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Want your lush lawn back? Might be time to aerate.

If you have any experience trying to garden or landscape in our North Texas soils, then you understand how tough it can be just to make a dent with your spade. Imagine how rough it must be for plant roots! While plants native to the Blackland Prairie environment are well-suited to our soils, the heavy clay presents a challenge for most non-native plants. It tends to become very compacted, which limits the amount of air, water and nutrients available to your landscape plants. In order to grow a lush lawn, there are some steps we need to take to improve the quality and structure of the the soil. Aeration is one of our most powerful tools.

Soil Conditioning

Amending your soil with compost, worm castings, humic acid and other organic soil conditioners helps to improve soil texture, increase microbial activity and add nutrients. This is exactly what we do using our Soil Building program. But that’s not the whole story. In order to make all of these soil conditioners do their best work, we need to add oxygen. Core aeration is a vital component to keeping lawns healthy.

What is Core Aeration?

Core aeration involves the removal of small “plugs” of soil from your lawn areas. The small soil plugs are then intentionally left on the surface of the soil. The perforation in the soil allow for oxygen and water to permeate your compacted soil. The plugs left on the lawn container beneficial microbes that will start breaking down organic matter and thatch that may have built up in your lawn.

When Should You Aerate?

If you have compacted soil, core aeration can greatly benefit your lawn! While most homeowners might only need to aerate once a year, soils that are densely compacted, or are transitioning to an organic plan, could benefit from two to three annual aerations.

You know your lawn is in need of aeration if:

Your lawn dries out quickly and often feels spongy when walked on. You could have a heavy layer of thatch. While a light layer of thatch is normal, thick thatch is not. Details on thatch here.

Your lawn doesn’t drain properly. Meaning: water sits on top of the soil for a long time.

Heavily trafficked areas means that soil is compacted. Do the kids and pets play on the grass often? Then soil is most likely in need of aeration.

New construction. Newly built homes often have soil that is in serious need of organic matter and oxygen.

You have a freshly sodded lawn. Sod comes with a fine layer of soil that is laid over the existing tough soil. This can make it difficult for grass roots to establish quickly. Core aeration helps to break up the soil allowing for roots to establish successfully.

Now is a great time to get your lawn aerated if you haven’t done so in a while or notice any of the conditions listed above. It’s best to aerate your lawn before temperatures get too hot and while your grass is actively growing, as it is right now.

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Soils Alive is an active member of the Agronomy Society of America (ASA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), and Crop Science Society of America (CSSA).

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Soils Alive is a member of the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association(TNLA). TNLA is Texas' largest and most prominent green industry advocacy and governance group, and was set up to promote the landscape, nursery and horticulture industry in Texas. 

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1821 Wall Street
Garland, TX 75041
Ph: 972.272.9211

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