Aeration.. How and Why

What is aeration?  It’s those dirt and grass plugs you see laying on people’s lawns or at golf courses!  Why?

It removes up to 50% of your thatch.

Reduces water needs up to 60%.

Provides roots with oxygen.

Stimulates root growth and more efficient fertilizer absorption.

Helps increase your lawns strength, disease tolerance and drought.

Over all it makes a thick, healthy, green lawn!!

Turfgrass cultivation activities include hollow tine aerification, solid tine aerification, spiking, slicing, and water injection. These activities, to varying degrees, can reduce thatch, prepare turf for overseeding, and relieve soil compaction.

We use a self-powered hollow tine aerifiers (core aerifiers) that insert hollow tines into the soil, removing a soil plug 3/4″ in diameter and 2″ to 3″ deep, depending on soil type and soil moisture.  In general, the more cores removed per square foot, the more effective the cultivation will be; removing fifteen to thirty cores per square foot is recommended.  This is done by making 2 perpendicular swipes over the lawn.   This also must be done during active growth and a month prior to winter shut-down.

Golf courses do it every year!

Call us today to set up your aeration.


De-thatch- Light or Power?


Would you like a light dethatch? power de-thatch? or aeration?  Don’t know how to answer the question? 

If your lawn has thatch over a 1/4 to 1/2 an inch deep you have a few options to bring it back to a healthy depth.  Well here are some ideas as to what each will do.

Light dethatch uses a spring tine rake on the front of our Walkers.  This is great for spring time to lift up the matted grass and bring up the dead blades of grass from last year.  This does not remove much thatch.  It is great for cleaning up the yard and getting it ready to grow if it already has a healthy depth of thatch. 

Power de-thatching uses a device that has a rotating drum with slicing blades on it.  It aggressively cuts through the top layer of thatch and lifts it to the surface.  It is set to leave 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of thatch behind.   To power de-thatch we go over the lawn 2 twice in perpendicular directions.  We use the Walkers to pick-up the debris that are lifted. When you have an 1 or  more of thatch you could benefit from an instant reduction that the power dethatching accomplishes.  This should be done before the lawn starts actively growing or at the end of the season.

Aeration is the machine that pulls out the plugs of sod.  This should be done once the lawn is actively growing.  This increases air and water movement to aid the bacteria in decomposing the excessive thatch.  Aeration is an overall improvement to the health of the lawn which in turns allows the natural bacteria to keep the thatch in check so that you should not need to power de-thatch again.   

Our recommendation is a light dethatch with the Walker in the spring to lift the matted grass and give the spring feel.  Then we recommend aerating yearly or a minimum of every 3 years to keep your lawn healthy.  Call us to get you on the schedule!


What is thatch? Do you have too much?


Do you notice your lawn is spongy as you walk in it?  If you mow shorter then normal to you have brown spots?  Does your lawn take longer to green-up in the spring?  If you answered yes you probably have excess thatch that must be addressed immediately to keep your lawn from failing.

Thatch is a tight, brown, spongy, organic layer of both living and dead grass roots and stems that accumulates above the soil surface.  It is natural and good to have a 1/4 inch of thatch.  This keeps weeds from growing in the lawn and helps hold in moisture.  It is also an environment for healthy bacteria in your lawn that breaks down the thatch to produce nitrogen to feed your lawn!   Yet environmental conditions, soil conditions and management practices (irrigation, mowing, fertilization) influence the rate and amount of thatch accumulation.  Excess build-up of thatch tends to be a problem on Kentucky bluegrass, bentgrass and fine fescue lawns. It is rarely a problem with tall fescue, wheatgrass, bromegrass or buffalograss.  This means that thatch control must be an ongoing practice for your lawn.  Contrary to some thoughts, grass clippings do not contribute to thatch accumulation and should be returned to the lawn during mowing to reuse the nutrients they contain.  

You can measure your thatch layer by cutting a circle of turf and removing it, including the underlying soil.  If you have excessive thatch it will be easy to see where the thatch stops and the soil begins.  You want to have a 1/4 inch of thatch.  If it is greater than a 1/4 inch  it is best to address your build-up before it exceeds 1/2 inch in thickness. The thickness can increase quickly beyond this point, making it difficult to control later. As the thatch layer thickens, it becomes the main rooting medium for the grass. This predisposes the turf to drought stress or winter kill and increases the possibility for insect, disease and weed problems. Also, fertilizers and pesticides applied to an excessively thick thatch lawn work less effectively.

Now what?  Well your choices are power de-thatching or aeration.  There are other products such as liquid bacteria but so far we haven’t tested enough to use on clients lawns!  De-thatching can be likened to getting liposuction.  It is great and removes lots all at once.  But if you don’t eat healthier you will not feel the full effects of a fit body and will probably need lipo again.  So aeration improves the over all health of your lawn so that it can control the thatch it’s self and live healthier.  For more detailed information the articles about aeration and de-thatching.