Is my soil compacted?

My lawn was sodded by the house builder and is about a year old. I've followed a lawn maintenance program, but my yard doesn't look much better than the yards that are not fertilized or maintained. I doubt that aeration would be necessary this soon after planting, but water runs off the top of the soil, and my grass seems to be growing runners on top of the soil instead of underneath. Do you think my soil is compacted?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

You have probably already identified the problem: soil compaction. Compaction is troublesome in new landscapes where heavy equipment has been used during construction. Aeration is definitely the cure. All the water and fertilizer in the world are little use if the grass fails to get its roots into the ground. Most grasses are pretty tough, so you can make three or four passes (not just two) with the core aerator, a minimum of once a year (twice is even better).


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