Over time, the ground beneath grass tends to get compacted. This happens primarily because of foot or equipment traffic, such as lawn mowers, periodically putting pressure on it throughout the year. It may also be compacted if it has a heavy composition of clay which is a very dense material.
Compacted soil is bad for plant growth of any kind, including grasses. Plant roots need air to help them breathe, but compacted soil has much of the air squeezed out of it. In addition, many beneficial insects are turned away from soil that has become so dense that they find it difficult to bore through it. In frustration, they seek a more hospitable terrain, possibly in your neighbor’s lawn. Over the years as the grass roots get less and less oxygen and nutrients delivered to them because of the impacted soil, your grass slowly begins to suffocate and starve.
But how do you know if your dirt is too compacted? One very easy method it to take your screwdriver and try pushing it into the dirt. The best time to do this is when the ground is dry. If the soil is hard to push through, then it is probably a sign be a sign that your soil is too densely packed. If the dirt gives way without too much effort, then it’s probably fine.
A main feature contributing to packed soil is the lack of humus in the soil. Humus is the material that remains after microbes have finished digesting organic matter such as lawn clippings, decaying plants, food garbage, and so on. After the microbes have finished their work, what is left is a dark moist substance that is incredibly rich in nutrients and trace minerals called humus.
Instead of Scott’s lawn care products, you might try this ancient super food. Periodically, placing this plant super food on the surface of or mixing it with your lawn’s top soil can invigorate your entire lawn. It restores lost nutrients to the soil and helps to make it healthy. Humus is a very spongy material and, particularly if your soil has a high percentage of clay, it will make your soil less dense. And unlike many chemical fertilizers, humus will not burn your revive your lawn or other garden plants and it’s very difficult to give your lawn too much of it.
If you have the room in your back yard, you can choose to produce your own humus. It takes time, but with the right equipment, it’s not difficult at all. Otherwise, there are many organic garden centers where you can find organic, fully decomposed humus
Soil rich in humus also has another great benefit. It helps to keep your grass roots moist by preventing water evaporating from the lawn. This not only means that you need to water less, but also your lawn will be less susceptible to periods of rain draught. This is especially true if you have a sandy type of soil which tends to have difficulty retaining water.
Many gardeners believe that the high concentration of nutrients in humus that it passes onto the grass, helps the grass to fight off disease and bacteria.
In a sense, your grass and plants are similar to your body. Like your body, it’s health is dependent to a large degree on what you feed it. If you feed it junk food, which is what many chemicals are, your grass will grown but it will not be strong. If you feed your lawn humus which is the equivalent of giving your body vitamins, minerals and proteins – your lawn will grow to be strong and healthy.