As we move into the summer months and the heat continues to rise, proper lawn care becomes more and more important, especially when you realize that your lawn is an extension of your landscape. Most of the time, property lawn maintenance will rely on the regular completion of a few tasks such as mowing, fertilizing, weeding and aerating. While most people know when to mow, fertilize or weed a yard, knowing when to aerate can be a more difficult task.

Aerating your lawn is important because lawns that regularly handle foot or vehicle traffic can become compacted over time. As lawns become compacted, water has difficulty penetrating the surface and roots aren’t able to extend like they should. Over time, your lawn will begin to lose that lush, green look you’ve worked so hard to achieve. If you notice this happening with your lawn, it may be time to aerate. Other signs to look for can include puddling water after rain, slow drainage, lack of growth and hardness of soil.

A simple examination can be conducted to tell if you should aerate your lawn. Try to insert a pencil or screwdriver into the soil. If the soil is compacted, this will prove hard to accomplish. In order to verify this finding, try digging a small, square foot-section of grass about six inches deep to see if the roots are suffering. If the blade sinks easily into the ground, the soil may not be compacted. However, if it is difficult to do and causes you to struggle, you probably need to aerate. This can be further verified once the small square has been dug up. Look at the thatch. Thatch tends to lie between the grass blades and the soil. If the thatch is more than a half inch thick, you will need to aerate. Look at the roots of the grass itself. If they only extend one or two inches, this is another sign that you may need to aerate your lawn.

Like anything, timing for this test is key. Grass of the cool season tend to be the longest in late spring while turf roots of the warm season are at their best in the fall

For more information about lawn care or any of your landscape design and installation needs, contact our offices in Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Willow Glen or Los Gatos, CA. We look forward to hearing from you.