Soil compaction can cause real problems for lawns so you don’t want to let it go untreated. With compacted lawns there is not enough space for air and water to circulate properly. This means less water stored and the roots have more trouble penetrating the ground to reach needed nutrients. Compacted soil also prevents the soil from absorbing fertilisers and nutrients.
Determining if You Have a Problem
It is easy to develop compacted lawns if they are in a high traffic area or there is a lot of clay. An easy way to test for compaction is to take a garden fork and push it into the soil. If you have trouble pushing it half way up the tines then the area is compacted. If untreated the grass will grown on top of the lawn and this will result in thatching.
Treating the Compacted Area
You are going to have to aerate the soil to treat the compaction. This means to supply the air with air bubbles which means more space in the soil for what it needs. Water, fertiliser, oxygen and nutrients can freely penetrate and circulate in properly aerated soil. The perfect time of year to do this is in the spring when the growing season is just starting. Water your lawn well the day before you want to aerate to make it easier.
Aerating Small Lawns
If you only have a small lawn you can aerate manually by using specially made aerating sandals. These sandals have spikes on them and you simply walk across the area. You can also use a garden fork. This method requires you to punch holes in the turf with the tines. You want the holes to be about 8 – 10 cms apart. Go over the yard first in one direction and then repeat in the other direction.
For Bigger Lawns
If you have a large lawn you are not going to be able to successfully aerate it manually. You need a petrol-powered core aerator and you can hire one. Make sure you carefully go over the user manual before using it. Read and follow all safe operating procedures when operating. Before you use a core aerator make sure you flag and mark any pipes, service lines, irrigation systems and anything that might be hidden under the soil. When using a core aerator there is no need to go over the soil more than one time. It will pull out small cores of soil and grass which creates the need space. You can leave the bits of core to decompose on the ground or rake them up, whichever you prefer.
If you aerate sloped areas then water will be absorbed better that would normally just run off. High traffic areas on the lawn like areas where vehicles are parked or where there is a lot of foot traffic may need aerated more frequently than the annual aeration recommended. Don’t aerate lawns that has=ve areas that are not yet a year into their growth. Remember to fertilise after aerating.
To get more advice call our team on (07) 3114 8281. You can also to pop in and order in person at our sales office on 1/243 Bradman Street, Acacia Ridge. The office opens Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7am to 12pm.
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