What Is Core Aeration?
You may have heard about core aeration from a local lawn care company or have read about the procedure in gardening publications. Simply put, core aeration is a process where a machine travels across a lawn or turfgrass area and removes and then deposits plugs of soil and thatch back onto the lawn. This process opens up the lawn to provide more air, water, and nutrients to the root system of the turf. This process will help to produce a healthier lawn. It is recommended that you leave the plugs of soil on the lawn so the soil that has been brought up will melt back into the lawn to help reduce thatch – the microorganisms in the soil will feed on the thatch and break it down. Now that we know what it is, when is the best time to core aerate your lawn?
When to Core Aerate Cool Season Grasses
The process works best when the root system of the plant is actively growing. For cool season grasses, the most root growth occurs in the fall, followed by the spring. Most core aeration for cool-season grasses takes place in the fall.
When to Core Aerate Warm Season Grasses
For warm-season grasses, the best time to core aerate is in the early summer because the roots for these plants are most active during this time of year. Aerating warm season grasses in the fall will not provide the benefits of improving root growth since the turf is beginning to enter a dormant period and growth will stop.
After Aerating, Reseed the Lawn
Reseeding a lawn after it has been core aerated is advantageous for cool season grasses, but seeding does not perform as well for warm season grasses. The main reason for this is that the seed is difficult and can take a long time to germinate. For a seed to germinate, it needs to be kept moist during the germination process. If the roots dry out before the seed has been able to send the root into the soil, it will die. Most warm-season grasses’ reproductive systems (called stolons) grow very quickly and will fill in thin and bare areas quickly, so seeding is not as much of a concern.
Re-sodding Is Another Option
If there are larger areas that have died out due to winter kill or past insect or disease damage, placing new pieces of sod of the same turfgrass that is growing in the lawn will help to fill in these areas. The easiest way to do this is to unroll the piece of sod, and then use a spade to make vertical cuts around the perimeter of the sod. After doing so, remove the sod and, using the spade, make horizontal cuts at about an inch below grade. Remove the dead grass and some of the soil and place the new sod in the prepared area. Keep it watered and it will soon fill in the surrounding areas.
Contact your local Spring-Green professional to schedule a core aeration today and start to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lawn.