With May upon us, more and more Calgarians are heading outdoors to enjoy the (hopefully) warming weather. Calgary frequently still sees snow in May, and especially around May Long when everyone tries to go camping, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start thinking about your yard and landscaping.
Even if you’ve never aerated your lawn before, you’ve likely seen the tell tale soil plugs scattered over parks and outdoor sports fields. These sorts of areas, which have children and pets frequently running around, suffer from constant soil compaction, so the city often aerates in both spring and fall to keep the fields as healthy as possible. However, you don’t need an entire soccer team practicing nightly to have compact soil. Many Calgary lawns suffer from compacted conditions and the poor drainage and root development that come with it. Aeration can help.
Compacted soil refers to any turf where the ground is so tightly packed down that air, water, beneficial insects, and plant roots can’t easily move from the surface of the earth deeper into the dirt. As you can imagine, this makes it difficult for your lawn to prosper. Aeration helps to loosen compact soil by poking holes into the ground at least 2-3 inches deep and removing plugs of dirt. As the dirt resettles, the soil is looser. Water, roots, helpful insects, and air can more easily pass through it, and your lawn can breathe again.
The best times to aerate are spring and fall. You want to aerate within the growing season, so new grass can grow into the areas where the plugs are removed. Mow your lawn and water the yard deeply the day before you’ve scheduled your aeration (unless that’s unnecessary thanks to a convenient rain storm); aerating is significantly more effective when soil is moist and more dirt can be easily pulled from the plugs.
Within the first 48 hours of aerating, nutrients, water, seeds, and air will be able to easily penetrate deep into the soil, so it’s a great time to fertilize and reseed your lawn if necessary. Remember that fertilizers that contain weed control may also stop grass seeds from germinating. Choose an appropriate growing fertilizer instead of one that controls weeds if you plan on reseeding. After about a week, the plugs should be dried out, and you can mow again. The lawn mower will break up the plugs, recreating your lawn’s uniform look.
Aerating isn’t necessary for everyone. If your yard is already thriving and water is absorbed into the soil instead of running off onto the street, you can likely skip aerating this year. However, if you are unsatisfied with how your lawn looks or the way your soil feels, the Calgary landscaping and lawn experts at Five Star Landscaping can help. Give us a call today at 403-203-4058 or request a quote online.