Organic Lawn Treatment

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Lawn Aeration

If your organic lawn isn’t looking its best and water is having trouble penetrating the soil, it’s probably a good idea to do some aeration. Aeration is basically the process of pulling approximately 1”x2” cores of soil out of your lawn and it is a key step proper organic lawn treatment. Aeration is beneficial to your organic lawn because it reduces turf compaction, reduces thatch buildups, and improves the soil penetration for both water and nutrients. It is also a necessary step before topdressing (adding topsoil to an existing lawn) your lawn.

An organic lawn requires aeration when the soil becomes compacted and the grass roots only reach one to two inches into the soil. A lawn that has heavy “thatch” (thatch is the layer of alive and dead grass between the green grass leaves up top and the dirt down below) is also an indication of compacted soil. Lawns that are rich in clay should be aerated more than sandy lawns but either way, aerating about once a year is a good idea. Once the lawn soil is aerated, your organic lawn will be much healthier, greener, and lush.

Lawn Core Aeration Equipment

Lawn Core Aeration Equipment

There are loads of local lawn service companies that will be more than happy to aerate your lawn for a fee but it’s usually a lot more economical to aerate the lawn yourself. Most large box stores have gas powered motors for rent but these aren’t cheap either and they can get to be well over 300 lbs. I used a hand held manual aerator (Fiskars Coring Aerator) which I found on sale at a local garden supply outlet. It took me a few evenings of leisurely aerating and drinking beer but it saved me some serious cash.

Regardless of the method chosen, the aeration will always be more effective when nice sized cores are removed. When a simple spike aerator is used, the holes tend to close up a lot faster requiring more frequent aeration. Removing cores from the lawn allows longer access to more space and nutrients for the roots.

Before you start the aeration on your organic lawn, be sure to water your lawn thoroughly for a few days. This is especially important for the hand held manual aerator, unless you want a serious workout over the next week or two.

Manual Lawn Core Aerator

Small Cheap Manual Lawn Core Aerator

After aeration is complete, you’ll probably want to water a bit more for encouragement as well as apply some organic fertilizer along with compost or peat moss to complete your organic lawn treatment.

Lawn Treatment – Watering Lawn

Everyone wants a lush green lawn. A healthy organic green lawn will naturally have lower water requirements because the roots will be deeper and more moisture is available further down. The healthy lawn soil will also absorb water more quickly and avoid runoff.

I’ve read that most lawns need about 3/4″ – 1″ of water per week to retain their crisp green color and to encourage active growth. That’s not really a lot of water. Only water your lawn if you see signs of stress. Watch for footprints remaining on the lawn after you walk across it (instead of grass blades bouncing back up). Grasses also tend to turn darker in color as they go under drought stress.

Lawn Care - Watering Lawn

Lawn Care - Watering Lawn

Thoroughly water the lawn if you do need to water. Ideally you want the water to soak down to the roots. With clay-rich soil, it works better if you water a bit first and then give it a good soaking a few minutes later. Also make sure to do it in the early morning or late evening. This is to prevent excessive evaporation which will occur in the hottest, sunniest part of the day and scorching of leaves from the sun. Avoid frequent waterings to your green lawn which would promote shallower grass roots and also encourage weeds.

Don’t water your lawn excessively. Waterlogged grass may turn yellow and develop fungus and diseases. Mineral and oxygen uptake may be restricted on heavy clay soils. Too much watering can also lead to thatch and fertilizer leaching.