Aerating & Coring
Time and use causes compaction in soils, which can then seriously damage the health of your lawn as air and water struggle to penetrate the ground. As the lawn suffers, weeds start to thrive, particularly Bindii which thrives on compacted soils. Compacted soils also cause drainage issues as the water stops being absorbed into the soil, causing erosion or even flooding.
You can test the compaction level of your soil by seeing how easily a screwdriver will push into your lawn. If it won’t push down, you have a compacted area!
How to fix compaction:
Aerating can be done using a pitch fork in troubled areas of your lawn by pushing it into the soil and wiggling back and forth a little bit at regular intervals (50-100mm apart). There are also aerating machines that can be hired to do the job.
A coring machine takes plugs out from the soil, which allows instant access for air and water into the soil. The plugs can be left on the ground and mowed over, or raked up and removed. Top dressing after coring will help fill in the holes whilst still allowing air and water to be absorbed. Applying gypsum at a rate of 1-2kg per m2 will also help relieve compaction in clay based soils.
A build up of thatch over time can make your lawn thick and spongy, and gradually raise the height over the years. Thatch can also hinder water, oxygen and nutrients from entering the soil, causing issues with the health of your lawn.
How to fix thatch:
Scarifying with a specialised machine will remove thatch and most of your lawn, leaving just the roots and stolons. This can be a scary sight, but rest assured, with a fertilise and plenty of water, your lawn will come back better than ever. A rotary mower can also remove thatch as it bites into them. You must have sharp blades though and a catcher. This is best done by slowly reducing the height of your mower over a period of time.
After dethatching, it is very important to keep up the water to the lawn and apply a good quality fertiliser to kickstart the growth.