How to Tell if Your Lawn Has Compacted Soil - SPS Skip Navigation

How to Tell if Your Lawn Has Compacted Soil

how to tell if you have compacted soil

If you have compacted soil, gardening and lawn care will be very difficult.

A thick, green, and lush lawn is an excellent addition to any home. Unfortunately, when the soil that lawn is rooted in becomes compacted, it can become extremely challenging for turfgrass to grow in your yard. Compacted soil can have many causes and creates many problems for homeowners who want their lawn to be healthy and beautiful. Before you can address your compacted soil, you should read on to understand what causes soil compaction and how aeration can help alleviate this problem.

What It Means When You Have Compacted Soil

When enough pressure is applied, soil can become compacted. Many times, the soil is compacted by machines during home construction or by heavy foot traffic. 

When soil is compacted, the soil particles are pressed so tightly together that the soil is not porous enough to allow proper water infiltration. Large pore spaces are minimized in compacted soils, depriving the roots of oxygen, which is essential for proper root growth. Without these essentials, your grass becomes weak and thin. A properly functioning soil needs space for water and air.

How To Tell When You Have Compacted Soil

You can tell whether your soil may be compacted by looking for the signs. A few of the most common signs of compacted soil are:

  • Your grass stops growing in summer
  • Water puddles form in low areas of your lawn
  • Water runs quickly away from high areas of your lawn
  • Thin, patchy areas of grass
  • Heavy clay soil
  • Insertion of a screwdriver into the soil is difficult

If you notice any of these signs, your soil is likely compacted. When that happens, the best method to address the compaction is to aerate the soil. 

What Is Soil Aeration? 

Many homeowners fail to understand the importance of aerating. Aeration creates pore space in the soil for water, nutrients, and air. Generally, larger pore spaces hold air, and smaller pore spaces hold water and nutrients. Aeration can be improved by core or solid tine aeration, which creates openings in the soil profile. Many times, soil aeration can be improved with the application of specialized soil surfactants. The benefits of aeration are extensive, and include: 

  1. Roots can grow deeper and become stronger
  2. Turfgrass is thicker and healthier
  3. More water is held in the soil for plant use
  4. Nutrients are maintained in the soil for the roots to absorb
  5. Air is available for root respiration

How to Aerate Your Lawn

Aeration is a process that requires the right resources and skills. If you are aerating your lawn, it is best to consult a lawn care professional to ensure that the process is done correctly.

Scientific Plant Service Is Your Go-To Source In Landscape Healthcare

Scientific Plant Service, located in Baltimore, is a privately owned corporation, chartered in Maryland in 1957 by Frank J. Burke. We started as a full-service Arborists specializing in the care of shade trees and ornamental shrubs, but today we are a Lawn Care company that is a huge part of the community. From aquatic environments and snow management to deer and mole control, SPS has services tailored specifically for your lawn and landscape.

We offer services in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, including: Harford, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Calvert counties in MD, as well as Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church in VA. For more information, contact us online, or call us at 410-321-0970. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

This entry was posted on Friday, February 28th, 2020 at . Both comments and pings are currently closed.

We Are Hiring. Top Pay. Great Benefits. Work Where You Are Appreciated.

Click Here To Download Fillable Application

Send completed application to

Click here to chat with a representative