The problem starts when the top 4 to 6 inches of the soil become compressed or compacted. Over time, these compacted soils will how to plant grass seed tend to hold more water; however, water infiltration and percolation into and through the soil will be greatly reduced.
As the grass thins due to poor growing conditions, the bare soil will heat up during the summer months. This will not only contribute to a loss of turf but inhibits new turf from creeping into the bare areas. Reduced water percolation rates due to compaction, commonly termed poor drainage, will make turf management more difficult, crabgrass especially with irrigation scheduling. During periods of continuous rainfall or on overwatered turf areas, the soil will remain wet. Under these conditions, soil compaction can increase further if the traffic patterns are not adjusted. Turf quality will decline due to a lack of soil oxygen and disease pressure.
Anticipate compaction occurrences and implement the proper turf cultivation practices to reduce the chance of turf failure. When the soil dries during droughty conditions or following improperly irrigated turf, compacted soil will be hard to wet because of poor water infiltration. This can lead to shallow root systems and a turfgrass that is prone to wilt easily.