Step outside in Atlanta’s August heat and you might be able to hear a strangled lawn whisper, “I can’t breathe.”
Thick thatch and compressed soil stifle lawn roots and prevent air, water and nutrients from entering, despite adequate water and fertilizer. The heat of summer doesn’t help either as turf becomes more stressed.
That’s where turf management, such as aeration and over-seeding come into the picture.
Aeration is CPR for suffocating turf. It opens up lawn lungs and relieves compaction through the removal of 1/2-inch diameter plugs of thatch and soil. Additionally, over-seeding can help patch up any rough patches and revive worn lawns.
Here is why aeration, especially on Atlanta’s fescue lawns, is important during this time of year on your commercial property.
How turf spells R-E-L-I-E-F
Turf trouble starts not only due to poor turf management, but also due to the intensity of growth throughout the spring and summer. It constricts the top 4 inches of soil, blocking air, water and nutrients from turf roots.
As this happens, turf becomes powerless against weeds and is slow to recover from traffic or mower injury. Compaction also has adverse effects on the earthworms and microorganisms that decompose decaying plant parts to help improve the soil because the air that breaks them down is no longer getting through.
This is when thatch is formed, which is a layer of all of these parts that won’t decompose. It can weaken or even destroy a lawn if it reaches a half of an inch thick.
In fact, compacted turf will even show symptoms that falsely point to insects, diseases, improper watering or lack of fertilizer when compaction is really the problem.
Enter aeration. This helps alleviate excessive thatch, reduce water runoff and increase water penetration in turfgrass.
Aeration removes plugs of soil and thatch, giving turf roots the room they need to breathe and absorb nutrients and water. The plugs dry up or are broken down with subsequent mowings and benefit the lawn further by acting as additional topdressing.
For optimal turf management, fall is the best time to aerate cool-season lawns to enhance the development of deep root systems. This is especially important for Atlanta’s cool-season lawns like fescue.
HighGrove crews begin turf management now so we can get workers out performing aeration on fescue lawns in September when the weather begins to cool. We aerate Atlanta’s warm-season grasses, like Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass, in late spring and early summer when plants are actively growing.
The temperatures may still be toasty in Atlanta during the day, but the mornings and evenings are beginning to cool. This means it’s nearly time to over-seed fescue turf as well as to fill in any rough patches and get back that lush carpet of thick lawn.
Over-seeding usually follows aeration because the turf is opened up and this gives new seeds the room they need to grow.
Aeration and over-seeding are essential annual services because they promote long-term lawn survival.
HighGrove turf professionals can help any commercial property manager prolong the life of their lawn investment. Have our turf experts inspect your metro-Atlanta commercial property and suggest a turf care plan that fits your needs. Call us at (678) 298-0550 or use our simple contact form.
Image credit: Moyan Brenn