core aeration

Home/core aeration

Getting Ready for Fall with Core Aeration and Overseeding

As the summer fades away and the kids go back to school, it’s good to start thinking about what lies ahead for your landscaping. Two important maintenance practices should happen every fall in Northern Virginia: core aeration and overseeding. Even though some homeowners ignore these steps, they are arguably the two most important things you can do to enhance the quality of your lawn. What is core aeration? Core aeration is the process of removing tiny plugs – or cores – from your lawn. Usually done with a machine, the cores are roughly ½ to ¾ of an inch in diameter and 1 to 6 inches long. The holes are typically 2 to 6 inches apart, depending on the aeration machine used. Another method of aeration called spiking involves pushing spikes into the ground without removing any cores. We do not recommend this method because it actually contributes to further lawn compaction and not aeration. Why should you aerate your lawn? Core aeration eases turf compaction. In Northern Virginia, the majority of our soil is mixed with native red clay. This clay is dense and heavy, making it hard for water, nutrients, and air to flow into the ground. Aeration alleviates that density and makes it easier for the grass to get what it needs to grow strong and healthy. It basically gives your grass room to breathe – and eat and drink. Another common problem that aeration solves is heavy thatch. Thatch is the blanket of tightly connected roots, stems, and leaves – both living and dead – that lays on top of your turf, just below the grass blades. It is beneficial to your lawn when it stays thinner than ¾ of an