Lawn coring or aerification provides many benefits for home lawns, and this is especially true for many Saint Augustine grass lawns too. And the major benefit for aerating Saint Augustine lawns is the reduction in thatch that can be achieved by this process. So lets look at all the benefits and the how of aerating a Saint Augustine lawn.
Coring A Saint Augustine Lawn
The lawn coring process involves using a lawn coring machine which punches holes into the turf using hollow tubes called tines. As the aerification machine travels across the lawn thousands of holes will be created in the lawn surface, reaching through the thatch layer and into the soil.
The benefits for the lawn from coring are the removal of a small amount of thatch, as well as creating a massive boost of oxygen into the soil area, which is vital to good lawn health. This aeration of the soil is the primary purpose of lawn coring and will allow far greater penetration and circulation of air amongst the roots of the turf, and can be very useful as lawns become compacted over years of use.
A further benefit of lawn aerification includes the breaking up of clay soils, in which case these air holes should be filled with a coarse sand as a filler which will allow for greater water and air circulation at the same time.
The Lawn Coring Process
The lawn coring machine is quite heavy, and can be difficult to manoeuvre, as well as these things, the operator will need to take great care to avoid any irrigated sprinkler systems, as these can be busted from the coring process. A contractor specialising in lawn aerification is often the best option for many homeowners as they can do the entire job in one go with no effort required on behalf of the homeowner.
After the lawn is aerated it will be covered with thousands of plugs (cores) which have been pulled from the turf. these plugs will be made up of lawn, thatch and soil, and can be removed from the Saint Augustine turf after completion of the work. Which is most easily done with a rotary lawn mower with a catcher attached.
The other alternative, if the lawn soil is of good quality, is to mow over the top of all of them without using a grass catcher, breaking the cores up into tiny pieces that will settle back into the lawn again.
An application of quality lawn fertilizer should be applied to the turf directly after lawn coring and prior to any other soils or sands being added to the turf. Wetting agents can also be applied at this time for maximum benefit at the roots of the lawn.
For clay based soils, the holes can be filled with coarse sand, for nutrient poor and sandy soils the holes can be filled with a rich soil mixture. If the lawn soil is in good condition then the holes can be left open and will naturally cover over with new lawn growth within a few weeks.
Saint Augustine lawn aerification is often done during the growing season for the turf and not in winter and not in the heat of summer, so lawn aerification is most often done during Spring or early Fall.
Added Benefits For Saint Augustine Grass
Apart from all the normal benefits that all lawns can get from lawn aerification, coring Saint Augustine grass does give us one added and important benefit.
And this is the removal of lawn thatch. Lawn coring is a good way of removing some of the excess thatch which is present in Saint Augustine grass lawns. While lawn coring is not the best method of thatch removal for lawns, it is a good alternative for Saint Augustine grass which can be very difficult to de-thatch safely via conventional methods.
For maximum benefit of thatch removal from coring Saint Augustine grass, the lawn can be aerated once every year or two or less often to achieve the best and most consistent ongoing results.
In saying this, we must say again that lawn coring is only a minor way of removing thatch from Saint Augustine grass, and should form part of an overall thatch management plan for this grass type.
When Does Aerating Saint Augustine Grass Become Useless
Lawn aerification will become useless and of no effect once the thatch layer of the Saint Augustine grass reaches to a greater height than the height of the tines of the lawn coring machine.
Once this happens, the coring tines will never reach into the lawn soil, and will therefore be of very little benefit to the St Augustine lawn. In fact, once the tine can only reach perhaps half an inch into the soil, the process is already far less efficient.
For these reasons, we can see the vital importance of aerating Saint Augustine grass more regularly, as well as using other methods to control St Augustine thatch over the life of the lawn.