted.
If you bear in mind that golf courses are aerated four times a year, you will get an idea of how important the process is considered to be by the professionals.
Most Calgary and Edmonton lawns require aeration if they:
Other lawn management tips from Yardworx experts
Try to keep your grass at around 2.5 to 3 inches in length. Don’t let it grow too long before cutting it – it is a myth that this is healthier for your lawn.
If your lawn grows to four, five or six inches, when it is cut, it can go into shock. This means that whether it is sunny out or not, the tips will turn brown as if they were burned.
Your lawn needs consistency to be healthy.
If you water your lawn during especially dry periods, don’t forget to wean it off the water as the weather returns to normal. Watering your lawn over a long time period (the same amounts on the same days) will make it “lazy”, believe it or not!
This is especially the case with new sod – it will stop searching for the water and light that it needs to grow.