Aeration & Overseeeding
What Is Aeration?
Year’s ago, it was believed that lawn aeration opens up the soil under the existing turfgrass to introduce air, which is essential to healthy grass plant roots, into it. This then was supposed to help reduce compaction of the soil, which is a chronic problem in American residential landscapes where the air has been compressed out of the soil by foot traffic, heavy rains, heavy equipment at building sites, and loss of organic matter in the soil over time. Grassroots struggle to penetrate this compressed soil in search of moisture and nutrients. Lawns growing in compacted soil are almost always poor looking and high maintenance. What was missing was the understanding that while aerating might be a valuable step in treating a new lawn less than two years old, it is the annual application of organic matter to the surface of the lawn that will help eliminate compaction, improve drainage, and helps roots grow down to the six to twelve inches deep which is the goal for a healthy turf.
Obviously, it is more difficult to introduce air into the soil in established lawns than in garden beds where the soil can be turned with a tiller, shovel or trowel before plants are planted. The most direct aerating method was believed to punch holes or slice crevices into the turf with a tool of some kind. The more indirect method which is now considered the best is to topdress the lawn with organic matter that will gradually be incorporated into the soil beneath and improve its texture to reduce compaction. A thin layer of chopped leaves, compost, municipal sludge or similar material rich in humus or a layer of finely shredded leaves deposited by a mulching lawn mower helps the soil retain air. it will be the earthworms who will grab that material and pull it down into the soil which then becomes food for the soil food web.
All About Compaction
Soil compaction is inevitable. Simply walking behind the lawn mower 20 to 30 times a season takes its toll. The pressure of one single footstep of a 150 pound person impacts soil as deep as 15 inches. Riding mowers, parked cars, construction equipment, kids’ play–even heavy rain– cause even more pressure.
Compacted soil is bad for lawns. Grass roots need easy access to water, air, and nutrients in the soil to be able to metabolize energy and grow vigorously. Soil compaction destroys the tiny pockets in the structure of the soil that hold air to stimulate root growth. Grass roots are also stunted and stressed because they can’t penetrate the soil. Lack of air spaces also causes soil to drain poorly
Compacted soil is bad for soil life. It hinders the circulation of earthworms and the lack of air stifles the activity of micro-organisms which enrich the soil. Compacted soil promotes the buildup of thatch as grass roots, starved for air, migrate and accumulate near the surface of the soil, matting and obstructing the rapid decomposition of clippings.
When Does Aerating now make sense
To compensate for compaction in a path through the lawn
To help in overseeding modest area
To help in overseeding in shady area
Overseeding is an overlooked activity in lawn care.Aeration Is not enough. Some People assume, incorrectly, that fertilizer is all that is needed to keep a turf thick and free of weeds. Grass gets tired. It needs to be revitalized every two or three years. As this file shows, overseeding is not difficult and the benefits support investing the modest amount it takes to make it happen.
Overseeding Keeps Lawn Thick And Weed-Free
Overseeding is one of the most important lawn care tasks. So, you ask, if I fertilize my lawn properly, why do I need to add new seed, especially if my grass looks pretty good right now? The answer is grass is not immortal. After three or four years, grass plants will slow down their reproduction rates; they get tired just like we do as we age. Thin grass invites weeds.
Overseeding compensates for that natural slow down of the turf’s reproduction. There are two major benefits to overseeding every five or six years. First, you ensure your lawn stays thick and dense, or if it has thinned, you will make it thick again. Thick grass has few if any weeds if it is mowed over 3 inches tall.
The second benefit is disease resistance. The new varieties of seed you sow this year will have better disease resistance than those varieties already in your lawn.
Your goal is to have a lawn that is as dense as brand new quality sod. Go to the garden center selling sod and try to spread the grass blades to see if you can see any soil. Usually, the grass is so thick you cannot see soil of brand new sod. Now go outside and check your own turf to see if by spreading the grass blades you can see any soil. It is likely the soil will be readily visible. That means your lawn needs to be overseeded.
Early September is the best time to overseed; spring is second best.
You should use lots of seed because the key to successful overseeding is watering, and most of us fall down on the watering job. Once grass seed is spread and moistened from that first watering, it should never be allowed to dry out; it must always be kept moist until you get full germination. That means watering new seed at least twice a day for at least 4 weeks. If you miss a day or two and the seed dries you may lose up to 30 percent germination — A lot of fescue seed needs above 60degree temps with the sun during the day for a period of 14 days, Sometimes to reach a 90% germination rate fescue might take 21 days to germinate. Just because you see the green Hue of new grass doesn’t mean your job is done. KEEP WATERING. .
What Does Green Thumb Use?
ProScape® Winning Colors™ is the ultimate Turf Type Tall Fescue Blend containing four of the best tall fescues on the market: DaVinci, Rembrandt, Monet, and VanGogh.It exhibits excellent Brown patch resistance mowability, drought resistance, heat tolerance and dark green genetic color. The seed Green Thumb uses does not contain any rye grass or K-31 Fescue We believe having the same variety and applying it multiple times provides a uniform and consistent look for the grass and gives better color.