It may be summer outside with its sweltering sun and God forsaken heat, but there are other things to do to care for your lawn besides watering. There are chores to be done for seasonal lawn care. Some tasks on your to-do list include aeration and, yes, more fertilizer.
Lawn care experts probably know what aeration is, but it might be a new term for you neophytes.
During times in the year it is necessary to break up the surface of your lawn so it is better able to take oxygen, nutrients, and water into its roots. The process is called aeration. It also helps to ease up the packing down of the lawn due to heavy foot traffic, reduces thatch buildup, encourages deep rooting, and helps prepare an ideal seed bed for over seeding.
There are several methods of aerating, but the general purpose is to create holes in the surface below the grass.
One method, called core aerating, requires the use of hollow tines or forks to remove plugs of turf. The plug usually stays on the surface to be ground up and worn down by mowing or raking.
Another method of aerating is to use solid tines. No core is removed, but the surface is still pierced so air, water, and nutrients can get into the surface and there is some relief of compaction.
The chore can easily be achieved using a walk behind machine with hollow or solid tines mounted to a drum that moves the machine forward. It can also be performed more manually with a
pitchfork or pitchfork-like apparatus with hollow tines. You could even use sandals with long spikes.
It also may be a good time to topdress the lawn after aerating. This is when you spread a ¼-inch to ½-inch of compost over the lawn. You can use a shovel to perform the task and simply throw the material on to the lawn and then work it into the thatch with a rake and water from a sprinkler. This truly is a major chore. So it should not be surprising to learn it is not a popular task to perform. The job can be made easier when you use a motorized topdresser and compost spreader, but it can be expensive to get one. A lawn care company might do the work, but they are hard to find because of the inconvenience and labor intensity of the job.
Aerating can also be done in the fall in conjunction with over seeding and fertilizing.
Late Summer Fertilizing
Late summer or early fall is time once again to fertilize the lawn. Experts suggest this be done because the lawn has probably not been fertilized since late spring. They say that when September comes the late spring feeding is wearing off, the root system is depleting, and the turf is starting to experience a natural growth cycle
Lawn care gurus suggest that you use just enough fertilizer to restore energy so the lawn can make it through the remainder of the season. A feeding of ¾ of a pound of nitrogen should take place when the nighttime temperature starts to dip below 55°F.