Many things in life may be great all on their own but are even better when paired with something equally as great. People, for example, tend to love peanut butter and jelly together or milk and cookies. However, outside of the food umbrella, other aspects do more good if they work as a team. In this case, we’re referring to the power of aeration and overseeding your lawn. These two can do good things for the grass and soil, and if you put them together, it can be a total game-changer for your home!
What is aeration and its purpose?
Aeration is one of the top neglected and forgotten lawn tasks, but ironically one of the most important ones for its health! Aerating your lawn is a process that should be done annually, at least, to keep the soil at a healthy place for growing any grass or other greenery. It is the process of a machine poking holes into the ground at least a few inches down, breaking up the soil to combat soil compaction. Soil compaction is simply when the dirt on your lawn has become too dense and much less porous, which down the line can cause problems for your plants. This issue can make it hard for fertilizer treatments to take well, and if you do aerate, the plugs of dirt that get pulled up during the process will eventually recycle excess nutrients back into the soil where they’re needed!
While it may seem counter intuitive to be poking holes into the ground all over your lawn, this process can be precisely what it needs to survive! By breaking up the soil, these holes will allow much more sun, water, and other nutrients such as oxygen to reach further down into the ground where the roots reside. Grass roots, in particular, should have room to spread, making room for them to grow bigger and thicker! Without all of these necessities, your grass/plants will continue to struggle to grow and may eventually succumb to other issues later on. Think about this process as people taking the time to open up our pores to make our skin healthier overall.
What is overseeding and its purpose?
Overseeding is another outdoor “chore” that is forgotten about, or people procrastinate on doing. This process can vary depending on the state of your lawn, but the basic concept is always the same. This process is using another machine (or often connected to the aerating machine, too) to spread grass seeds evenly across your lawn so you can begin the process of new grass growth on your property. There are only a few ways to really promote growth, and this is probably the most effective out of all of them! This is also, in turn, a great way to encourage your lawn to better fight off diseases and insects that could try making their way in-both of which can ruin your yard even more.
The main reason for spreading grass seed like this is if your lawn is pretty barren of any grass or has spots that are thinning noticeably throughout the lawn. Applying plenty of grass seed will ensure most of them take hold and start to grow new grass in those spots where you need it, so you can have a thick carpet of grass you’re otherwise lacking! It’s not always too noticeable either if your grass is thinning, not right away anyways, but once you commit to this lawn treatment, it won’t take long to realize where it was lacking before!
Do’s and don’ts I should keep in mind?
Just like almost everything else, there’s a right and a wrong way to do both of these lawn treatments. When it comes to lawn maintenance or care in general, there’s usually something you’re doing right and something you’re doing wrong; knowing the difference between the two is crucial! One of the top issues homeowners have is using the wrong type of equipment to aerate and overseed their lawns, including attempting a ‘do it yourself (DIY)’ approach with spiked shoes. Aeration is much more than just holes in the ground, so even using spiked aerators can cause issues for the areas around the holes-it’s much more preferable to invest in a plug aerator. They removed plugs of soil from the ground about 2-3 inches deep to ensure the job is getting done right. One problem that goes hand-in-hand with using the wrong equipment is using the equipment the wrong way. Push behind aerators, for example, are a common choice but can lead to a more sloppy job with inconsistent growth. You also risk damaging the turf if you do not lift the tines as you make your turns!
Another major issue coming from home-done jobs is doing these treatments during the completely wrong times of the year and in dry conditions. When it’s too dry out, you not only risk injury to yourself more due to more intense manual labor but also stressing the grass out more. It’s best to wait until the day after it’s rained, which will help loosen up the soil where you’re trying to treat. In terms of the time of year, it’s much better to wait until new life has the best chances of growing in your area. Depending on where you live, this might change because of the climate. In general, doing so during the mid-summer is never a good idea, as the intense heat and rays from the sun can do more harm than good. It’s also never good to do it during wintertime, as the frost or extremely low temperatures can kill the seeds before they have a chance to grow. One more piece of advice it’s always best to follow is to make sure to keep your lawn moist afterward, as that will foster growth!
What equipment is needed, or methods to use?
There are traditional methods for these lawn treatments that are tried and true, meaning they’ve been used for years and do work if done right. These methods include aerating late spring while overseeding in the early fall and using a drum aerator and a mechanical overseeder to do the job. These are popular in the industry due to the reasonable price; however, they have potential issues, as mentioned above. Users of these drum aerators must lift up on the handle to disengage the tines from the ground to prevent damage, which is more strenuous physical work in the end. Those mechanically driven overseeders are effective in distributing seeds evenly; they are unfortunately again more grueling as they can weigh over 200 pounds with the seeds loaded up!
There are newer, more efficient ways to accomplish getting the process done, however. Many companies have now begun to switch over to machines, including a verti-slicer in the mix in lue of overseeding and will do it simultaneously with aerating the lawn or within days afterward. This piece of equipment is excellent for creating grooves for those grass seeds to be in direct contact with the soil, which does help in the germination process. This process is still labor-intensive but much less so than the traditional ways. Even newer technology has come a long way, making it possible to do both jobs in one visit while lowering the amount of time it takes. They also can work much more manageable on dryer soil, and since they tend to weigh a lot less, they’re easier to maneuver and create much higher-quality cores. These new pieces of technology can make sure your lawn needs fewer treatments, and these “renovations” on it can take much less time than they would have previously!
To go professional, or to not go professional?
As a homeowner, you’ve always got to do what is best for yourself and your home. Doing these types of jobs yourself can be a fulfilling, proud moment for you – and if that’s what matters to you, then, by all means, give it your best shot! They can, though, be physically draining and tedious tasks that have the potential to create more problems for your soil than you had before if you’re not careful. Between the cost of equipment, lack of knowledge, and the fatigue it can cause, most people will opt for hiring professionals to take care of it for them. Those professionals, such as those at Revolution Landscape and Design, will be able to handle your lawn with care while getting in and out so you can have your home back in no time at all. In the end, it is your choice, but we highly encourage letting those who do this for a living take this challenge on, so all you as the customer have to do is make a phone call and then watch the results come to life!