Liquid Lawn Aeration
A growing number of web-based businesses as well as lawn care companies are promoting "liquid lawn aeration". A typical claim is that conventional aeration or core cultivation - where plugs of soil are pulled from the lawn - can be replaced by a product sprayed on the lawn. It should be noted that these products should not be confused with high-pressure water injection systems used for "coreless" aerification on golf courses. It is possible that some lawn care companies might offer this highly effective (but expensive) type of aerification as an alternative to conventional core-pulling. Companies selling these products may insist that their aeration "tool" effectively loosens compacted soils, aggregates sandy soils and generally enhances water retention and turf root growth.
While it is difficult to ascertain what is contained in these products, a few have been shown to contain liquid humates (essentially liquid organic matter) and soap-like materials like sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulfate. It is simply wishful thinking to believe that a highly diluted solution of either of these applied to a compacted soil will in any affect soil bulk density. There is no indication that any of these products has ever been scientifically evaluated for effectiveness.
Simply stated, there is no "chemical" substitute for physical remediation of soil compaction - namely the traditional core cultivation techniques that have been used for years on all types of turf areas. At best, these "wonder products" might provide some minor degree of wetting agent effect - and nothing more. Wetting agents increase spreading and penetration of liquids across surfaces and into or throughout surfaces.
For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ script(s).
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Updated Wednesday, October 12, 2016