Lawn care in the Mid-Cities, and throughout the Metroplex, can be challenging due to the clay rich soil prevalent in the area. Clay dirt can be highly fertile, but in the winter months it can retain too much moisture and become water logged. In hotter temperatures, it cracks and creates clods. It can also become compressed and compacted anytime of year through watering, rain, lawn mowing, or excessive use. Over time, oxygen, water, and nutrients can be prevented from reaching the lawn's roots.
Signs of a compacted lawn are:
One of the best ways to combat compressed soil is through aeration. Aeration is a process which creates small holes in the dirt to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the topsoil to reach the roots of the lawn. It can be done through spiking the ground or using equipment that creates holes and removes some dirt at the same time. For the best results in clay soil, some dirt should be removed when holes are made rather than just spiking which can compact the sides of the holes even further.
To combat heavy clods of clay dirt, Texas A & M horticulturists suggest putting down compost immediately after aerating and then watering to help the compost filter down into the holes. This will still allow air to flow and by adding organic matter, the structure of the ground will eventually be improved and more manageable. This will also help create a stronger root system and result in a more healthy, vibrant lawn.
Aerating can be done annually, but the best time of year to aerate is based on the type of grass you have. For cool season grasses, early fall or spring is good. For warm season grasses, aerating should be done in late spring. Some high traffic areas may need to be done more than once a year.
Benefits to aerating are:
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