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Soil Compaction

Soil Health
4 min read

Soil compaction is a common cause of a struggling lawn, particularly one that receives heavy traffic. Take advantage of the Jonathan Green team’s extensive knowledge to learn more about compacted soil and what you can do about it.

Jonathan Green is a leading supplier of cool season grass seed, soil enhancers, fertilizer, and organic lawn and garden products to professional customers, such as sod growers and independent retailers, including garden centers and hardware stores, throughout the United States.

The foundation for a beautiful, healthy lawn is soil. Soil should be light and airy so that the narrow roots of grass plants are able to penetrate it. No soil will ever be perfect, but with some extra TLC, you will have a lush, green lawn in no time.

Test the Soil’s pH

Take soil tests periodically to monitor pH levels in your lawn. You can do this with a pH tester that you will find in most garden centers and hardware stores. The lawn’s pH should be in a range between 6.2 and 7.0. 

If the pH is low (below 6.2), be sure you have Mag-I-Cal® Plus for Lawns in Acidic & Hard Soil to adjust it. This is a natural, humate-rich, three-in-one “soil food” that rapidly raises soil pH, loosens hard soil, and stimulates soil microbes.

Test the Soil’s Compaction

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 beneath it with a spade. If the soil is hard to get through, then you have hard (compacted) soil and should consider aerating it.

Organically Aerate Your Lawn

For long-term results, consider adding more humate-rich, gypsum-based amendments to the soil to support natural, biological aeration of the soil. Gypsum-based amendments will flocculate (loosen) which will assist in the natural 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, nutrient, and root penetration. The product is available for Mag-I-Cal® Plus for Lawns in Acidic & Hard Soil or Mag-I-Cal® Plus for Lawns in Alkaline & Hard Soil. Plan to use it every season to keep your soil biology and chemistry balanced.

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

You can aerate your lawn at any time of the year, but the best time to do it is in the fall for cool-season grasses like Jonathan Green Black Beauty® Original Grass Seed, or in the spring/early summer for warm-season grasses, such as Bermudagrass.

Water Properly

Established lawns don’t typically need more than about one inch of water a week, which translates to 25 to 35 minutes per zone, watering once or twice every week. This will help the roots of the grass grow deep into the ground and make the lawn more drought-tolerant. Water in the early morning to avoid excessive evaporation. If the weather is hot and dry, increase the frequency of watering to three or four times per week at 25 to 35 minutes per zone.

Many grass problems can be attributed to unhealthy soil. For more tips on resolving soil compaction, visit Jonathan Green online or visit your nearest independent retailer for reliable lawn and garden advice that will help you achieve great results.

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