It’s spring in Oklahoma! The time of year when we all get to embrace the redbuds blooming, leaves returning to the trees, and your lawn quits napping and begins to grow again. Amongst all of the spring outdoor projects you may have for this new season, there is one thing in particular that you can do for your lawn to not only help it for this season but for the seasons to come…..Core Aeration. Believe it or not your lawn is a living, breathing thing that relies on the same 3 things that we do for survival: food, water, and oxygen. Having your bermuda grass lawn aerated between the months of April-July or your fescue grass lawn aerated in September-October, vastly increases your lawn’s ability to absorb all three of these. Which, in turn, improves the overall health and appearance of your property! If you have lived in Oklahoma for any amount of time, you are probably aware of the fact that our soils here are naturally….well, poor. The vast majority of us are here are burdened with trying to grow turf/plants into that hard, compacted, sticky red clay soil, and as an avid gardener myself I can promise you, I understand the frustration! Our compacted soils here limit the root system’s ability to establish and spread, but aeration is one of the best ways to counteract that from happening.
A core aeration machine is a little larger than the size of a lawn mower, and behind the smooth drum on the front of it, is a row of 5 hollow tines that spin along with the drum. These tines will impact the surface of the turf and in doing so, they will actually remove multiple wine cork sized plugs (cores) of soil and turf. By doing this, you are have now created thousands of small pockets in the lawn where fertilizer (food), water, and oxygen are more readily available to the root system. The cores themselves have no benefit, but the majority of them will disintegrate with water or be sucked up by the lawn mower after you cut the lawn. Another added bonus to having your lawn aerated is that an aeration will help reduce the amount of thatch build up between the actively growing shoots/blades of your grass and the soil. Thatch is the remains of decomposed plant parts that cannot be broken down quickly enough by the organisms in the soil and naturally just remain on the surface of the soil. Over time excessive thatch will actually inhibit the root system’s ability to reach the soil, resulting in poor turf quality and dead patches of turf. If your goal is to have that picture perfect lawn this season, having it aerated will not only help make that become a reality, but your grass will thank you for it too!