Why you should aerify a yard with Clay soil to have a beautiful lawn

by teddletonmr

Aerify a yard with clay soil using a core aerator to have a beautiful lawn you always wanted....

Many homeowners just like you and me, want a beautiful lawn. So much so, we spend a lot of money every year reseeding our yard using the latest and greatest grass seed in hopes it will grow this time. You see we have found ourselves in the past several years, finding something to blame our lack of success on. We had a late frost one year, too much rain one year and not enough rain the next, sound familiar. The one thing remains constant. We still want a beautiful lawn and are willing to keep on trying until we get it right. Be it using chemical or organic fertilizers, dethatch or aerate the lawn, whatever it takes, we want a good looking yard full of green grass. As you continue reading this article, I believe you will begin to see. Why you should aerify a yard with Clay soil to have a beautiful lawn and finally have the lawn you have always wanted.

Lawn Compaction Problems

Grass will not grow on a brick

To put it simply grass will not grow on a brick. Think about it, made of clay, packed tightly until hard and fired by the heat from the intense summer sun. Sound vaguely familiar, I thought as much. You see the thing is a lawn with high clay soil structure much like a brick, over time will become hard due to compaction. Foot and vehicle traffic, kids playing tag, bouncing a ball or jumping rope all compact clay soil over time.

Soil compaction is a problem for our lawn for several reasons, for example exactly like water running down our driveway when it rains, or we water our grass. Life sustaining moisture runs into the storm drain, or worse yet puddles without first soaking into the yard further contributing to our lawns compaction problems.

Combine soil compaction with a thick layer of thatch in the lawn, and grass never has a chance to develop a healthy root structure critical for its survival. Oh, sure you can grow grass on a brick as long as you keep it moist, and well fed. Let me ask you, do you want or can you afford to water the grass every sunny summer day, do you really want to spend money on the lawn care company fertilizing your lawn every month or do it yourself just to keep your grass from dyeing. Personally, I can think of other things to spend my time and money doing, playing golf, riding a bike or taking a nap afterwards is a top my list of favorite things to do. How about you, I bet you have your own to do list right.

The solution to all your compacted soil in your lawn woes, aerify the lawn!

Aerify Clay soil in the lawn Solve Problems

Solve soil compaction problems

soil plug from lawn To the dismay of a few hardheaded individuals among us, in order to solve our soil compaction problems, we must first, come to grips with the notion of pulling plugs, or cores of soil if you will. None of that pushing steel spikes into already compacted dirt nonsense. As the DIY minded homeowners wanting to get the job done right, the first time kind-a-folks, we must pull plugs not poke holes. The difference, pulling plugs every four inches apart two or three inches deep three quarters of an inch in diameter gives the soil room to expand into the open spaces there by lessening soil compaction. On the other hand, poking holes just compresses clay tighter, not looser compounding the problems. Pull plugs, solve problems, and have a beautiful lawn.

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Pull plugs and core aeration

Aerating, aerifying or pull plugs of soil

rent a gas-powered lawn aerator Aerating, aerifying or pull plugs of soil from the lawn all amount to the same thing. Core aeration done correctly is a bit of work, much like a round of golf, you will want to plan on spending the afternoon pulling plugs and pursuing your favorite method of rehydrating, ah yes, rewarding yourself.

All jokes aside, rent a gas-powered lawn aerator from your local rental center. I highly recommend using either the Ryan Lawn air IV as my first choice, or the Blue Bird and a Turfco aerator running a close second and third for large areas. These are larger, heavier machines than your typical walk-behind lawn mower. Without a truck, you will need to work out delivery and pick-up. Just a FYI, they are a pain in the ass to load and unload in a mini-van. Believe me, I have been there and done that, not going to do that again, the mini-van thing that is. The good thing, these core aeration machines are self-propelled.

Starting either the Briggs or Honda gas engine is easy, simply turn the ign, switch on, set the choke to the start position, give the starter rope a good tug and they start on the first or second pull every time. OK, if some jackass has turned the fuel off you will want to check that, it saves for an embarrassing phone call to the rental yard. By the way, check the gas oh yeah there are those that do that as well.

Now for those of you thinking you will hire this out that’s cool, I cannot blame you. However, you will benefit from your continued reading. Just so, you know that you get the results you pay for. I am sure you understand there are those looking to make a fast buck that do not know either what they are doing, or simply do as little as they can get away with to take your money and run.

Pull plugs using a core aeration machine requires several passes over the lawn in different directions. Multiple passes with a gas-powered aerator machine pulling three quarter inch diameter, two-inch deep plugs four inches apart, leaving voids in the soil providing room for expansion after all, is what it is all about.

First pass, run parallel to the driveway all the way across the lawn taking care to avoid tree and shrubbery roots

Second pass, 90 degrees of the first pass.

Third pass, 45 degrees of the first pass.

‘Important tip’, pull plugs and core aerate as soon as possible after a soaking rain or irrigation when lawn is soft to ensure optimal benefit.

Alternatively, in small yards and gardens where soil compaction is a problem and we cannot use the large aeration machines. There is another alternative, the yard butler core aerator. Similar to a garden fork used to dig potatoes in the vegetable garden but better. Instead of using forks, the yard butler core aerator has a set of core pulling spoons or tines that do a good job of pulling plugs when the soil is moist. As with the larger gas-powered aeration machines, wait for a good soaking rain or a deep watering to soften the compacted soil, dawn your trusty iPod and a good supply of your favorite libation, get busy pulling plugs. Better yet, bribe one of the kids to do it for you. After all, you need to reward yourself for finally discovering why you should aerify a yard with Clay soil to have a beautiful lawn

Things you should know

What happene to the plug of soil

Just so, you know, core aerating your lawn will leave little cylindrical bits of soil all over your lawn. It will look as though every small dog in the country pooped on the lawn. No worries, the first time it rains or you mow the lawn they will disappear back into the soil.


Be well and remember to reward yourself. Teddletonmr

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Updated: 03/19/2012, teddletonmr
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