The first day of spring is Sunday, March 20, 2022, and as the day draws near, questions about properly preparing your lawn for the start of the growing season begin to increase.
One question which continually generates confusion (and skeptics) is whether or not to aerate your lawn come the spring.
What’s important to remember is lawn aeration is a beneficial way to keep your lawn healthy.
Aeration helps control thatch, improves the soil structure, helps create growth pockets for new roots, and opens the way for water and fertilizer to reach the new root zones of your lawn. Additionally, it provides compact soils with an opportunity to breathe.
But to thoroughly demystify the subject, we first need to understand what aerating your lawn means?
Lawn aeration is a process that removes thousands of small cores of soil – about one to three inches in length – from the surface of your lawn. An aerator machine produces the holes for better penetration of fertilizer and water into the ground.
An evident and unsightly result of lawn aeration is the tiny “plugs” of soil left behind atop the blades of grass. While many have referred to them as resembling “goose droppings,” resist the temptation to remove the plugs from your lawn. Let them dry out in the sun for a few days before safely mulching them back into your lawn with a lawnmower.
One thing that is NOT recommended is power raking, which is sometimes confused with lawn aeration. While it may remove dead patches of grass, it also rips out healthy blades just beginning to grow. Mowing with the blade at its lowest setting will remove the dead grass safely.
Also, be on the lookout for snow mold and lawn mites as your lawn emerges from dormancy.
Snow Mold is a fungal disease that appears in the early spring as the snow melts after being matted down for an extended period. Reasonably harmless, the simple solution is to hand rake your lawn when the snow is gone. This will loosen the matted blades, allowing fresh air to circulate, discouraging fungal growth.
While snow molds like moist conditions, lawn mites prefer a dry lawn. Mites will leave you with brown, straw-like dead patches if left untreated. Some of these areas may not be visible until your lawn starts to green up in the spring. The simple solution is to water your lawn during the winter months (if no natural moisture is available) and in early spring to deter mites from your lawn. If damage is too significant, seeding or sodding may be required.
To schedule a lawn aeration or consultation, contact your local SavATree branch today!