Lawn Aeration and Topdressing
Spring tends to arrive here in the Austin area bringing warm springtime temperatures and it’s the perfect time to get a head start on a lush, healthy lawn via Aeration and Topdressing. Bluebonnets will be popping up before you know it!
Lawns begin looking tired and patchy over the years, as the soil is compacted underneath areas of high foot traffic, tree roots rot and soil shifts (making the grade uneven), and vital soil nutrients are depleted without being replaced.
Two simple processes can refresh a grass plane: Aeration and Topdressing. Together, these simple landscape processes can decompact the soil, even the grade, and replenish soil nutrients.
The ultimate goal of Aeration and Topdressing–largely invisible to most homeowners–is to create a healthy soil ecosystem, or life web. A healthy soil ecosystem is sustained by a process known as “bioturbation”: that is, the process whereby soil organisms and plants shift sediment, creating channels for water and nutrition to penetrate the topsoil and become available to plant roots.
Aeration is the first step towards increasing bioturbation. A machine that is slightly larger than a lawnmower is guided over the grass plane, and as it moves, it takes out cores of soil. These openings suffuse the topsoil with oxygen, creating an aerobic environment where air, water, and nutrients can easily reach the roots of the grass.
As inputs from above the grass plane penetrate the soil below, the soil begins to loosen up, creating a more optimal habitat for soil-tilling organisms like earthworms. Their activities help to further decompact the soil.
The next step towards a healthy, organic lawn is Topdressing. This process basically entails lightly covering the lawn in a sediment mix, and raking in over so that the grass is still visible, and can continue to grow and photosynthesize. An ideal mix for top dressing is equal parts sharp sand, compost, and topsoil, but pre-mixed alternatives are readily available. Together, these components make what is called a “loam” soil.
Top-dressing replenishes soil nutrients, encourages new root growth, and converts some of the old, dead grass thatch to compost (worm food). The grass that colonizes the new top layer is lush, young and green. Additionally, repeated top-dressing in depressions in the grade can help even out a lumpy grass-plane.
These basic landscaping tasks– Aeration and Topdressing–are important to maintain a healthy lawn that will help soil flora and fauna will do their “job”, and be more happy to do it in an oxygen-rich environment that is suffused with bioavailable nutrition.
Grass Works has been providing professional Aeration and Topdressing services for Austin area customers since 2007. Get a free estimate from us and let us make your lawn beautiful again!