Hold your breath. How long can you do it? Not as long as you would like, I bet. That’s because, as a living entity, you need to breathe. Your lawn is much the same way. It’s easy to see how we, as humans, can breathe. Your lawn, however, follows a very different process. Lawn aeration is a critical step in allowing your lawn to breathe, but timing is key. In this post, we will take a look at the importance if lawn aeration and the questions that surround it in an effort to get you the best looking lawn possible year after year.
Do you know what thatch is? How about compacted soil? These are the reasons why lawn aeration is so important.
Thatch is the build up of accumulated falling debris (e.g., leaves, straw, reeds, etc.) that can form a blanket across your lawn. Compacted soil happens over the course of a winter as snow and rain sink into the soil and settle, creating layers of, well, compacted soil. Both of these, combined or individually, can make it difficult for the roots of your lawn to get oxygen and other needed nutrients. Lawn aeration, performed in spring or autumn, really helps combat the effects of thatch and soil compaction. When performed in fall, it creates room for winter weather, which is crucial to hitting the ground running with fertilizer and weed control in the spring. Lawn aeration, sometimes known as “lawn airation” can involve just poking holes all over the lawn. This is often called “spiking.” This, alone, isn’t always the solution, though. Depending upon your lawn, the surrounding flora/fauna, and the time of year, spiking may not be enough. To aid lawn aeration, raking is crucial. In Michigan, it seems like leaves can fall for months. This is because different trees shed leaves at different times. Regardless, raking up all of your leaves, or as many as you can, will help reduce thatch-related problems and increase the effectiveness of lawn aeration.
The other component of lawn aeration, as previously mentioned, is to break up compacted soil to allow water and fertilizers to get down into the roots with greater ease. Different parts of your lawn can require more aeration that other. There are just some parts that get significantly more foot traffic, such as near swing sets or common dog-walking routes.
For warm-season grasses lawn aeration in the spring is often the better option. Not too early, though, as the soil needs to thaw. It can sometimes be difficult to predict spring thaw in Michigan, which is why cool-season grasses are popular in our part of the country.
In Michigan, cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, are quite common. For lawns with such types of grasses, fall season lawn aeration is a better option. The reason is that, contrary to warm-season grasses, later thaws in Michigan are common, so you can’t always bank on being able to aerate early enough in the spring for certain types of grasses. By aerating in fall, you can set yourself up from ground-freeze that preserves the holes through the winter season and well into a late spring when seeding and fertilization are prime for a cool-season grasses.
In a very general sense, spring or fall is good for lawn aeration. If you know what type of grass you have, however, you can get the best growth from aerating at the right time of year for your particular grass.
For commercial properties, lawn aeration can be a very big job, even if you only have to do it once a year. In fact, the time it takes (e.g., man-hours on the clock) to have a staff member handle the task, especially if you have to rent the equipment, can be well more than it takes to have E.P.M. do it for you. The frequency with which you should aerate your lawn can vary, often depend ending, again, upon climate. Some say every couple of years. When you live in an environment that has a blanket of snow on the ground for a good part of the year, annual lawn aeration is your best bet.
The way the lawn aeration works is actually rather simple. Lawn aeration equipment pulls small plugs of soil from the ground, thereby allowing air to get down to the roots. In general, the plugs, or “cores,” will be about 2-3 inches deep and come out of the lawn approximately every 3 inches or so. To make the whole process easier, it might be necessary to water the lawn on the day previous to aeration to soften the soil. Don’t overdo it, though; mud will only hinder the process.
Additionally, if you are facing significant problems with thatch–around an inch or more–using a vertical mower in advance may also be necessary. If this all seems a bit confusing and/or like a big task to undertake, contact us today and we can get you an estimate and a timeline based on your residential lawn aeration or commercial lawn aeration needs.
While we are still seeing warm, late-summer temps, it can be easy to forget that Old Man Winter will be here before we know it. And too frequently, he shows up with very little warning. If you have a customer-facing business or organization, having a snow removal management team in place before the snow starts to fly is the best way to ensure the safety of your employees and customers.
If you have never chosen a snow management service before, or you are looking to explore new options, we have compiled a list of points for you to consider in your search.
Why Do You Need a Snow Management Service?
You might already be asking that initial question about whether you even really need a snow management service. After all, it’s just snow removal, right?
In actuality, contracting a snow management service provider to clear/remove ice and snow from your location is one of the most important safety and, yes, financial decisions you can make in any given year. It is common for Michigan to see snowfall in eight months of the year. This leaves lots of opportunity for accidents that can be prevented when you hire a snow management service with a process in place. Here are just a few all-too-common occurrences:
Professional snow managers know these risks and face them every season. Often, their entire business is built specifically on helping you manage these very challenges.
Finding a Reliable Snow Management Service Provider
Be proactive. The sooner you start your search, the better prepared you will be when the snow starts to fall. September is not too early to start your search.
Be selective. Have a plan to qualify service prospects that narrows your search, saving time before you begin engaging with prospects. You could benefit from creating a Request for Information (RFI) document to help with pre-qualifications.
Build an RFP. Take a moment to clearly identify your needs and draft a Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP should include a Scope of Work that details what the property should look like after a service is performed.
Stick with Best Practices. Make sure you have a professional company doing the work. To give you a head start, you can use the official Snow and Ice Management Association’s Best Practices Checklist to help you assess potential snow management providers.
Seek Trust. The risks of service failure during significant storm are too high to not demand shared accountability. Stick with snow management service providers that share liability, deliver on-time services, and pro-actively share concerns.
Communication is Essential
Before you sign on the dotted line with any snow management service provider, you should ensure the following:
As a member of the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA), E.P.M. offers complete commercial snow and ice removal services. To learn if we are the right fit for you, contact us online or give us a call at (517) 990-0110 today.