Do you ever see those little dirt plugs that look like a hundred dogs were let loose on your yard? Well, those little pieces are the by-product of aerating. This process is performed for the purpose of lowering the compaction of the soils. Here in Kansas, we have a lot of clay. That clay gets really hard from mowing over it, kids and pets playing on it, walking on it and really just from time and gravity. This increased compaction, makes it difficult for those tiny little grass roots to penetrate deep into the soil. The shallower the root, the easier death. And that means a thin, dead yard.
Prevention is the best proactive plan. Performing an aeration every Spring or Fall will help to loosen the soils by taking out a plug and creating a hole in the ground. That plug is then pushed out of the machine by the next plug as you progress along. The plugs on top of the soil break down while the holes in the ground provide “breathing room” for those fresh ready-to-grow Spring sprouts.
As we touched on, aerating is done by a machine that has several tubes attached to a drum. These tubes dig into the ground, by the weight of the machine, about 2-3 inches as the machine moves forward. The hollow centers of the tubes collects your soil, grass and thatch leaving a hole in the ground while pushing out the soil from the previous rotation and hole.
It is also important to note that thatch is brought out with each core made. You want thatch gone, because while in place, it intercepts the delivery of water, fertilizer and other nutrients to you soils and grass roots.
Aerating is different than verticutting or dethatching and we have discussed these processes in a previous article if you would care to read. Click Here
Core aeration is great for the lawn as it breaks up compaction and helps control thatch. It is not the best practice for seeding. If your main focus is to overseed then verticut as it provides for the best and most even seed bed. Core aeration can be used but verticutting is preferred. Aeration is best done in the fall but can also be done in the spring.
– Dennis Patton
Johnson County K-State Research and Extension
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We offer our lawn aerating / verticut / verticutting / overseeding services to all the cities of the Metro KC. Kansas City, Olathe, Lenexa, Overland Park, Shawnee, Prairie Village, Fairway, Gardner, Spring Hill, Merriam, Mission, Mission Hills, Leawood and more in Johnson County, Kansas.