Here in the Louisville, KY area, we’re known for awesome things like being the home of Muhammad Ali, Louisville Slugger, and the Kentucky Derby. Unfortunately, in the world of lawn care, our region is also known for having heavy clay soils.
Because Louisville’s soil is predominantly clay, it does become compacted pretty easily. Clay soil has small pore space to begin with and when it becomes compacted, it’s very difficult for water, oxygen, or nutrients to move toward the subsurface levels where they’re needed most.
That’s why a service like lawn aeration is so imperative. Lawn aeration helps to alleviate compaction and allow your lawn to “breathe” again.
But will you really notice that big of a difference before and after aerating a lawn?
The answer is a definitive yes!
After lawn aeration is completed, there are going to be some important changes that will improve your lawn’s overall health and appearance.
In this lawn aeration guide, we will cover what you can expect before and after aerating a lawn and why it’s so important to consider.
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to ask us, Do I really need lawn aeration?
Or, sometimes the question is, Does lawn aeration really work?
We understand that before you invest in any service, you want to make sure that it’s worth that investment. Sometimes if a lawn looks relatively good already, you might also be inclined to just overlook a service like lawn aeration.
The trouble is that compacted soil can be a setback every year. At first, it might not seem like such a big deal, but soil compaction becomes worse and worse over time. Even simple things like walking and mowing the lawn can increase the level of compaction.
Since our clay soil is already so prone to this issue, it doesn’t take much for this to occur.
Before lawn aeration, compacted soil can mean that your lawn isn’t achieving its full potential because oxygen, water, and nutrients are struggling to move down to the root zone where they’re desperately needed.
That can even mean that you’re not getting the maximum value out of your lawn care services because lawn care products are just sitting atop the soil.
Compacted soil can lead to other issues as well. For instance, it’s common for poorly draining, compacted soils to become waterlogged. Waterlogging occurs when water is unable to drain. With no air space left, your grassroots can literally drown.
Grass also does not grow as well in compacted soil. Since grass needs oxygen, water, and nutrients to thrive, a lawn can begin to struggle when it’s not receiving ample supplies of those necessities.
Before lawn aeration, you might notice that your lawn is under-performing.
This might show up in terms of color, thickness, and just overall vigor.
Let’s talk about what to expect after lawn aeration has been done on your property.
Immediately after lawn aeration is completed, you will see that your lawn has “holes” throughout and that there are small cores of soil that were left behind. These cores were intentionally left on the ground to decompose back into the soil and add vital nutrients.
This mechanical process is a valuable way to break up soil compaction.
In the immediate aftermath of this service, you’re not going to notice an immediate change. As with most lawn care services, you have to trust the process. We typically perform lawn aeration in the fall and you might not truly notice the full benefits of lawn aeration until the following spring, when a new growing season begins.
Lawn aeration is best performed in the fall for a couple of key reasons.
For one, we’re pairing that service with overseeding and therefore seeding the lawn to grow new grass. But grass seed is best planted in the fall. This is because the weather conditions are optimal for new grass growth. The air is cooling down a bit but the soil is still warm.
In the fall, your new grass won’t get fried like it might in the spring or summer.
Seeding in the fall is also important because of our efforts to control crabgrass in the spring. A big part of the crabgrass control strategy involves preventing it in the first place. This can be achieved with a product called pre-emergent. Some people also refer to this as “crabgrass preventer.”
Crabgrass preventer works by forming a barrier at the surface of the soil that intercepts crabgrass germination. When the germinating seeds come into contact with that barrier, they stop growing.
The trouble is that crabgrass preventer will also stop grass seed from germinating. That means that if you were to seed your lawn in the spring, you wouldn’t be able to also apply crabgrass pre-emergent.
For these reasons, it is best to stick to lawn aeration and overseeding in the fall.
At Limbwalker, we also offer a service called power seeding which is more intense than lawn aeration.
Like aeration and overseeding, power seeding involves planting new grass seed. But with power seeding, we are using a machine to actually cut rows into the soil and plant the seeds. It’s a more intensive service that can work wonders (particularly if your lawn is in really bad shape) but it might be more than your lawn needs.
Power seeding is also not something you’d likely have done annually since it is such an intensive service. But lawn aeration can definitely be performed every year.
In fact, keeping up with lawn aeration annually will really start to pay off with amazing results.
Hopefully, this lawn aeration guide has given you some reasons to consider making lawn aeration a regular part of your lawn care schedule.
Every year the summer conditions (including heat, drought, disease, and even pests) can really take a toll on the lawn. It’s not uncommon for bare spots to form and the lawn to look a little rough, even if it’s been taken care of.
But lawn aeration and overseeding can help fill in spots while also breaking up compaction and helping your lawn “breathe.” The end result is thicker and healthier grass.
At the end of the day, we know that you just want what’s best for your lawn and we’re here to help. We want to be your partner in lawn care success.
Are you ready to have a thick and healthy lawn that’s getting everything it needs at your Louisville, KY home? Get in touch with us to get a quote for our lawn care programs, which include three lawn care pricing options, and about adding power seeding to one of those programs.