Spring is upon us here in Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver, Washington, and our lawns have awoken from their dormant period. If your lawn isn’t springing back to life as much as you would like, it may be due to soil compaction. Compacted soil is one of the most common causes of an unhealthy lawn. Here, we will discuss the process of relieving soil compaction.
What Causes Soil Compaction?
Lawns are meant to be enjoyed. Most of us relish being able to spend time on our lawns; be it playing games, letting our animals run freely, or just simply sitting and enjoying the outdoors. However, these are precisely the activities that can cause soil compaction. We are not saying that you shouldn’t do these activities! We’re simply stating that these activities can contribute to soil compaction. As long as you are treating compacted soil properly these activities will not be an issue. Other things can contribute to soil compaction as well. For instance, the use of heavy machinery, vehicles, or even severe weather conditions. As foot traffic, animal traffic or machinery roll over your lawn it causes the soil beneath to become denser, which inhibits the growth of grass.
Signs of Soil Compaction
Compaction occurs within your grass’ roots, which is located just a few inches beneath the soil. As soil becomes compacted, it reduces the number of pockets or voids between particles of soil. These voids are what allow moisture, air and other nutrients to be stored within the soil, which is essential for healthy soil. Therefore, diminishing the number of voids will allow less and less of these vital nutrients to be stored in your lawn, which causes your grass to suffer. There are several signs to look out for when determining if your soil is becoming compacted. Do you have high clay content in your soil? Is it hard to dig in? Are roots from nearby trees poking out from the ground? Are there areas in your lawn that are bare dirt where weeds won’t even grow? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then there is a decent chance that your soil is compacted.
Treating Soil Compaction
So, let’s say we have established that our lawn is overly compacted. What now? The single, most effective task you can perform to relieve this compaction is found through the process of aeration. Aeration helps to quickly relieve soil compaction. Aerating is a process that perforates small holes into your lawn. These holes allow air, moisture and other nutrients to reach the roots of your grass, effectively helping to reverse the damages caused by a compacted lawn. There are manual aerators as well as powered aerators. A manual aerator can be used efficiently on small areas or lawns, while normal to large sized lawns will require a powered aerator. The aerator pulls small plugs from the lawn, these plugs can be removed or left to compost throughout the lawn. Another task that is often performed in tandem with aeration is dethatching. Dethatching helps to remove excess debris (thatch) that has built up within your lawn. An overabundance of thatch can contribute to soil compaction as well, so it doesn’t hurt to perform this task alongside aeration.
Urban Eden Landscaping is prepared to handle all of your lawn care needs. We would love to help get your lawn looking its best this year. If you are in need of skilled, professional assistance with your landscape, contact us or fill out our FREE estimate request form today!