aeration of lawn - Knowledgebase Question

chesapeake beach, md
Question by lmhendry1
August 20, 2010
We are planning to aerate the lawn and overseed, but also wanted to put down soil conditioner. How thick does the soil we are adding need to be. It is going on a small hill. Is it 1


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Answer from NGA
August 20, 2010

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Aeration is a process that revitalizes your lawn?s root system by exposing it to air, water, and nutrients. Over time the soil underneath your lawn becomes compacted and hard. As you water and fertilize your lawn throughout the spring, summer and fall, the roots beneath the surface finger out in search of nutrients. If your soil is compacted, this is nearly impossible. The result is that because grass roots that cannot grow downward vertically end up taking the path of least resistance and growing in a horizontal fashion, which creates a thick, shallow carpet of roots sucking energy from a small area of soil. The typical depth of a weak, shallow root system may be two to four inches. With a thick, shallow carpet of roots, not only is the plant structure weak, but it also is a breeding ground for hungry insects such as grubs.

I'd recommend using a core aerator. A core aerator will remove one inch by three inch plugs from the lawn. Leave the plugs on the lawn and they will dissolve in rain or water from the sprinklers. After aerating spread a thin layer (about one half inch) of sand or compost over the area and water it in well. The sand or compost plus the soil from the plugs will work their way down into the holes left by the plugs. You can then overseed your entire lawn. There are liquid soil conditioners you can apply to your lawn if you'd like. I'd aerate, spread compost or sand and overseed this fall then apply a liquid soil conditioner next spring. The combination of these techniques should result in a thick and healthy turf.

Hope this answers all your questions.

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