Before you know it, the summer season will come to an end, and it’ll be time to transition your lawn into the fall. As we prepare the grass for the winter, lawn owners should take some steps to improve their grass’s growth and vitality, such as aeration. Aeration is often overlooked, but it can make a dramatic difference in your lawn’s density and root development. With a combination of overseeding, you’re setting your lawn up for success. So, let’s discuss aeration and overseeding in your autumn lawn care.
WHAT IS CORE AERATION, AND WHY IS IT NECESSARY?
Core aeration is the process of removing plugs of soil from your lawn to improve the movement of air, water, and nutrients after the summer growing season. The two main reasons that we perform core aeration are to relieve soil compaction and reduce the amount of thatch buildup within the lawn.
When soils are compacted, they remain hard on the surface level as well as throughout the turf rootzone. This causes a few issues for your lawn. First, a hard packed soil surface will not allow water and nutrients to penetrate to where they are needed within the rootzone. If they cannot make it to where they are needed, not only will the turfgrass plants not be able to utilize them, but they are more likely to run off to non-target locations such as into groundwater. As we transition to the rootzone, you already know that compacted soil surfaces prevent moisture and nutrient uptake. This means that the roots are already at a disadvantage, now add to that the fact that they can’t penetrate deep into the soil or spread laterally, the issues start to pile up.
Another major reason for aerating your lawn is to remove part of the thatch layer, which is the layer of dead and living grass leaves, stems, and roots that accumulate between the grass blades and soil surface. While some thatch is good, once it begins to exceed ½” or so it can become detrimental to the health of the lawn. In addition to inhibiting water and nutrients from penetrating through to the roots, it becomes a perfect environment for certain insects and diseases to take hold.
OVERSEEDING WITH AERATION…A PERFECT MATCH!
While core aeration opens up the soil of your lawn, it also provides a perfect opportunity to plant seed into the holes in the soil that will help fill in bare areas within the lawn, as well as introduce new and improved grass varieties. This can be a less invasive way to plant new grass than having to entirely renovate your lawn. If you have areas were damaged from summer heat/drought stress, a few patches of insect damage, or simply have several areas of undesirable grasses that need to be replaced, aeration and overseeding is the way to do it.
We use our custom-blended NorGro seed mixture when overseeding. It’s a carefully selected blend of primarily Turf-type tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, which are all sod quality and designed for maximum performance in our specific climate. Timing is also important when it comes to seeding, especially in the fall. There are two main time frames we like to utilize, which are considered traditional fall overseeding and dormant overseeding, respectively. With traditional timing, the goal is to have the new grass plants germinate and establish within enough time before seriously cold temperatures enter our region so that they are likely to survive the winter. If overseeding is done as a dormant seeding, the goal is to wait until soil temperatures have fallen low enough that grass seed is guaranteed NOT to germinate in that particular growing season, but rather be in place to germinate first thing in the spring. Both practices have their advantages and disadvantages, and several factors must be taken into consideration.
BOOST YOUR LAWN’S GROWTH WITH AERATION AND OVERSEEDING THIS FALL!
Fall aeration and overseeding have phenomenal benefits for your lawn, which will be evident both this fall and the following spring.
Searching for effective lawn care that’ll leave your lawn lusciously green? Our Maine lawn care team at Northern Turf Management offers comprehensive fall lawn care so you can enjoy a thriving lawn in the spring. Reach us at (207) 544-9420 or email [email protected] to learn more about our core aeration and overseeding services.