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Fixing Bad, Compacted Soil: Lawn Care Tips for Minneapolis & Eau Claire, WI


Nobody looks out proudly at their lawn and says, “Man, look at my healthy soil, full of microbes and fungi and bacteria.”
That would be weird.

But if you want a lush lawn of healthy green grass, you have to think about soil health first.

If it’s hard, compacted, too sandy, or made up of clay, it needs help.

How to fix lawn soil?

Let’s take a look.

First, Why Soil Matters

That soil tucked out of sight beneath your lawn is the foundation for healthy grass. It’s where your lawn gets the nutrients it needs to grow.

When it’s healthy, it’s full of good stuff you can’t see, but your lawn loves, from wriggly worms to fungi to nutrient-rich microbes that nourish it.

child playing on healthy lawnIf your soil is compacted or too sandy or full of clay, your lawn will struggle to get the food it needs to thrive.

Just like you, your lawn needs to eat well to be healthy. (If you had a Snickers bar and a bag of chips for lunch, we’re not judging.)

Nutrient-rich soil also helps your lawn resist drought, weeds, and pests.

How to Fix Compacted Lawn Soil: Aeration

Aeration is the number one fix for a compacted lawn.

When your soil becomes compacted, your lawn can't breathe. Its roots can't take in water or nutrients, which weakens your turf and opens the door for disease and weeds.

lawn team aerates yardSoil with a high clay content is especially likely to get compacted, as the particles squeeze together tightly, making it tough for water and oxygen to get through.

Aeration uses a machine to pull out tiny cores of soil from your lawn, allowing water and oxygen to get to the roots. You can almost hear your lawn sigh with relief.

Fix Lawn Soil with Consistent Fertilizing

Fertilizer is food for your lawn, but it’s also food for your soil.

It’s food in a bag. And just like the food in a bag you pick up at the drive-through, it’s not all the same.

lawn team pours fertilizer into spreaderYou can grab a bag full of a triple-cheeseburger and large fries, or a crisp healthy salad. (Again, not judging.)

Make the healthy choice for your lawn’s food.

That means slow-release, granular fertilizer. It’s more expensive, but it breaks down slowly, giving you consistent benefits.

Look for blends that also contain organic nutrients to feed your soil.

You’ll get premium professional-grade formulations of granular fertilizer from RainMaster. Not every lawn fertilizer service offers this.

Fix Lawn Soil with Soil Conditioner

Lawn fertilizer packs an even bigger punch if you boost it with soil conditioner.

It’s a blend of minerals that boosts the health of your soil. If your soil is clay, soil conditioner loosens it. If it’s sandy, soil conditioner makes it more robust.

lawn team applies fertilizer with ride on machineSoil conditioner builds organic matter, so your soil holds more nutrients. Think of it as a multivitamin to help fix your lawn.

It unlocks the potential of your lawn, creating better results from the fertilizer and other treatments your lawn care company performs throughout the year.

You get soil conditioner in our top-tier program or as an add-on service if you choose one of our other lawn care program options.

Limit Lawn Traffic to Help Compacted Soil

Those signs that say “Keep Off the Grass” are actually pretty smart.

If you have compacted soil, limit repeated foot traffic in the same areas.

That means encourage your kids to play on the whole lawn, not just in one area.

family plays on healthy lawnIt means changing your mowing patterns so you’re not walking the exact same path every time you mow.

Fix Compacted Soil with Gypsum

Gypsum, also called calcium sulfate, is a naturally occurring mineral that can help break up compact soil, especially hard clay soil.

It helps loosen and lighten excessively heavy soils by changing the soil structure.

If gypsum sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve been paying attention. We’ve talked about gypsum here before, as a way to help balance your soil if its pH level is too high.
team pours gypsum and lime into spreader If your grass doesn’t have the proper, balanced soil pH, your fertilizer won’t do much good.

Important nutrients for grass are available in soil when the pH is at the right level — not too acidic, not too alkaline.

If your soil’s pH level is out of whack, we can add the right soil amendments to bring it to the right level, setting it up to be the luxurious thick lawn you want.

Read Our Guide to Lawn Care in Minnesota & Wisconsin

Amend Your Soil with Good Stuff

Here in Eau Claire, we often have sandy soil. That’s not good. It means water and nutrients run right through it.

Fix your lawn soil by adding nutrients to give it a natural boost.

After aeration, when your lawn is filled with those little holes, top dress your lawn with compost.

Leave those grass clippings. Don’t bag them. They’ll break down into tasty nutritious bits that enrich the soil.

If tried and true lawn care strategies just aren’t working, you might need new soil.

Consider hiring a landscaping company to come in and dig out the sand and add good black soil.

How to Fix Lawn Soil? Trust RainMaster

If you’re out in your yard and you hear a tiny voice saying, “I’m hungryyyyyy,” it might be your soil.

Let’s create a custom nutrition plan for your lawn that focuses on packing your soil with the nutrients it needs to help your lawn grow thick and healthy and resist weeds.

We offer three different levels of lawn care programs, based on the results you’d like, how fast you want to see results, and your budget.

When you’re ready to put your trust in us, we can’t wait to meet you — and help you make the best choices for your lawn.

Want to boost your soil’s health? Request a quote today! We’ll review your lawn care options together so you can make a great choice. Then, you can finally enjoy your lawn and stop worrying about it.

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Topics: Lawn Care, Minneapolis, Eau Claire

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