We all want a lush lawn, but with Massachusetts’ beating sun during the summer season, it sure ain’t easy.
Dry and hot summer days cause stress to your grass roots, which are trying to preserve moisture— while the state’s humidity invites insects and pests, who burrow in deep and carry diseases onto your property.
Proper aeration and overseeding could be part of your landcare solution, but not many people know what these terms even mean, nevermind their value. Let’s explore what these lawn care practices are and the benefits of aerating and overseeding:
What is Aeration?
Your turf needs a few things to thrive: water, oxygen and proper minerals. Throughout the year, your property’s soil becomes compacted from foot traffic, the weight of your lawn mower, snow, etc. This makes it harder and harder for your lawn to absorb nutrients.
Aeration involves perforating your soil, or adding small holes to it, so those nutrients and water can reach your lawn’s root systems.
What is Overseeding?
After you aerate your lawn and it begins to recover, you may still find that your turf has a few bare patches or looks thinner. Not only can this make your property look dull and bare, but a weaker or sparse turf could serve as a host for insects and disease and they are sure to grow weeds next year.
Overseeding is just like it sounds, placing seeds over your already recovering grass to promote additional growth and thicken your turf.
Why Aerate & Overseed Your Lawn
Let’s explore some ways an annual soil aeration and overseeding can be beneficial to your landscape:
- Aeration loosens your soil and allows access to the roots. // As mentioned, compaction naturally occurs over an active summer or harsh winter. Aeration helps to penetrate the soil so that nutrients can get down to your grass roots and promote fast recovery.
- Aeration reduces the accumulation of thatch. // Thatch is a word for your lawn’s dead grass stems and roots. If your turf rapidly weakens after a harsh season, the remains can accumulate faster than they decompose, making your lawn look messy and creating homes for pests. Aeration helps to churn current thatch and prepares your lawn for fresh growth, which in turn, prevents new thatching.
- Aeration creates little holes for seeds. // When you plant flowers, you dig a hole for the seeds– not just throw them on top of the soil. It’s the same concept for reseeding your lawn. These aeration pockets make the perfect beds for seeds and is an important first step to recovery.
- Weeding and “feeding” after aerating prepares your lawn for overseeding. // Placing the right herbicides and fertilizers on your turf before seeding prepares your soil for optimal growth. Read our article Weeding & Feeding 101: Know Before You Seed for advice on how to defend your lawn against pests while still adding proper nutrients. There’s a balance needed, as over fertilizing could mean overgrowth and bugs, bugs, bugs.
- Aeration and overseeding keeps insects and disease away. // Dry and cracked soil could open a clear path for infectious contaminants to travel down to your root system. Removing bare patches in your yard and nourishing it keeps diseases at bay. We’ve mentioned a few ways aeration helps keep pests away, but they can sure be a pain, especially ticks— who seem to be impervious to some chemicals! Check out this article for Natural Tick Repellent Tips to Protect Your Lawn.
- Aeration and overseeding will work hand-in-hand with herbicides to reduce weeds. // The best defense against weeds is a thick, healthy turf that allows no spots for them to thrive. Although herbicides can be helpful, taking the time to properly aerate and seed your turf will put your lawn in a position to thrive naturally, without the assistance of excessive chemicals. Here at Swazy & Alexander, we like to keep things as organic as possible.
When To Aerate & Overseed Your Lawn
The right time to aerate your lawn is after it’s suffered high compaction. This could be after a long summer of many cut jobs and outdoor fun— so in the fall. Other times, a harsh winter could spur the need for a springtime treatment.
A lawn care professional can help you determine the severity of your compaction and offer advice on the best time to aerate and lay down new seeds.
Bring New Life to Your Property
Although proper soil aeration and reseeding is an important step in our Turf Fertilization Program, there are a number of other ways you can create a healthy landscape.
Check out these 7 Turf Care Tips for a Lush Lawn to learn about “scalping,” discover the proper mower height for the season you’re cutting and the best moving pattern for avoiding compaction.
Want to have the sharpest property on the block? After you get a handle on your turf, save this handy guide: The Ultimate Guide to Curb Appeal. It outlines some surefire ways to increase your property and home value and cultivate a stunning landscape.