Since most of the soil in Houston tends to be heavy clay, you may need to consider regularly aeration as part of your lawn maintenance program. One way to check if your lawn needs aeration is to excavate a hole about 6” deep. If grass roots have only grown 1-2 inches down, your soil is probably compacted should be aerated with a core machine. Remember the root will be deeper in late spring then summer. This is more likely to be problem if the lawn is used for a garden pathway, parking cars, or just general traffic.
Compacted soil can be even worse in areas that have standing water from existing drainage problems. Compaction greatly reduces the pore space within the soil that would normally hold air. The roots of any grass require oxygen to grow and absorb nutrients and water from the soil. If your soil is compacted the pore spaces are reduced and the amount of air, water and nutrients is reduced. This reduction can greatly impact the quality of turf by impacting the nutrient uptake rate and water infiltration rate.
Aeration and you Landscape Maintenance
There are many other benefits from aeration; increases the activity of microorganisms that promote detaching, increases water infiltration improving drainage and reducing harmful fungi, increase the earth worm population all of these things work together in a synergic relationship to give you a better lawn. Core aeration also reduces fertilizer and pesticide run off which helps the environment and ensures your are getting the most from you applications.
What is involved?
Core aeration involves the removal of small soil plugs or cores out of the lawn. You can do this manually or by hand, but it is normally accomplished by a machine that has hollow tines or spoons mounted on a disk or drum. This is where the “core” aspect comes in: it extracts 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter cores of soil and deposits them on the lawn. The holes are typically 1-3 inches deep and 2-6 inches apart. Spike type machines pushes solid spikes or tines into the soil without removing a plug. This process is not as effective because it can contribute to compaction. The coring process is the best way to reduce compaction of heavily used turf and to control thatch buildup.
In Houston, the best time to aerate St. Augustine is early spring and late summer. Bermuda grasses and Zoysia grass are best aerated during June and July. During these periods is when the lawn is in a period of vigorous growth and will recover quickly from aeration. If you are planning to over seed your lawn be sure to aerate at least 6 weeks before seeding. If not, your irrigation system or rain water could potentially wash a higher concentration of seeds into the cored holes and creating a spotted lawn.
Since 1987, Exterior Worlds has been providing lawn services in the Memorial, Piney Point Village, Bunker Hill Village, Hunter Creek Village, Tanglewood, River Oaks, West University, Bellaire and the greater Houston area. Call Exterior Worlds at 713-827-2255 to request an estimate.