One of the most overlooked problems in lawn care is soil compaction.
Mowing, fertilizing, and routine watering are not the only steps needed to maintain a healthy lawn. Over time, the soil may become compacted, starving the grass of essential water and nutrients.
While lawn care pros often recommend the use of mechanical aerators, this may not be the most practical solution for some homeowners.
Before making the investment of purchasing or renting aerating equipment you should learn about your other option- liquid aeration.
What is Aeration?
Put simply, aeration is the process of loosening the soil to allow more air, water, and nutrients to reach the grass roots.
When correctly done, you essentially help the roots get all the good stuff they need to grow stronger, while also helping them penetrate deeper into the soil profile.
The overall health of your lawn is closely tied to the quality and condition of your soil. Aerating can be a critical step to improving, restoring, and maintaining a pristine home landscape.
Why Is Lawn Aeration Necessary?
Like all living things, plants go through a respiration process requiring oxygen.
Your grass not only takes in air from above ground, but beneath the surface as well. This is why oxygen that’s freely available in both the atmosphere and underneath the ground is vital to plant health.
So, when soil becomes too compacted it can quite literally suffocate your lawn’s root system. As you can imagine, this can bring on many issues such as disease, stunted growth, thinning, and in severe cases, large sections of your lawn dying.
But let’s not panic just yet! Soil compaction is quite common and can be remedied in a few different ways. We’ve seen firsthand how homeowners with terribly compacted lawns turn things around and get a grip on properly amending and loosening their soil.
And how did they do it?
Well the answer to that our lawn care companion is aeration.
How To Know If You Have Compacted Soil
Identifying soil compaction in your lawn can be quite easy. It will not take much effort to figure out where, and possibly why the soil is overly compacted.
Often, it’s as simple as looking for the most common signs.
Signs your lawn is suffering from compaction:
- Water run-off from the higher areas of your lawn
- Pooling of water in the lower areas of your lawn
- Thin, patchy areas of grass
- Trees with shallow roots
- Completely bare dirt areas; neither grass nor weeds growing
- Hard soil that makes it difficult to use a shovel
Compacted soil is a widespread issue that can be a problem for both older and newer lawns alike.
With older lawns, the ground can become compacted just due to the normal wear and tear over the years. If you have kids or pets, the constant activity compresses the soil and increases the likelihood for compaction.
With new homes, the topsoil is often removed during the construction process. The grass seed or sod is then distributed on subsoil that is likely already compressed from the heavy machinery and constant foot traffic during construction.
However, these are just some examples to why your soil may be compacted.
There are numerous ways your soil can become hardened. It may take some further investigation or thinking-back to why this is happening in the first place.
Common reasons why it may be happening:
- High foot traffic
- New construction
- Poor soil layering from sod
- Vehicles or large mowers
- Large amounts of clay soil
What Is Liquid Aeration?
Liquid aeration is a convenient and cost effective alternative to manual aeration.
These are solutions that are simply mixed with water to be used with a hose-end or backpack sprayer. The mix is then applied evenly across the lawn, breaking down dense clay particles which in turn creates small channels to help the aerification process.
Continual applications of liquid aerators are normally needed for sustained results. As a bonus, some solutions on the market will contain other added ingredients such as aminos and humic/fulvic acid to further condition the soil.
One noted benefit is that liquid aeration can provide complete and total coverage. This is something that cannot be done with core aeration alone. However, liquid aeration may not produce as immediate results as that of manual aeration.
Most liquid aerator products are quite gentle on your lawn. These solutions, though very concentrated, can be used throughout the growing season without adding much stress to your grass. Some solutions are safe enough to even use around trees, shrubs, and garden beds.
How Does Liquid Aeration Work?
Liquid aerators work differently compared to manual core aeration. As mentioned above, instead of physically poking holes in the soil, you’re spraying a solution over the lawn.
Since it’s a liquid solution this eliminates the need for equipment or tools unlike traditional methods which include the use of a spike or core aerator.
The power behind these solutions is an active ingredient that is similar to what you find in soap called ammonium lauryl sulfate.
This substance is classified as an anionic surfactant as it holds a negative ionic charge. Clay soil is also negatively charged and if you remember from chemistry class while opposites attract, two like charges will repel each other.
This makes ammonium lauryl sulfate perfect for the dispersion of clay particles, and in high concentration is a gentle, yet effective topsoil conditioner.
After spraying the lawn, the solution will get to work by breaking down the dense soil particles creating small pores in the profile to help loosen the soil. The pores allow more air, water, and nutrients to reach deeper, which promotes healthy root growth.
Aeration is about more than just creating airways in the dirt. It improves the quality of the soil.
As the roots grow deeper and more essential nutrients are made readily available, you’ll be able to enjoy greener grass and healthier plants.
Why Choose Liquid Over Manual Aeration?
There is no doubt that core aeration works and is an effective method to loosening soil.
However, manual aeration may not always be viable for some homeowners who may need to look at other options, such as using liquids instead.
Manual aeration can have several drawbacks whether you use a spike aerator or a coring machine.
Spike aerators are sold as tools that you manually press into the ground. There are also spiked shoes designed for aeration. With these tools, you are physically pressing down onto the soil to create air pockets.
For folks with larger yards, this can be time consuming, physically exhausting, and inefficient.
On the other hand, there are powered coring machines that take some of the back-breaking work out of the equation.
Although, they are still time-consuming and are oftentimes costly. This is considering that you have to rent one of these machines, do the job, and return it.
This is part of the reason why liquid solutions are an attractive option.
More reasons to choose liquid over manual aeration:
- Saves time and energy
- Cost effective
- Easy, versatile applications
- Can be applied throughout the year
- Gentlest way of aerating your lawn
- Contains other ingredients that further condition the soil
How LawnStar Can Help
LawnStar Liquid Aerator offers a completely safe and environmentally friendly way to aerate your soil.
Here are a few of the main benefits of this solution:
This solution treats up to 32,000 sq. ft. making it very cost effective. You are only spending about one dollar per thousand square feet of coverage.
It also provides a convenient option since it can be used with any hose-end sprayer or garden sprayer.
Our product is completely safe to use around your yard and will not harm other plant life. Spray it on your lawn, garden beds, and around trees to improve drainage and soil quality.
You do not need to worry about breathing in harmful chemicals as you spray the yard. The liquid aerator is safe for people and pets. After allowing the solution to settle, you do not need to wait hours before allowing your dogs or children in the backyard.
Lastly, you can apply the solution throughout the year. While the solution starts working immediately, you should start noticing positive results within a couple of weeks.
As always, if you have any questions about our products or about this article feel free to reach out to our lawn experts at [email protected]