AERATION / OVERSEEDING
What Is Lawn Aeration?
Lawn aeration, coring, and aerifying are different terms you might hear for the same procedure. A core aerator removes plugs of soil from your lawn, which helps loosen compacted soil and allows vital air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots. You can either aerate your lawn yourself or call a lawn service. If you plan to DIY, rent an aerator (you’ll need help and a truck to transport it) and follow these tips.
When to Aerate Your Lawn
You want to aerate the lawn when your grass is in its peak growing period so it can recover quickly—think early spring or fall for cool-season grasses, and late spring through early summer for warm-season grasses. If you have high-traffic areas or heavy clay soil, you will want to aerate every year. If you have sandy soil or your lawn is growing well, aerating the lawn can happen every 2-3 years.
What is Dethatching?
Thatch is a layer of living and dead grass shoots, stems, and roots that forms between the green grass blades and the soil surface. Some thatch (1/2 inch or less) is actually beneficial; it acts like mulch to provide insulation from temperature extremes, helps keep moisture in the soil, and provides a protective layer of cushioning. However, when the thatch layer is more than ¾ inch thick, it can lead to increased pest and diseases problems (and reduce the effectiveness of some fungicides and insecticides), and reduce the amount of oxygen and moisture that are able to reach the soil and grass roots. When this happens, it’s time to dethatch your lawn. Dethatching removes this thick layer of decaying plant material so air, water, nutrients, and fertilizer can reach the soil better, plus your lawn can drain more effectively.
When to Dethatch Your Lawn
The lawn should be dethatched when it is actively growing and the soil is moderately moist. The best time of year for dethatching is the same as for aerating: early spring or early fall for cool-season grasses, and late spring through early summer (after the second mowing) for warm-season grasses. That's when your grass is growing most vigorously.
When to Overseed
The best time to overseed your lawn is in the fall, when the soil is still warm but the air is cooler, and there are fewer weeds for new grass to compete against. Since your trees are starting to shed their leaves, there's plenty of sunlight. However, if you are unable to overseed the lawn in the fall, your next best time is the spring.
Over time, grass gets old and needs to be replaced. Worn-out lawns invite weeds. Overseeding is a fast, inexpensive way to help bring your lawn back to its lush, green self without tearing everything out and starting over.