I spent the weekend with a power rake and a core aerator prepping my yard for warm weather. The top layer of soil was very compacted and hard. The plugs from the core aerator were like little pieces of shale instead of soil.
The big surprise was how sandy the soil was just an inch below the soil. This plug shows the extent:
The sandy portion of this plug was almost as hard as the soil part. Amazing and disturbing. The good news is that I could watch water actually drain into the ground around the yard rather than run down toward the street.
The sad thing that I see is people pouring chemicals on their lawns and running sprinkler systems until the end of the day instead of addressing the problems with their lawns like thatch and soil compaction. It’s hard work, but worth it in the end.