Soil compaction is one of the biggest but unpublicized problems in South East Queensland lawns. The root system needs a constant supply of oxygen for optimum health. These oxygen supplies are normally sourced from pores in the soil and other spaces such as worm holes and rotten root channels. Essentially, in a compacted soul, the root system is unable to breathe properly.
Aeration which restores oxygen supplies to the roots
Lime & gypsum to break down the heavy clay soils
Aeration: Aeration is important for your lawn as it allows water, nutrients and air to penetrate deep in the lawn past any built up thatch. Aeration is basically perforating the soil with small sized holes with its main benefit being to alleviate any soil compaction which may be occurring.
There are two different types of aerating tools available, one is a spike aerator (which is like a fork and pokes holes in the ground), the other is a plug aerator (which remove small cores of grass and soil from the lawn). Even though they harder to use, we recommend the use of a plug aerator as you will get better results and given aeration is an infrequent activity you want to make sure you are doing it properly and that results will last.
Ideally you will want to make an individual assessment on how regularly you need to aerate. If your lawn receives heavy traffic such as children playing on it frequently, you will want to aerate more regularly than a lawn that is barely walked on.
Follow these steps to aerate your lawn:
- Hire a plug aerator machine from a local hardware store to make the job as easy for you as possible.
- Spring is the best time to aerate so try and plan for this time of year.
- Firstly, ensure that the soil is moist. Dry soil will be difficult to aerate. The day after rain is a great day to aerate.
- Do a lap with the plug aerator and then repeat. Most machines only cover a small portion of the surface area so a couple of passes is best.
- Leave the extracted soil plugs to dry on top of the lawn. The next time you mow, they will be broken up and spread evenly over the surface.
pH of Your Lawn
Lawns usually prefer a slightly acidic or neutral soil.
Check the pH, the acidity or the alkalinity of the soil, by using a simple pH test kit. If a test result is between 6.5 and 7 you need do nothing because that range is ideal for lawns. But a 5.5 result means the soil is slightly acidic, and so probably needs “sweetening”.
If the soil is too acidic then add lime and dolomite. In this case dolomite is preferred because it also contains magnesium. And magnesium is necessary for plants to produce chlorophyll that allows them to produce energy.
Most Australian soils are deficient in magnesium and it's readily leached from the soil, so dolomite has a double action. Lime on a heavy clay soil helps break it down from really heavy clods, so that it becomes crumbly. This makes the soil easier to work, and also aids root penetration deep into the soil. As a rule of thumb, apply a handful of dolomite per square metre. But for highly acidic soil, double the amount, then water it in.
Interested in learning more?
Call 07 4124 4207 or let us know how we can help.
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