What is Aeration and Overseeding?
Aeration is the process of pulling cores of soil and redistributing them across your lawn. This procedure is done with a machine that has hollow tines that pull out the “plugs”. The plugs will then remain on your lawn for a few weeks before breaking down and returning nutrients to your soil. After going over your lawn with the core aerator we will spread a generous amount of grass seed. Overseeding after aeration makes the most of having the open holes down into the ground giving the seeds good soil contact and ensuring superior germination. This grass seed mix will contain a variety of cool-season grasses that stand up well to conditions in Western Pennsylvania.
What are the Benefits?
Aeration and overseeding is recommended annually in the fall for many reasons:
Reduce Soil Compaction
Soil compaction happens when you have foot traffic, heavy equipment, or climate stress on your lawn. Core aeration will help alleviate soil compaction, which leads to improved water and airflow to the soil level. This in turn results in a stronger, healthier root system for your turf.
Stronger Healthier Root System
A robust root system will improve the fertilizer uptake and use, as well as give your turf an increased tolerance to stressors including heat, drought and disease.
An additional benefit of aeration is reducing the build-up of dead and living shoots, stems, and roots, between the green parts of your grass and the soil surface called thatch.
With improved water flow and reduced thatch you will also see less water runoff and puddles.
If weeds are of concern, core aeration and overseeding can eventually decrease the weeds you see that pop up in weak spots by helping to thicken your lawn.
What Should I Do Before?
You, our valued customer, can play a role in making your aeration and overseeding a success. Before we come out to perform this service we will give one week’s notice so that you can have your lawn ready for us. We need you to mark any hazards that we need to avoid with the aerator. The tines will go down 3 to 5 inches and we don’t want to damage any sprinkler heads, dog fences, electrical lines, french drains, gas shut-off valves, or sewage vent pipes. You can also prepare for aeration by mowing one or two days before we come out and dropping the mower blade down to cut at about 1.5 to 2 inches if possible. Be sure not to scalp the lawn. Please also make sure to clean up any leaves or debris that could interfere with the tines of the machine or the seeds reaching the soil. Watering thoroughly in the days leading up to aeration is an important step in the process. Having softer, moist soil can make the aeration and overseed more effective. To check if the lawn is moist enough, a screwdriver should push down into the soil easily. If the screwdriver is difficult to insert, water another inch and try again.
What Should I Do After?
Once the aeration and overseeding are performed there are a few things you can do to help ensure that the best results are achieved. It is recommended to water daily for at least 3 weeks after overseeding. Watering in the morning between 6 and 10 am is best to avoid the afternoon’s high evaporation rates and the possible fungus risks your lawn could face if watered at night. You should also avoid mowing for a few weeks after overseeding your lawn, giving the seeds enough time to germinate. When you are ready to resume mowing you should raise your mower blade to the highest setting. As your new seeds germinate through the first month it is also recommended that you keep your foot traffic to a minimum. This ensures that the seed has the best chance to germinate and sprout new growth. Be sure to leave the soil plugs on your lawn after aeration. They will break down naturally over time and return nutrients to the soil.