What are Aeration and Seeding?
Aeration is the physical removal of soil cores from the lawn. These cores can be removed manually or by machine.
A core about 1-2 inches is removed thousands of times in the average home owner's lawn. When seeding to ensure the highest level of success when sowing new seed, double aerate the lawn in a crisscross pattern. By doing this, there will be twice as many holes for the seeds to fall into. The more holes, the thicker the lawn will be in the end.
Core aeration and seeding is the best mechanical and cultural practice a homeowner can do to improve the overall quality and health of their lawn. Many of the benefits of aeration and seeding include: reduction in soil compaction, increased oxygen uptake by the plant roots, increased root development, improved nutrient uptake, and improved plant ability to use water more effectively. This allows for the lawn to stand up to environmental and natural stresses such as heat, insects and diseases.
When the cores are removed, they're deposited onto the surface. Within each soil core are millions of microbes. These microbes are hungry and begin to feed on the thatch and the surface debris thereby breaking them down. This plentiful food source is needed for these microbes to multiply. This increase microbial activity helps to sustain a healthier lawn.
When seeding the lawn, it is important to apply the right amount of seeds based on the variety or blend being used. This information can be found on the seed label. For example, Tall Fescue is seeded at a rate of 5lbs. per 1000ft. Much like core aeration, it is best to apply the seed in a checkerboard or crisscross pattern. This will ensure enough seed will fall down into holes. Grass seed will not grow unless there is good contact with the soil.
When Do I Aerate?
The final step in seeding the lawn is to back drag with a metal mat. This mat is similar to what is used on a baseball field. This knocks the seed off the surface and into the holes. This provides good seed-to-soil contact. The best time of year to aerate depends on what type of lawn grasses are growing. Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky Bluegrass or Tall Fescue, should be aerated and seeded in late summer through fall. Generally speaking, this will be from mid-August to mid-October. Warm-season grasses, such as Zoysias and Bermudas, should be aerated when they are more actively growing - usually early summer.
By following these processes for aeration and overseeding you too can have a healthy lawn that's environmentally friendly and uses fewer pesticides. For more information on aeration and overseeding, or for other helpful facts on lawn care, please visit our website at naturalawn.com.