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Winterizing your lawn – Part 2

Winterizing your lawn – Part 2

Aerating in the Fall The summer is both a time of growth and harm for turf.  With people outside, enjoying their yards, playing sports and gardening, grass takes a beating.  Compaction is one of the worst problems inflicted on lawns with lots of foot traffic.  Compaction compresses the spaces in the soil where oxygen can be available to the roots.  Without oxygen, the plants cannot complete their metabolic processes  (breaking down the sugars they have stored from photosynthesis) and will die. Aerating helps overcome compaction.  A punch-core aerator is best.  That is the type of aerator used at golf courses, and leaves the little soil cores all over the soil.  That opens up spaces within the soil that can be top-dressed with compost or sand (depending upon your soil type), which will improve soil fertility, and aeration.

Overseeding and Topdressing the Lawn The early fall is a good time to overseed a lawn that might need renovation.  Warm season weeds will be dying off, opening up space for grass and reducing competition.  Grass that can establish itself in the fall will come back in the spring, more vigorous.  Before overseeding, aerate and top-dress with compost or sand.  This is an easy way to ensure a more lush lawn in the spring.

De-thatching for the Winter A thin layer of thatch is actually beneficial to lawns.  A layer beyond ½ inch thick is not beneficial, and can promote disease and fungal problems by limiting airflow between the soil and the top of grass.  Thatch is not composed of grass clippings, as many people suggest, but is rather dead stems that build up between the soil and the growing grass leaves.  Aerating is the best way to control thatch issues in a lawn. Each of these tasks will help you winterize your lawn for healthy growth in the spring.

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