Aeration is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. It is the process of making thousands of holes in the turf to open the soil and break up thatch. The cores removed by aeration “melt” into the lawn and improve thatch breakdown.
Very wet weather is one of the conditions which makes aeration extremely important to the good health of your lawn.
Soil saturated with water forces air out. When this happens soil becomes very compacted. Aeration is the best cure because it removes part of the soil so that air and fertilizer can easily enter the root zone.
The root system of your lawn is constantly renewing itself by sending out new shoots. This new growth needs loose and open soil. If your lawn soil is heavy and compacted, the new roots stay near the surface or even in the thatch layer itself. This leads to a lawn that dries out too quickly and builds up thatch much faster than a deeply rooted lawn.
Another big advantage of aeration is thatch control. Thatch is the layer of living and dead stems, roots and other grass parts above the soil. When it exceeds about one half inch it becomes a breeding and incubation area for all sorts of nasty lawn diseases and insects. It is very difficult to grow a healthy turf through a heavy thatch layer.
Aeration mixes soil cores above the thatch to speed up natural decomposition. By attacking thatch on a regular basis with aeration, you can often prevent the need for extensive renovation.
Spring Lawn Maintenance – Scalping your warm season lawn (Bermuda / Zoysia Lawn)
Having a quality lawn involves promoting healthy soil, adding plenty of the right nutrients, and using proper lawn maintenance techniques. Proper lawn maintenance is an integral part of having a beautiful, healthy lawn. Start the year off right by scalping your warm season lawn.
Scalping your lawn means to mow your lawn down to 1″ and remove the dormant layer. Warm season lawns should be scalped once a year in the spring (March / April). This will help to decrease thatch, improve spring green-up, help control spring weeds, and improve the appearance of your lawn all season. Make sure to bag your clipping when scalping and use a sharp mower blade!
Every lawn in Georgia, whether new or established, is susceptible to a variety of lawn diseases because of our environmental conditions. Promoting healthy growth is the best way to prevent a severe disease outbreak. Most common lawn diseases can be avoided by optimizing maintenance and watering practices. Stressed grass is much more susceptible to disease than healthy grass. Even if a disease-causing pathogen is present, infection will not occur unless the environmental conditions are conducive to disease development. Diseases can cause major damage to a lawn if not properly treated.
Prevent Lawn Disease
Here are some ways you can help prevent disease:
1) Water your lawn early in the morning instead of at night.
2) Do not over-water your lawn. Lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week.
3) Mow your lawn on a weekly basis at the proper mowing height with a sharp blade.
4) Apply preventative fungicide treatments.
Soil compaction and thatch build-up are two of the biggest obstacles we face in Georgia. Compacted soil restricts the movement of air, water and nutrients into the soil. This can lead to excessive thatch build-up.
The Problem with Too Much Thatch
Thatch is a layer of living and dead organic matter that accumulates between the leaf blade and the soil surface. Thatch is a build-up of dead roots, lawn debris and dead turf crowns. The thatch layer is especially noticeable in Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede lawns. Excessive thatch (over 1/2″) creates an environment favorable for pests and disease. Excessive thatch also restricts the movement of water and nutrients into the soil.
Proper lawn maintenance is the key to managing a healthy thatch layer. Mowing your lawn at the proper height on a weekly basis along with annual core aeration will keep your lawn healthy and prevent excessive thatch build-up. Core aeration helps break down the thatch layer naturally. As you’re probably aware, healthy soils are full of microbes. When a lawn is aerated, small plugs of soil (including the microbes) are pulled out and deposited on the surface. The microbes almost immediately start to break down the dead organic layer of thatch. Too much thatch can be disastrous for the health of a lawn and may require an expensive de-thatching process. It is better to keep thatch under control with proper lawn maintenance and regular core aeration services.
Fireweed is a nuisance weed that pops up every spring in Georgia. This rapidly growing weed has a shallow root system and germinates in the thatch layer of lawns. Although easily controlled by post-emergent herbicide treatments, pre-emergent treatments have no effect on this invasive weed. Proper lawn maintenance practices provide the most effective means of control. Weekly mowing with a sharp mower blade at the proper mowing height will minimize Fireweed infestations. Managing your thatch layer is also important. Compacted soil and improper mowing practices can lead to excessive thatch. Spring core aeration will relieve compaction and help manage your thatch layer.
Scalping your lawn means mowing your lawn down to 1″ and removing the dormant layer. Warm season lawns should be scalped once a year in the spring (March). This will help to decrease thatch, improve spring green-up, help control spring weeds, and improve the appearance of your lawn all season.
How to Scalp
1. Make sure your mower blade is sharp. This way you are cutting instead of tearing the grass blade.
2. Bag your clippings. Although we recommend mulching your clippings with regular weekly maintenance, you should always bag your clippings when scalping.
3. Set your mower height down to 1″ or the lowest setting. Some mowers may not go down to 1″.
4. Scalp your lawn in two different directions. This will give you a more consistent cut.
Cool season lawns (Fescue lawns) should NOT be scalped in the spring. Fescue lawns should be maintained at a height of 3″ to 4″ year-round.
Give your lawn the boost it needs to look its best this year. Scalp your lawn today!