Any gardener will take pride in their lawn. However, to have the best-looking lawn, there needs to be a degree of lawn care as it won’t do this by itself.
A healthy lawn can be from a few years of careful attention.
Here, we will look at one of the primary practices when it comes to having a great lawn. While mowing, fertilizing, and watering do their part.
Apart from watering your lawn, there is nothing more effective than aerating the lawn to deliver considerable growth and getting rid of lawn thatch.
What is Lawn Aeration?
In the simplest of terms, aeration is where you poke holes in your lawn. However, there is much more to it than this, as holes are very different.
What this does is allow oxygen, water, and nutrients to penetrate deeper than usual. This means they can reach the roots of your grass, and thus helping it grow stronger and faster.
In clay soil, this is even more effective because this kind of soil has poor drainage, and during rain or watering, you may see puddles of water forming.
In the case of nutrients, if your lawn is full of thatch or organic debris, then any nutrients that your grass should be feeding on are starved by these buildups. This results in lacklustre growth of your lawn.
Why Do I Need to Aerate My Lawn?
One of the most common questions asked is why lawns need aeration. Here is a list of reasons why it is a good gardening practice to aerate lawns.
- Lawn receives lots of use: Many homes have front lawns that are used as playgrounds, kids and pets run around, or if there is no fence, it may be a shortcut for passersby. Over time, you will have compacted soil.
- Your lawn dries out after watering but feels spongy: This can be signs of severe thatch problems. If you dig down and see your thatch is more than half an inch, then aeration will help.
- The home is new: During construction, there will be vehicles backward and forward. As they landscape, the topsoil is often removed, and all that remains is the hard, compact earth. If this is just 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick, it will make a difference how well a lawn grows.
- Lawn is from sod: There will be two kinds of soil here, and the sod earth will retain water. Aeration can help blend these two soils.
When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?
This is another common question, and it usually falls in line with how lawns are aerated. Here we see when the best time is, and the best methods for doing so.
The optimum time to aerate is during the growing season. This allows grass to heal from the process, and the grass and soil can fill the small holes. There are two differences though as you can see:
- Cool-season grass: If you have cool-season grasses, then the best times when to aerate lawn is early spring or in the fall.
- Warm-season grass: The best time to aerate warm-season grasses is late spring.
It is worth noting, if you are about to take on a larger lawn project such as planting grass seed, then the best time to aerate is either right before or during when your grass reaches the peak of natural growth.
Adding to this, lawns should never be aerated when they are dormant as it can introduce plant stress.
How to Aerate a Lawn
Once you are close to the time when you will be thinking of aerating, there are a couple of different ways you can go about this.
In the older days, gardeners used to walk back and forth with their garden fork. This they would stick in the earth and give it a little wiggle.
To save time, foot aerators were developed where you walked all over your lawn to achieve the same thing. While somewhat useful to a degree, it isn’t the best way, especially if you need to get down a couple of inches deep.
It is far easier and less time, consuming to use aerate lawn tools that are designed for the purpose. Here are three you can choose.
- Spike aerators: These are a mechanical form of a garden fork and poke holes down to the roots. They have a downside, and this is they can make soil compaction worse as they force soil together.
- Slicing aerators: This type of yard aerator has spinning blades that slice your lawn in strips. No soil is removed, yet there are narrow trenches. These don’t cause any compaction and allow water and nutrients to reach the grassroots.
- Plug Aerators: Professional gardeners or landscapers will choose this kind of machine. Plug aerators or a core aerator, as they are also known, consists of hollow tines positioned on revolving wheels. These pull out soil plugs from the lawn and deposit them back on the surface.
How Do I Aerate My Lawn?
When you are looking at how to aerate your lawn, you can hire a lawn plug aerator rather than getting a company to do so. This is rewarding and much cheaper because the machine does all the work.
All you need to do is some quick preparation before you begin.
- Mow your lawn: Do this a couple of days before you want to aerate. These machines work better when the grass is short.
- Check soil moisture: If the soil is too dry, the machine may not penetrate the earth as easy as it should. Water a day or two before aerating, but after cutting your grass.
- Position your machine: Start at one end and with the machine-running, walk to the far end of your lawn. The tines will rotate and drive into the soil before spinning and depositing the soil plugs.
- Once you have finished weaving backward and forward, you can break up the plugs on your lawn. These will be absorbed back into the soil when broken down.
This can be a great time to seed your lawn or carry out other lawn repairs. Seeds will find their ways into the holes, so when they sprout, they are already in nutritious soil.
Once you aerate and then follow with good lawn caring practices, you will have a healthy lawn rather than one, which struggles to grow.