What is aeration?

Aeration is the process of mechanically removing, in our case using specialized equipment, small plugs of thatch and soil from the turf to improve air exchange between the soil and its surrounding atmosphere. It’s commonly called “core aeration”, or soil cultivation (coring, spiking, and slicing).

Benefits of aeration • Improved air exchange between the soil and atmosphere. • Enhanced soil water uptake. • Improved fertilizer uptake and use. • Reduced water runoff and puddling. • Stronger turfgrass roots. • Reduced soil compaction. • Enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance. • Improved resiliency and cushioning. • Enhanced thatch breakdown.

Breaking Cores and Top-Dressing After we run the aerator and pull the plugs, we use either a drag or a mower to break up the cores. We then apply concentrated organic compost from a Houston, Texas company called San Jacinto Environmental Supplies. This product helps to improve the soil by removing salts and adding over 100+ minerals, vitamins, natural plant hormones, natural plant stimulators, essential sugars/amino acids/carbon and billions of beneficial microrganisms including Endo and Ecto Mycorrhizal fungi.

Why is aeration necessary? Compact soil prevents grass from establishing a healthy root system and keeps water and fertilizer from reaching the roots. In much of the turf on Texas A&M campus, fertile topsoil may have been removed or buried during construction, forcing grass to grow in subsoil that is more compact, higher in clay content and less likely to sustain a healthy lawn. Walking, playing and mowing will compact soil and stress lawns. Raindrops and irrigation further compact the soil, reducing large air spaces where roots readily grow. Compaction is greater on heavy clay soils, like ours, than on sandy soils, and it is greatest in the upper 1 to 1 1/2 inches of soil. Aeration can help relieve soil compaction, allowing grass to grow deeper roots and make better use of water and fertilizer. Furthermore, we have high soil Ph and water Ph and both our soil and water contain high levels of sodium. Aeration and topdressing help to flush salts and lower Ph over time. Aeration is just one more of the many little things SSC does to improve the quality of life for the students, faculty, staff and visitors that enjoy the grounds of the magnificent University.

provided by Bryan McGee ACE,CPTM | Pest Control Manager Texas A&M

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