We all benefit from a medical checkup from time to time. Your lawn does too. The stresses of climatic conditions, soil compaction, and nutrient deficiency take their toll on the health of your grass, and to maintain optimum color and growth, you need to give it a bit of extra TLC every now and again.
In Australia, many of our lawns are planted in soil that has a high percentage of clay, which means that soil compaction is a very common issue.
Some of the common signs of a heavily compacted lawn are:
- Patchy, thin lawn with dead or bare spots
- Shallow tree roots
- Excessive water runoff when watering the lawn
- Soil that is difficult to penetrate with a spade
In short, it’s difficult to grow a beautiful, lush lawn in heavily compacted soil so if you suspect your lawn is suffering from compaction, you need to do some home doctoring to revitalize it.
What is Aerating/Spiking?
Aerating or spiking is a process whereby the surface of the soil is perforated, and small holes are made down into the root zone. Aerating has a fourfold benefit:
- relieves soil compaction
- allows air and water to get into the soil
- helps to reduce thatching issues
- encourages healthier bacteria levels in the soil
There are several ways that aeration can be achieved. The size of the area you wish to cover and the variety of lawn will ultimately determine which technique you employ. The most basic method is to simply use a regular garden fork and punch holes approximately 5cm deep into the soil. Obviously, this process is very labor-intensive, so it’s generally only used for small domestic lawns.
For larger areas such as parks, public gardens and sporting venues, there are two common methods of aerating: spike aerators and hollow tine aerators. The former uses a solid spike to dig holes into the dirt, while the later actually removes a plug of soil. Although it is somewhat unsightly for a short time, it is argued that removing a plug of soil is the better option because it doesn’t cause any extra compaction around the holes.
Is it necessary to top dress the lawn after aerating?
While it is not strictly necessary to top dress your lawn after aeration, it is the perfect time to give it some extra nutrients. If you have used a hollow tine aerator, the plugs of soil on the surface will break down to effectively top dress your lawn, however, a fresh dose of food in the form of a layer of organic compost certainly won’t go astray. The aerated lawn will be able to absorb the goodness of the compost via the newly formed holes, and within a short time, your grass will be showing the benefits of the combined treatment.
For more information on aerating your lawn, speak with one of the team at Greener Lawns on 1800 473 363. We love helping Australians create and maintain beautiful turf, and we’ve got the practical know-how and experience to help you achieve the lawn of your dreams.