Core Aeration & Lawn Aeration Services Northern Virginia
Core Aeration is a Vital Element in Having & Maintaining A Healthy Lawn
What is Core Aeration?
Core aeration removes small, tubular-shaped cores of soil, giving air, moisture and fertilizer free access to the root system. Core aeration pulls plugs of soil one-to-two inches long from the ground, leaving them on the lawn surface where they'll gradually break down and decompose. Soil surrounding the cut holes and the plugs left behind will collapse and fill in the holes. As nature breaks up the cores, the soil filters back into the turf and the microbial decomposition of the remaining thatch. Increased air and water in the coring holes also helps to decompose the thatch while promoting deeper, healthier root growth.
Why Core Aeration?
In new homes, the natural soil has been seriously disturbed by the building process, leaving subsoil that's more compact, higher in clay content and less desirable for healthy lawn growth. These lawns need aeration to improve the depth and extent of turfgrass rooting and to improve fertilizer and water use.
Intensively used lawns are exposed to stress from traffic injury. Walking, playing and mowing are forms of traffic that compact soil and stress lawns. In fact, research suggests more than 75% of residential lawns are compacted, and while there may not be any visible symptoms of insect or disease activity, your lawn may seem a bit off-color, thin in spots, and may exhibit signs of stress during high temperature periods. Lawns like this typically haven't been aerated in several years, if ever.
Compaction is a process where the soil becomes increasingly compressed, reducing the amount of oxygen in the soil(or its access to the soil), and impeding the flow of necessary nutrients to the grass roots. Eventually the lawn will thin, until ultimately, the soil can't support any turf growth at all.
Also, most lawns are subject to thatch accumulation, which, if thatch is left unmanaged can lead to serious maintenance and pest problems. Core aeration reduces thatch accumulation, minimizes its buildup and modifies its makeup by incorporating soil into the thatch. When the thatch breaks down it adds needed organic material to the soil.
Why Core Aeration Should be Part of Your Annual Lawn Care Program
It helps deal with compacted soil - Compacted soil can cause water pooling, and insufficient oxygen, nutrients and microbial activity at the grass roots. Core aeration is the best way to deal compacted topsoil, much like tilling your garden to get ready for planting and a new growing season.
It breaks up the thatch layer – Every lawn has a thatch layer that, if allowed to get too thick and dense, will prevent water, oxygen and fertilizer from reaching the roots. Because annual core aeration breaks up that thatch barrier, and the soil cores bring healthy-promoting micro-organisms to the surface, speeding up thatch decomposition virtually eliminates this problem.
It provides your lawn with free top dressing – Core aeration leaves thousands of tube-shaped soil cores laying on the surface of your lawn, which essentially gives your lawn a top dressing. These cores help preserve moisture in your turf until they eventually break down during subsequent rainfalls, dissolving back into your lawn.
It gets more oxygen to your soil and grass roots – Promoting steady, on-going healthy, new lawn shoots each year will keep your lawn vibrant and resistant to harmful weeds and insects. But, these new shoots will need growing room, which the myriad of tubular holes created by core aeration provide the perfect, new-growth environment.
It improves fertilizer effectiveness – Because core aeration gives fertilizer better access and improves its effectiveness at the grass roots – as well as lawn growth and health – you'll get a much greater return on your fertilizer investment if you have your lawn core aerated in either the spring or fall.
It helps protect your lawn in dry times – Compacted soils result in shallow root systems. Because core aeration promotes deeper, stronger root growth, it will give your lawn greater drought tolerance during the driest summer days.
You’ll use less water on your lawn – Thatch-bound, compacted lawns won’t absorb water effectively, and because much of the water you apply will simply run off, you lawn won’t get sufficient moisture and nutrients, no matter how much you water it. Core aeration gets water to the roots, and largely eliminates run-off, which reduces your water costs.
It makes your lawn more resistant to insects – Thatch build-up gives insects a perfect growing environment. Because core aeration cuts thousands of holes into the thatch layer, it disturbs that ideal insect environment, reducing infestation, or the risk of it.
Your lawn will be more resistant to weeds – Core aeration allows water, oxygen and nutrients to reach the grass roots, which promotes new growth. Since new growth makes your lawn denser & healthier, it tends to crowd out weeds.
Improves the curb appeal & value of your home – It is said the curb appeal of your home – and more specifically the look and health of your lawn – says a lot about how you care for rest of your home and property. A home with a thick, lush, green lawn may sell for as much as 10% or even 15% more than an identical home with an unhealthy looking one. Core aerating your lawn will help you gain full value for your home should it ever come time to sell.
And core aeration can provide a good boost to a marginal lawn, and result in a veritable transformation to the rest.
When Should My Lawn be Aerated?
Both spring and fall are ideal times to core aerate cool season turf grass such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass. Depending on your location, turfgrass species and how intensely you use your lawn, in most cases, spring aeration should be done between March and May. Fall aeration is done in late summer and early fall, usually between August and November. Aeration before or at the time of late season fertilization can enhance root growth responses and improve spring green-up and growth.
What Can I Expect?
Immediately after core aeration, your lawn will be dotted with small plugs pulled from the soil. Within a week or two, these plugs of thatch and soil break apart and disappear into the lawn. About 7 to 10 days after aeration, the aerification holes will be filled with white, actively growing roots. These roots are a sign the turf grass is responding to the additional oxygen, moisture and nutrients in the soil from the aeration process. Don't expect miracles from a single aeration, particularly on lawns growing on extremely poor soils. Most lawns benefit from annual aeration and they’ll be healthier, more vigorous, and easier to maintain and have fewer pest problems than neglected lawns.