Do I have hard soil?
You can test how compacted your lawn soil is by pushing a screwdriver into it. If this proves difficult, then you likely have hard soil.
An even better test is to remove a chuck of soil from the turf. Dig into the soil beneath the turf with a spade. If this proves to be difficult, then the soil is most certainly compacted. Darker soil indicates good humus content. The darker the soil, the better and more porous it is. Contrarily, the lighter (or grayer) the soil is, the harder and less porous it is.
Loose soil is very important for healthy plant growth. Easy penetration of air and water into the ground helps roots grow deeper. Tunneling roots naturally aerate soils, while, at the same time, absorb more nutrients for grass plants to grow thicker, greener, and stronger. Soil life (earthworms, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, etc.) need air and water to survive, too. Therefore, softer soil is an integral part for both the “macro” and “micro” life in the soil.
Many homeowners often core aerate their lawns with a machine every year. While this is a good practice, the results are fleeting. For long-term results, add more humate-rich, gypsum-based amendments to the soil. The former will foster earthworm populations to support natural, biological aeration of the soil; while the latter assists in natural, chemical aeration of the soil.
Mag-I-Cal Plus, a natural, humate-rich, three-in-one “soil food”, loosens hard soil, stimulates soil microbes, and adjusts soil pH. It should be used every season to regularly keep your soil biologically and chemically balanced. Mag-I-Cal Plus can be applied to lawns at any time of the year. It can be used as a lone application or before/after the use of any lawn fertilizer (apply before using a Weed & Feed) to insure the maximum greening and health of your lawn.
For very compacted soil, apply Love Your Soil. Though Love Your Soil does not adjust soil pH, it contains about 20% more soil loosening power than Mag-I-Cal Plus. Both products can be found at local hardware stores and garden centers.