Aeration and Compost

Mark Peterson

Aerating and applying compost to your lawn are excellent ways to improve its overall health. Both reduce the amount of irrigation needed by increasing the soil’s ability to hold and receive water. In other words, aeration and compost create a bigger and better “soil sponge.”

Although not all soils are alike, they all benefit from the addition of organic matter. Compost is completely decomposed residue of plant and animal material and mulch is the partially decomposed residue of plants. Unfortunately, compost breaks down rather quickly in our climate, so thin, rocky soils tend not to build up over time even with frequent additions of compost. To increase their water-holding capacity, a small amount of a similar soil may be added to the thin soil.

The recommended seasons to achieve maximum benefit from aeration and compost are spring and early fall. Experts recommend doing aeration and compost at least once a year, but multiple applications are strongly encouraged. This is one landscape activity where more is actually better.

Many landscapers are eager to assist you with both aeration and compost, or consider working with your neighbors to rent a core aerator for a day. Most rental companies offer them.

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