Aeration can be done before or after the scalping though generally it is more easily accomplished after scalping. If you have someone else aerate or do it yourself be sure to use a core aerator. Never use a spike or knife type as they cause compaction rather than reducing it. After aerating with a core aerator be sure to leave the plugs on the ground and allow them to naturally return to the soil surface.
If you do not aerate, your compaction level increases. In highly compacted soils, soil pore spaces are reduced and this decreases the available water to the plant roots. Clay already has very small pores and can already reduce water availability to the plant roots. Compaction makes this worse resulting in poor root growth.
Also, as more water is held in the pore spaces there is less room for oxygen so the roots begin to suffer oxygen deficiency. This also results in poor root growth.
Another effect of compacted soils is that the roots, already unable to properly absorb nutrients and moisture essential to plant growth and health, must now spend an increased amount of energy and resources pushing through compacted soil. This energy is being taken away from other growth processes in the plant weakening the entire system. You can see that eventually the plant becomes severely weakened and is more susceptible to pests and weather influences.
While yearly core aeration cannot completely reverse compaction it can manage it within tolerable levels.« Back to Glossary Index