To achieve and maintain one of those amazing expanses of lawn your commercial property neighbors are jealous of, you need to take care of it.
This means proper and regular mowing, consistent fertilization, persistent weed control, correct and adequate watering and scouting for any problems, such as insects and drought or traffic stress.
But you also have to make sure the nutrients you’re giving the turf are actually making it to where they need to go, which is the soil beneath your grass.
Enter aeration. Aeration can be an important element for a healthy lawn because the process actually allows air and water to penetrate built-up grass or lawn thatch.
But when is the best time to perform aeration based on your lawn type? This can get a bit tricky. Let’s review the process of aeration, its benefits, why it helps enhance commercial turfgrass and also provide an answer to when should you aerate your lawn.
What Is Aeration And How Is It Beneficial?
Turf aeration is a process by which we use a specialized, heavy-duty machine to perforate the soil with thousands of small holes, pulling out ½-inch, worm-like plugs or cores of soil. We prefer to leave the plugs in place so they can break up and decompose over a couple of weeks, returning good nutrients and topdressing to the soil via subsequent mowing.
While aeration itself usually takes only a couple of hours, depending on your commercial property’s overall size, plugs take two weeks to break down and return to the soil. Weather can shorten or lengthen this process, but mowing helps speed up the process.
Aeration allows air, water and nutrients to reach plant roots. Not only does this help roots grow more deeply, but this creates an overall stronger stand of grass that has more vigorous growth tendencies.
The biggest reason we aerate turf is to relieve soil compaction. In fact, according to The Lawn Institute, over two-thirds of American lawns are growing on compacted soils! For soils that are extremely compact, the signs can be tough to spot.
Usually, grass may seem off-color or turf may thin or show signs of stress in high temperatures. Also because the grass is weak, it may be more susceptible to insect and disease infestation, which means more brown patches and unsightly spots.
Atlanta soils can have a heavy clay base, and during the year your commercial lawn soil continues to become packed down by foot traffic, mowers and other equipment.
Soil also becomes baked harder by summer’s extreme heat and the impact of regular rainfall. All of this compaction throughout the year gives the soil a tough, solid-as-a-brick quality.
If you’ve ever dug your hand into fresh, loose, loamy topsoil, you know that plant roots have a much easier time growing in that than soil that’s hard as a rock, not giving roots easy access to spread out. This is because the soil is airy, with proper air, water and nutrient circulation capabilities and without heavy lawn thatch buildup, which can starve turf roots.
Thatch accumulates on the soil surface just below the grass line. While it’s usually out of sight, this layer of grass stems, roots, clippings and debris settles on the ground and accumulates over time. Aeration helps break this up, returning those preferable airy qualities to the soil.
Aerating once a year keeps high-traffic commercial soils from becoming too compact and restricting turfgrass growth.
When Is The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn In Atlanta?
On Atlanta commercial properties, we don’t do a lot of warm-season turf aeration. But we do perform aeration on cool-season turf like fescue in the fall. The reason this timing is best is because it’s just before the grass begins rapid growth. Fescue, specifically, is most productively growing in fall, so September and October are ideal months for aeration.
We like to revive fescue lawns in fall with aeration and combine that with an overseeding to strengthen the fescue stands of turf and help worn or bare areas recover from heavy foot traffic or excessive wear-and-tear.
Aeration creates that airiness in the soil that helps those fescue seeds take root and build thicker overall grass. Our overseeding service doesn’t take more than one day to complete, depending on the size of your property, but seed germination and turfgrass establishment takes roughly 14 to 21 days.
Is Aeration And Overseeding Included In A Commercial Maintenance Contract?
HighGrove Partners includes aeration and overseeding services in contracts for properties that have cool-season turfgrasses.
For commercial properties with warm-season turfgrasses, such as bermudagrass, zoysiagrass or centipedegrass, we sell aeration as an upgrade and typically perform the service in the spring.
This is ideal timing because those lawns have just completed green-up and are primed and ready for more vigorous growth.
Aeration service upgrade costs vary based on property size, but start at $250. If you have a particularly high-traffic, warm-season turf area where compaction becomes a problem, these services may be beneficial for you.
Commercial Lawn Care Starts With Fall Aeration
As nighttime temperatures begin to cool, the time is perfect for aeration and overseeding of fescue turf on Atlanta commercial properties. Aeration is a simple annual process that helps relieve your compacted commercial soil so turf roots can spread out and the grass can thrive and become thicker, improving in appearance and overall health.
HighGrove Partners’ expert teams can revive your tired turf and bring a fresh appearance with fall aeration services. Give us a call at 678-298-0550 or use our simple contact form.Last modified: April 7, 2022