You try to take good care of your lawn. You have it mowed at regular intervals and you make sure that it is fertilized in the fall and throughout summer. Unfortunately, this may not be enough to keep your lawn green and healthy. There are two spring or early summer tasks that may be necessary to keep your lawn looking great. Read on to get the details.
Thatch buildup is the layer of organic matter that builds up on top of the soil around the base of the grass blades. A thin layer of thatch can be a good thing, since it acts as a mulch to protect the grass roots and prevent moisture loss. The problem is when the thatch layer gets too deep and prevents moisture and nutrients from fertilizer from soaking into the soil.
Grass clippings don't generally lead to thatch. Instead, it is made up of woody material, such as leaves and needle fall, or from the dead roots and lower stems of the grass. This slightly spongy material is fine as long as it decomposes quickly enough so that the layer never gets deeper than about a finger's width. Dry weather or too rapid of a buildup can cause the layer to deepen too quickly.
Your lawn service can use a special rake to remove the thatch from the top of the soil. This rake pulls up thatch without harming the lawn.
Another useful spring task is core aeration. This technique removes small cores of soil from the lawn, which then allows moisture and nutrients to penetrate to the roots. Aeration is a must if soil compaction is a problem, since it loosens the soil so grass roots can spread. As an added benefit, it can also relieve minor thatch buildup so it doesn't get too severe.
There are lots of causes for compaction. Heavy soils, such as those with high clay content, are naturally prone to compaction. Frequent heavy rains can also cause compaction, as can prolonged periods of drought. If your lawn sees a lot of traffic, such as from pets or children, compaction is often the result.
An aeration machine is a powered machine that is pushed across your yard. It pulls out small plugs of soil that are a couple of inches long, removing them at regular intervals. The plugs are left to lie on the grass, where they slowly dissolve back into the soil from rain, irrigation, and mowing. This means the soil nutrients are reclaimed by your lawn, but the soil is now open for absorbing moisture and nutrients better.
Contact your residential lawn service this spring, such as The Cutting Edge Lawn and Landscaping LLC, once the grass is growing but before your first summer fertilization, if you think these procedures would benefit your lawn.