If you’ve discovered one or more cracks in the soil of your lawn, you might be wondering what caused it and how you can fix it.
Even if you’re inexperienced with lawn care, conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that this isn’t normal.
In a healthy lawn, the soil should remain closed and compressed. When it cracks, it will uproot nearby grass and plants while increasing the risk of erosion in the process.
Dryness and Soil Type
In most cases, cracking is caused by dryness as well as soil type. All lawns go through dry spells when they receive little or no water.
Most lawns can withstand these dry spells without ill effect. However, those consisting of clay soil may crack when severely dehydrated for a prolonged length of time.
Clay soil is highly porous, with the ability to absorb and release significant amounts of water. When it rains, clay soil will absorb the water, thus allowing it to expand.
During dry spells, on the other hand, clay soil will release water, causing to shrink. As the soil shrinks, small cracks may form. And if the soil doesn’t receive water, the cracks will expand to become larger and more prominent.
Aerate Your Lawn
To fix your cracking lawn, you need to water it. First, however, you should aerate it to loosen it up.
When soil is dehydrated, it shrinks to become more compacted. Aeration loosens the compacted soil by scoring it with hundreds or thousands of small holes, each of which is a few inches deep.
There are several ways to aerate your lawn, one of which is to wear aerating shoes while walking over it. Aerating shoes contain small “teeth” on the bottom that score the ground as your walk.
For larger landscapes, it’s recommended that you use a traditional walk-behind aerator. Walk-behind aerators contain a rolling mechanism that scores the soil as you push it.
Water Your Lawn
After aerating your lawn, set up a sprinkler to water it. Most lawns require about 1 to 2 inches of water per week.
Assuming your lawn is dehydrated, though – which it probably is if it’s cracking – you should give it a little more water. 3 inches of water over the course of a week should provide it with proper hydration.
By aerating and watering your lawn, you’ll encourage cracks to close while also promoting green, healthy grass in the process.
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