Most of the time, lawn maintenance will rely on the completion of a few regular tasks. Everyone knows the need to mow, fertilize, weed and aerate. While it’s easy to tell when to mow, fertilize or weed your yard, knowing when to aerate can be a bit more difficult to determine.

Aerating your lawn is important because lawns that regularly handle foot or vehicle traffic can become compacted over time. This is one of the reasons we recommend varying your mowing patterns. As lawns become compacted, water has difficulty penetrating the surface and roots aren’t able to extend like they should. Over time, your lawn will begin to lose that lush, green look you’ve worked so hard to achieve. If you notice this happening with your lawn, it may be time to aerate. Other signs to look for can include puddling water after rain, slow drainage, lack of growth and hardness of soil.

A simple examination can be conducted to tell if you should aerate your lawn. Try to insert a pencil or screwdriver into the soil. If the soil is compacted, this will prove hard to accomplish. In order to verify this finding, try digging a small, square foot-section of grass about six inches deep to see if the roots are suffering. If the blade sinks easily into the ground, the soil may not be compacted. However, if it is difficult to do and causes you to struggle, you probably need to aerate. This can be further verified once the small square has been dug up. Look at the thatch. Thatch tends to lie between the grass blades and the soil. If the thatch is more than a half inch thick, you will need to aerate. Look at the roots of the grass itself. If they only extend one or two inches, this is another sign that you may need to aerate your lawn.

Like anything, timing for this test is key. Grass of the cool season tend to be the longest in late spring while turf roots of the warm season are at their best in the fall

A lawn care professional can help determine whether or not aerating your lawn is the best step. If you live in Grove, OK or Joplin, MO contact our office for a consultation.