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Common Lawn Care Terms

Post Date: May 9th, 2012


A well taken care of lawn shows pride in homeownership and it also increases the value of your investment. A little bit of forethought in the landscape can go a long way for all types of budgets.


Whether you are considering seeking professional help or are interested in doing your own lawn care personally, it really helps to know the basics. Below are some of the most common lawn care terms you need to know.


1. Core Aeration


manual core aeration


Core aeration (cultivation) is the process of mechanically removing plugs or cores of soil and thatch from your lawn. This process loosens the compacted soil which then creates channels for oxygen, water and nutrients to better penetrate the soil, especially if your lawn takes a lot of punishment from either kids, pets or outdoor parties. Core aeration is usually accomplished using a lawn aerator with hollow tines. For narrow areas, hand lawn aerators may do the job.


Generally, compacted soil results from lawns that are exposed to heavy foot traffic. One of the tell-tale signs that your lawn is suffering from compacted soil is the growth of moss plants. Most people make the mistake of applying herbicides to kill the moss, but this doesn’t actually solve the problem in the long term. Core aeration may be the answer to this problem.


It is best to to aerate during early fall because the grass is transitioning from blade growth to root growth. Core aerating at this time really stimulates strong root development. Do not aerate in the summer because during this period, grasses are at peak growth, possibly coping with heat and reduced moisture as well, so aeration will add unnecessary stress.


Core aeration is usually tied to topdressing/mulching the lawn with some kind of organic material such as finely chopped leaves or peat moss. Faithfully topdressing the lawn each fall will be required in the first year or two. After that, aeration can be done every few years.


2. Dethatching and Power Raking


dethatching and power raking


Dethatching and power raking are processes used to remove a thick layer of organic matter made up of decaying grass leaves, stems and roots (thatch) that build up in between the lawn and soil surface. Dethatching and power raking are performed with the same machine. The difference between the two is the type of cutting knives used and how deep the cutting knives are set.


Dethatching is only recommended for lawns that suffer from an extremely thick thatch layer (more than three inches thick). When it becomes this thick, dethatching can be very labor intensive and can cause extensive damage to a lawn. On the other hand, power raking is a more gentle way to remove a small amount of thatch from the lawn without causing the same amount damage that dethatching can create.


The best time to dethatch your lawn is in late summer or early fall to give the lawn time to recover before winter. It is also during this period that there is less competition with a variety of weeds that germinate in Spring. Power raking is best done in the spring or fall.


3. Overseeding


overseeding a lawn


Overseeding is one of the most important yet overlooked lawn care tasks. In combination with power raking and core aeration, overseeding ensures that the lawn remains dense and thick. If you have a lawn that has thinned out or has developed ‘bald spots’, overseeding will revive your lawn back to a healthy state again.


The overseeding process compensates for the natural decline in grass reproduction and it will also help your lawn resist the growth of weeds. New seeds sown will have better disease resistance than those varieties already planted in the lawn.


It is advised that core aeration be done prior to overseeding. Usually, overseeding is done in early September or in Spring. Besides a generous amount of seeds sown, the secret to successfully overseeding a lawn is to keep the sown area moist. The overseeded lawn should never be allowed to dry until full germination of the seeds is reached.


If you have a property anywhere on Vancouver’s North Shore and are interested in professional landscaping services, call us at (604) 987- 1221 to discuss the lawn care package we offer. Karen can answer any questions you have.


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