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Aerating the Soil

Brian Dean » More about Brian
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Aerating is the single most important cultural practice you can do for a healthy lawn. In northern Nevada it should be done at least once and preferably twice a year in the spring and fall. Aerating will promote root growth and reduce water usage by getting oxygen and water into the root zone. While de-thatching physically removes thatch it also tears live roots mixed within the thatch layer. Aerating on the other hand is easier to do, cheaper and causes less harm to the turf.

Aerating is the process of taking 2" to 3" deep soil cores out of the soil and depositing them onto the surface. The thatch layer which is composed of dead roots and crowns that contain lignin is difficult to breakdown. This layer of thatch is hydrophobic and inhibits water and oxygen from reaching the root zone. Aerating physically breaks this barrier and the soil core left on the surface acts as a top dressing containing microbes that naturally decomposes or 'eats' the thatch from above. Lawns that have a well aerated soil will endure drought stress, fill in bare spots faster and resist insect and disease attack.



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