You don’t have to be a golfer to appreciate the lush green blanket of grass on a golf course. How do they do it? Surely, there’s some kind of mysterious alchemy going on, some confidential procedure that only golf course maintenance technicians of the highest order are privy to, right?
Well, we’ve uncovered the mystery. Would you like to hear what it is? Can you keep a secret? Come closer…(whispering) the secret is…
…aeration and overseeding.
You can water and fertilize until the cows come home but to achieve a lush lawn with healthy roots, you need to take the extra steps of aerating and overseeding.
What is Aeration?
Over time, with heavy traffic and weather, soil becomes compacted. Compacted soil keeps water and nutrients from penetrating the soil and reaching your turf’s roots. With the soil compressed, the roots have nowhere to go. So not only is your lawn dying of malnourishment, it can’t stretch its legs!
How to Tell if Your Soil Is Compacted
How can you tell if you’ve got compacted soil? If you notice areas where water puddles after it rains, it could mean that water simply can’t get through and be absorbed into the soil. Also look for dead or thinning patches or even bare spots where no grass is able to grow. If your lawn’s layer of thatch is greater than half an inch, you could be experiencing compaction. Thatch is the dead grass that lies between the soil and the blades of grass and while some thatch is beneficial to your lawn and can provide nutrients to the soil and roots, too much thatch will choke out your lawn.
What is Aeration?
Simply put, aeration is the removal of plugs of soil, allowing the soil to be loosened. The plugs, also called cores, are removed using an aerator which plucks them out, permitting air, water, and nutrients to be absorbed more easily. The plugs are generally 1”-3” in length and are left on the surface to decompose and give nutrients back to the lawn.
Aeration is important for many reasons.
- It gives roots room to grow.
- It allows greater seed to soil contact which increases germination
- It allows water, nutrients, and air to reach the soil and roots.
- It stimulates new grass growth.
- It increases the decomposition of thatch.
- It improves the overall health and structure of the soil.
- It increases the reach and therefore, the effectiveness of fertilizers and weed control products.
- It decreases water runoff.
Once you’ve aerated, it’s time for overseeding.
What is Overseeding?
Overseeding means planting more grass in your existing lawn. A single blade of grass has a limited lifespan, much like leaves on a tree. When left to grow, grass produces its own seeds and drops them to keep the growing cycle going but when you have a commercial property, it’s important to your property’s image to keep it well trimmed and neat. Overseeding gives your turf some help reproducing itself.
By overseeding, your lawn will be better equipped to:
- Fight diseases like Red Thread, rust diseases, Summer Patch and others
- Keep out infestations of insects
- Keep weeds from germinating and growing
- Fill bare spots
- Withstand heavy traffic
- Survive periods of drought
- Reduce the amount of water, fertilizer, and pesticides needed
Aeration and overseeding go together like peanut butter and jelly. Like Batman and Robin. Like autumn and pumpkin spice everything. Loosening the soil through aeration creates the perfect planting bed for grass seed and if the seeds are able to reach the soil, they have the best chance for germination. The seeds can penetrate the soil instead of just sitting on top of your thatch.
Aeration can be done more than once a year but overseeding should be done with aeration in late August to early October. This is when the days are warm but not too hot so the seeds aren’t facing the sweltering summer sun and water doesn’t evaporate before it reaches the roots. It also gives the roots time to establish themselves before the frigid St. Louis temperatures force the plants into dormancy.
Don’t Forget to Water!
Just like when planting an entirely new lawn, it’s vital to water the seeds faithfully. At Bluegrass, we recommend watering your lawn for 10 minutes 3 times a day for 10 days. If you do this, you’ll have grass growing out of your ears!
At Bluegrass Landscape and Snow Management, we want your lawn to rival that of your favorite golf course! We provide full maintenance of your commercial property including regular mowings, fertilization, pest control, and of course, aeration and overseeding. Call Bluegrass today at (314) 770-2828 and let us how lush and beautiful your commercial property can be!
Lawn treatments are performed by Weed Man of St. Louis, LLC, a subsideary of Bluegrass Lawncare of St. Louis, LLC.