For first time homeowners and those who have owned their homes for many years, the importance of proper lawn care should be a priority. A home is made even more beautiful and put together when the front and back lawns are in tip-top shape.
Lawn care is essential year-round and includes regular watering, pruning, and the use of liquid lawn care products. In addition, each season requires its own specific set of lawn care practices that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with That way, no matter the season, you will be prepared to follow the proper steps to perfect seasonal lawn care.
Most of us have the basics of lawn care down. Mowing, watering, clearing leaves during the fall - these aspects of lawn care are no-brainers. But there are some less than intuitive steps you’ll need to take to make sure you are growing the healthiest lawn you can. One of these more obscure lawn care steps is lawn aeration.
What is lawn aeration, and how do you aerate your lawn properly? Read on to learn all there is to know about lawn aeration and our suggested products to try out!
Let’s start with the basics. Lawn aeration is the process of poking holes into your yard and removing circular tubes of soil. The small holes that are left over when you remove the soil act like breathing holes for your yard. With the ability to breathe more easily, your soil is also able to move nutrients more efficiently from soil to plants’ roots, allowing for greater growth and more greenery.
For every homeowner, soil compaction will become an issue at some point or another. Your lawn care routine may be the biggest culprit in compacting your soil! When you push a lawnmower repeatedly over your lawn, you’re creating pressure on the ground, causing it to compress. Similarly, having friends in the backyard for a barbeque or children playing tag can have a compressing effect on your soil.
When soil becomes compact, it becomes much denser. The more your soil has been compacted, the tougher it is for plants to grow roots. They struggle to break through the sturdy wall of dirt that compaction has created. Similarly, the dense nature of your soil makes it tough for vital nutrients, like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, to reach your plants’ roots.
You may also see soil compaction near the surface of your lawn. Known as “soil crusting,” this compaction can prevent water and any fertilizer you add to your yard from reaching the roots and hydrating your grass. Lack of water and vital nutrients will send your lawn into a period of dormancy.
Now that you know the downsides of compacted soil, monitoring your lawn for soil compaction should become part of your lawn care routine. But what are the warning signs that lawn aeration is necessary?
When analyzing your grass, you may start to see areas of your lawn that look “stressed.” These stressed areas of your yard will look less green and healthy than other parts of your yard. You may also notice a gradual thinning of the grass, as well as parts of your lawn that are dead. The grass will appear brown, dried out, and patchy.
When checking your soil, it may feel hard to the touch. The dense ground is a clear sign that lawn aeration is needed because your soil is not absorbing enough water to keep it hydrated and moist. If any puddles of rainwater form on your yard, you can be sure your soil is too compact to absorb the liquid.
Still not sure if your lawn requires aeration? The final, fool-proof way to figure out if lawn aeration is necessary is what’s known as the “screwdriver test.” Grab a regular screwdriver and push it into the soil in your yard. If the screwdriver slips in easily, your soil is hydrated, and no aeration is needed. If you struggle to get your screwdriver to penetrate your soil, it’s time for aeration!
While the majority of lawns will require lawn aeration at one point or another during the year, you may be wondering how to prevent the need for lawn aeration more frequently than that. The best way to be sure your lawn does not need frequent aeration is to be proactive about soil compaction.
Lawn aeration does not give you a license to stop mowing your lawn or to shut your backyard off from friends and family. But it does mean that you can be more mindful of certain things, like choosing a lightweight lawnmower and controlling the amount of foot traffic your lawn sees daily. Avoid mowing your lawn when the soil is wet, as the pressure from your mower will pack down the moist soil even further.
At Simple Lawn Solutions, we pride ourselves on creating the highest quality, most effective lawn care products, no matter what your yard needs! In the case of lawn aeration, we have a clear favorite product to make aerating your yard that much easier.
Though you can manually aerate your lawn, this process can be time and labor-intensive. Using a liquid lawn care product takes the stress out of the process and gets your yard looking healthy and lush in no time.
Once you’ve aerated your lawn, whether manually or with a liquid lawn care product, you may feel like you can hang up your gardening gloves and leave your yard be. But there is more to be done to ensure that you have not aerated needlessly!
We recommend fertilizing your lawn right after aeration when the soil is breathing and can best absorb the nutrients present in the fertilizer you’ve chosen. Since there are many fertilizers to choose from, be sure to select one that is appropriate to the time of year in which you’ve aerated your lawn.
Fertilizing your lawn has a myriad of benefits, both short and long term, that contribute to the overall health and look of your yard. Benefits of including lawn fertilization into your lawn care routine include:
Choosing the appropriate fertilizer means taking a closer look at what nutrients your lawn needs to grow and thrive. At Simple Lawn Solutions, we want you to know that the three nutrients your yard needs most are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). You will often see the acronym ‘NPK’ noted on bags of fertilizer or liquid lawn care products. But what can you expect from the macronutrients listed above?
Nitrogen is the nutrient instrumental in giving your lawn a vibrant, brilliant green color, the kind of color that will have your neighbors stopping on their walks around the block. Nitrogen keeps your yard from appearing patchy, thin, or yellow.
Phosphorus helps to stimulate root growth and enhance overall plant health. You should be sure to fertilizer a newly-seeded lawn with phosphorus to promote growth from the first day of seeding! Be sure to test your yard periodically, as too much phosphorus can be detrimental and cause an increase of pesky weeds.
Despite coming last on our list, potassium may be the most important of the three macronutrients. Potassium is responsible for facilitating some of the most crucial internal processes of the plant cell, including photosynthesis, respiration, water absorption, and protein production.
Beyond aerating and fertilizing your lawn, there are many other seasonally-specific lawn care steps you can take to be sure your lawn stays healthy all year long.
Mid-April is an ideal time to fertilize your yard, as the temperature of the soil has warmed enough to allow nutrients from your liquid lawn care product to permeate the ground. Once you’ve fertilized, turn your attention to properly watering your lawn. Increased rainfall in the spring means there is no need to water your grass more than one inch per week. Overwatering your lawn can drown your yard’s roots and encourage weed growth.
Be sure to seed your grass in the spring as well. Seeding during the spring replenishes your grass so that your lawn looks consistently green and lush instead of patchy and thin. Additionally, weeds, especially crabgrass, begin to germinate during late spring. The best way to get rid of crabgrass? Grab and rip!
Mowing is incredibly important during the summer months, but did you know that the height you mow your lawn matters? Set your mower to chop your grass at no more than three inches in height, to allow your lawn to develop a deeper root system.
Weed control extends from the spring into the summer months. There are many liquid lawn care products you can use to take care of excess weeds, especially if you were not as proactive about preventing crabgrass growth during the spring.
Fall is a crucial time to prepare your lawn for the harsh winter months. As the leaves fall and coat your yard, you’ll want to rake them up and clear away any additional debris, such as twigs and small branches. Allowing leaves to form a carpet on your lawn can lead to moisture becoming trapped under them, which can cause rot and affect the health of your yard.
You should perform aeration to your yard in the fall. You can either physically aerate or use a liquid lawn care product, such as Simple Lawn Solutions Soil Loosener. When you fertilize in the fall, be sure to choose a product that provides slow-release nitrogen to help your grass retain its green color longer.
Lawns become dormant during the winter months, so there are few lawn care steps you’ll need to take during this time. It’s crucial to have removed fall leaves before the frost and snow set in, so that a hard, icy layer of leaves does not sit on your lawn for months. This will keep your lawn disease-free.
Now that you are armed with all the knowledge you need to perfectly aerate, fertilize, and maintain your lawn, grab one of our favorite liquid lawn care products and get to it!
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