The grass is yellowing, weeds are invading, and your once lush lawn is thin and scraggly. You water and fertilize, but the yard still struggles. The problem may be compacted soil. Hard ground doesn't absorb very well, so the water and fertilizer can't reach the grass. Fortunately, there's a solution. Aeration perforates the soil and gets the lawn's circulation moving again. Read on to learn when and why to aerate your lawn in Charlotte, NC.
How to Know Your Lawn Needs Aeration
The first clue that Charlotte lawns need aeration is when the grass grows poorly. Thin, yellow grass is a sign of nutrient deficiency caused by compaction. There's an easy test to check soil hardness. Stick a long thin object, like a screwdriver or pencil, into the ground. If it stops short of 6 inches, you likely have a compaction issue. However, if the screwdriver pushes in easily, you probably don't need aeration.
Signs that your lawn needs aeration include:
• Hard soil
• Puddles after a rainstorm
• Dries out quickly
• Slow or no growth
• Withering, yellowing grass
• Patchy or brown lawn
• Fails the screwdriver test
When to Aerate Your Lawn
The optimal time of year to aerate is before the high-growth season, which depends on the grass type. Several varieties grow in North Carolina, so you'll need to identify your turf first. For cool-season varieties such as Kentucky bluegrass and fescue, aerate in early spring or fall when the grass can recover quickly. In contrast, St. Augustine, Bermudagrass, and other warm-season types fare better when aerated in the late spring or early summer.
The day you choose to aerate makes a difference. Aerators permeate more efficiently when the yard isn't too saturated or dry. So, the soil is usually ideal early in the morning, the day after a good rain. Then, low temperatures and high humidity give you time to finish before the moisture evaporates.
How Often to Aerate Your Lawn
Aerating once a year works for most homeowners, but it also depends on your soil type and traffic. Unhealthy lawns require a higher frequency of care. For example, areas with heavy use and lots of clay may need aerating twice a year. In addition, activities like parking cars on the lawn and playing soccer put pressure on the ground. An abundance of thatch build-up also compresses the soil. So, in the end, you should aerate as often as needed.
Why Aerate Lawns in Charlotte, NC?
Aeration is all about maintaining good soil for growing. And, in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, we have Cecil soil which is great for farms and forests. Unfortunately, high amounts of clay decrease permeability, especially in urban areas like Charlotte. Over time, foot traffic and outdoor activities compress the ground, and roots don't have room to grow. Eventually, there are no air pockets to circulate water, oxygen, and nutrients to the plants. That's why homeowners need regular aeration to keep their lawn looking lush.
If your lawn is lagging, aeration might be the cure. At Thomas Pest Control, our lawn care professionals can help you identify the problem and provide a customized solution. If you notice signs of compacted soil, call us at 704-833-8716.