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How to Reduce Soil Compaction

Soil Health
3 min read

Hard, compacted soil is a major deterrent to healthy grass growth.  Easy penetration of air and water into the ground helps roots grow deeper. Find out how to reduce soil compaction from the knowledgeable team at Jonathan Green and help your lawn flourish.

The Jonathan Green name has represented genetically superior grass seed, innovation, integrity, determination, and a commitment to excellence since 1881. We supply grass seed, soil enhancers, fertilizer, and organic lawn and garden products to professional customers, such as sod growers and independent retailers, throughout the United States.

Is Your Soil Compacted?

Grass plants depend on their root systems for water and nutrients. When roots are unable to penetrate the soil, the grass will stop growing, and your lawn will start to look thin and unhealthy and become more susceptible to weeds, diseases and pests.

To find out if you have compacted soil, try pushing a screwdriver into the soil. It should be able to easily penetrate at least six inches deep. You can also remove a chunk of soil from the turf and dig into the soil below with a spade. If the soil is hard to get through, then you have hard (compacted) soil.

Another indication of compacted soil is the soil color. Light (or gray) soil is harder and less porous. Darker soil is more porous.

Improving Compacted Soil

Loosening compacted soil can be done in a number of ways. For larger lawns, you can use a core aerator, a gas-powered machine that will remove small plugs of soil from the ground. It can also be done manually with a manual core aerator which has a handle and a foot bar with several hollow tines or spikes attached. Hold the handle with both hands while you drive it into the soil.

For longer-lasting results, consider adding humate-rich, gypsum-based amendments to the soil.  These amendments will foster earthworm populations to support natural, biological aeration of the soil. Gypsum-based amendments will assist in natural, chemical aeration of the soil.

Jonathan Green MAG-I-CAL® Plus is a natural, humate-rich, three-in-one “soil food” that will loosen hard soil, stimulate soil microbes, and adjust soil pH. It breaks up compacted soil for better air, water, and root penetration. The product is available for Mag-I-Cal® Plus for Lawns in Acidic & Hard Soil and Mag-I-Cal® Plus for Lawns in Alkaline & Hard Soil and should be used every season to keep your soil biology and chemistry balanced.

If the soil is very compacted, use Jonathan Green Love Your Soil® to loosen and aerate it. Love Your Soil® will also feed soil microbes, make the soil more alive and porous, enhance root development, and offers about 25% more soil-loosening power than MAG-I-CAL® Plus.

Learning how to improve compacted soil can make a world of difference in your lawn. Visit Jonathan Green online or visit your nearest independent retail store for reliable lawn care advice. You will find that reducing soil compaction is well worth the effort.

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