Give your soil a breath of fresh air! Soil aeration reduces compaction and helps trees breathe.
July 14, 2015
Our heavy clay soils in North Texas already present some significant challenges to our trees, landscape plants and lawns. Throw in continual heavy spring rainfall and flooding and we have a recipe for root suffocation. Aerating soils in our landscape is already an important component of a good maintenance regimen, but it’s especially important this year because of all the heavy rain.
Did you know that tree roots absorb oxygen from the soil? Compacted soil that doesn’t allow for much air space can suffocate tree roots. What happens to your trees when their roots can’t breathe? Defoliation, weakened trees that attract pests and disease, decline and eventual death. Soil heaving and over-saturation from spring rains have caused heavy compaction in our already tough, clay soils.
Compacted soil leads to poor water absorption, drainage problems and creates an uninhabitable environment for beneficial organisms to thrive.
Heavy rainfall not only pushes oxygen out of the soil, it also leaches away important nutrients. Once soils are compacted, they have a hard time properly absorbing new moisture, resulting in runoff. Roots suffering in compacted soils can die off, leaving your tree weak and structurally unsound. Unfortunately, compacted soils and their effects on your tree may not be totally obvious to you. Read more about how healthy soil grows healthy trees.
So what should you do?
Airspade aeration is a process that allows for oxygen to be reintroduced into the soil. Creating air spaces not only helps re-oxygenate the tree’s root zone, but also allows for water to percolate properly through the soil and stimulates beneficial microbial growth.
How do we aerate soil?
We start by using high pressure air to physically punch holes as deep as possible into the soil throughout the root zone. Next, the compacted soil is amended with a compound containing pea gravel, dried molasses, perlite, worm castings, lava sand and compost. These organic amendments provide a route for air and water to easily reach the feeder roots. The amendments also create a beneficial environment for organisms like bacteria and earthworms, which play an important role in the uptake of nutrients from the soil.
If you notice the soil around your trees is hard and compacted or has large cracks forming as it dries, it would be good to perform core aeration around the tree’s root zone. If you can’t see your tree’s root flare then it would be a good idea to have a root flare excavation performed along with soil aeration.