Lawn Aeration: How to Do It And How Often it Should be Done
If you want your home to look as beautiful as possible, then you need to make sure that your lawn looks the part. Your front lawn is probably one of the first things that guests will see when they approach your property and the same goes for people just passing your home! Meanwhile, a backyard should provide a natural haven where you can unwind in the sun with a hot cup of tea.
But to ensure your lawn looks the part, you need to make sure you are maintaining it properly. You cannot simply ignore your lawn and leave it to its own devices – it needs weeding, fertilizing, watering, mowing and aerating too.
Never heard of aerating? Then read on and let’s look into it…
What Does Your Lawn Need to Thrive?
Like any other type of plant, your grass has roots which it uses to extract nutrients from the soil. Just as you might enjoy a dissolvable vitamin tablet in the mornings, grass too needs to get its air, water, and fertilizer in order to be healthy.
The Role of Aeration
Unfortunately, soil tends to get compacted over time. Walking on the lawn regularly, playing with children, or even using a lawn mower flatten the the soils each time and making it more and more compact.
Eventually, soil can become so tightly compacted that nothing can get through. This means that the roots of plants won’t be able to push through the soil anymore. It means that new nutrients won’t be able to make their way to the lower levels of the roots and it means that water and air won’t be able to seep through.
Aeration then involves perforating the soil again: making tiny holes that will allow the air and water to pass through again and that will prevent the soil from being quite so tightly compacted so that roots and insects can push through.
Does Your Lawn Need Aerating?
A good garden should act like a ‘microcosm’ for large ecosystems. That means that it should be able to look after itself via the complex interplay of different life forms thriving there.
If your lawn gets a lot of heavy foot traffic, then you might want to consider aeration. For instance, if the lawn is part of a school field or another public area, then it will probably need a little occasional help. Likewise, if you and your children play on your lawn most days, then it could easily get compacted.
This is likely to be even more important if the lawn came with a new-build property. In these cases, the subsoil will very often have been compacted by the construction workers and machinery. You should also consider the nature of your soil. Is it particularly hard soil? Does it feel solid to touch? If it was established by sod with soil layering on top, then you may find it struggles.
The best way to tell if your soil needs aerating is simply to see how the grass is performing. If it appears to dry out quickly and has a spongy feeling, then it may have an ‘excessive thatch problem’. Use a shovel to remove some lawn four inches deep. If the thatch is more than half an inch, then you should consider aeration.
When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?
When you should aerate your lawn is dependent on the type of grass that you have.
When Cool Season Grass Should Aerate
- In the fall - At least 4 weeks for the first hard frost
- OR In the spring
When Warm Season Grass Should Aerate
- Mid-spring to early summer
How to Aerate Your Lawn
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To begin, you will need to use one of two tools: a plug aerator or a spike aerator. Spike aerators are like a fork and allow you to simply poke holes into the ground. Plug aerators meanwhile remove a large amount of soil from the lawn called a ‘plug’. Plug aerators are more effective and preferable, as poking holes can sometimes lead to them caving back in and actually compacting even more tightly around that area!
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It’s a good idea to make multiple passes over the same area to get the best results. If you use plug aeration, then you’ll be left with clumps of soil on top of your lawn. To clean up, try running over these with a lawn mower to get a neat finish.
Once you’ve done this, you should then continue to fertilize and water your lawn as usual but should notice benefits quickly. Do not aerate your lawn too often – once a year may well be enough and aerating more than twice yearly could potentially cause damage, especially in arid climates.
Looking to Rent Equipment or Have Aeration Professionally Done?
Lawn Aeration Final Words.....
Use your common sense, monitor the health of your lawn and then provide the appropriate care to help it thrive. Just a little bit of TLC can make a huge difference to your lawn, leaving you with a beautiful, even layer of healthy, green grass. This can transform the look of your home or business and is well worth the small amount of effort that it takes.