How Do I Know If My Lawn Is Compacted?

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There’s nothing quite like the feeling of lush grass between your toes. It’s a sensation that never gets old, and you can get it by simply walking out into your backyard. Unfortunately, when you have compacted soil, it can be extremely difficult for gardens, plants, and even grass to grow in your yard. Compacted soil can be caused by several factors and can create many problems for your lawn, the most obvious being drab, brown grass. So, what exactly causes compacted soil? To help you understand more about how a lawn becomes compacted and what you can do about it, the experts at Tailor Made Lawns—who have been providing lawn care in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and the surrounding piedmont areas for the past 24 years—have put together this helpful list to answer some of your most common questions.

What Does Compacted Soil Mean?

Like flour when baking, with enough pressure pushing it down, soil can become compacted. Soil can be compacted by large machines during home construction, heavy foot traffic, or even hard rains. When soil is compacted, the particles of soil are pressed so tightly together that the soil isn’t porous enough to hold water, oxygen, or other nutrients that it needs to thrive. Without these necessities, your grass becomes weak, often browning easily and turning visibly thinner. The dense soil can squeeze grass roots, making it hard for them to function and stealing the lush green appearance your lawn once had.

How Can I Tell if My Lawn is Compacted?

Often, you can tell your lawn may be compacted simply by looking for the signs. For example, if you’ve noticed that your grass stops growing in the heat of summer, it may be an indication that the soil is compacted. The most common signs of compacted soil are:

  • Puddling of water in low areas of your lawn.
  • Water running quickly away from high areas of your lawn.
  • Trees with shallow roots.
  • Thin, patchy areas of grass.
  • Bare dirt areas where not even weeds will grow.
  • Heavy clay soil.
  • Soil so hard a shovel can’t pierce it.

If you’ve noticed any of these signs in your lawn, the odds are it’s compacted, especially after a long, hot summer. When your lawn is compacted, the best thing you can do is aerate it!

What is Aeration and What Are its Benefits?

The four main ingredients for a healthy lawn are feeding, weeding, mowing, and aerating. Feeding, weeding, and mowing you are more than likely familiar with; however, aeration is a very specific process. Aeration involves perforating the soil of your lawn with small holes to allow the air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass that compacted soil prevents. So what are some of the benefits of aeration?

  • It allows for roots to grow deeper, become stronger It helps produce thicker, healthier grass It helps grass grow easier with less resistance.
  • It helps get rid of thin and bald patches of your lawn It gives the roots of your grass room to stretch out It produces immediate results, giving you a healthier lawn.

How Can I Aerate My Lawn?

Aeration is a very tedious process that requires access to the right resources. You can purchase tools and rent machines to aerate your lawn, but like many other lawn tasks, it’s best left to a professional to ensure it's done correctly. Here at Tailor Made Lawns, we not only aerate your lawn after a long summer, but we also lay new grass seed on top afterwards to fill in bald spots and give you immediate results. The best time to aerate and seed your lawn is in September and October -- so don’t wait much longer if you’re considering this service!

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