Soil Compation – assiociated problems and control

What is Soil Compaction?

  • the definition is the physical movement of soil particles into closer association, thus changing the number, size and position of pores.

Compaction naturally occurs over time. Foot traffic, mowing, heavy rain, and parked vehicles all conspire to mash down your soil, compressing the top 2-3 inches into a dense, hard layer that seriously restricts the free movement of air, nutrients and water. The result: stunted roots and weak grass.

Adverse Effects of Compaction

  • restriction of grass root penetration
  • lack of oxygen circulation
  • lack of soil ability to diffuse CO2 (produced by root respiration) which is toxic to the plant
  • limits nutrient uptake by roots
  • reduce infiltration of moisture
  • increase casual water and run-off

Solution = Aeration

Many lawns, particularly heavily used ones, have compacted soil, which restricts the movement of air and water to roots. Aeration is the penetration of the soil profile, resulting in soil air being replaced by air from the atmosphere. This helps to improve drainage encourages deeper rooting of grasses. Intensively maintained lawns should be aerated once a year; those with moderate maintenance, every two years. Lawns with heavily compacted soil or severe thatch problems may need twice-yearly aeration. Best time for aeration is Spring and/or Autumn.

Benefits of Aeration

  • Overcome compacted soils
  • Reduce water requirements
  • Help decrease thatch
  • Help alleviate stress
  • Prepare a lawn for overseeding

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