Aeration of a lawn involves perforating the soil, and making small holes to allow water, nutrients and air to penetrate the grass roots. Due to this, roots get stronger and grow deeper into the ground. This strengthens the overall strength of your lawn. The primary reason for aerating a lawn is to eliminate soil compaction.
Compact soil can have a lot of solid particles in a certain space or volume, which prevents better circulation of water, nutrients and air within the soil. Heavy organic debris or excess lawn thatch buried under your lawn’s grass surface can starve the roots and harm your lawn.
Importance of Aerating Your Lawn
Your lawn may need to be aerated in the following situations :
- If the lawn is having some sort of drainage problems.
- If the ground’s surface is very compact or hard.
- If there are some bare patches which can not grown even when you fertilize or water regularly.
Heavy foot traffic can easily compact the soil in a lawn over time. Grass roots can also become matted and entangled. Either way, fertilizer and water can’t penetrate the soil deeper into the ground. Aerating your lawn can solve all these problems, and allow water, nutrients and air to penetrate your lawn. These elements reach the roots where they’re needed.
Basically, aeration is a process of punching holes in your lawn to loosen up soil, and even allow water, fertilizer and air to get to grass roots in your lawn. Aeration can also offer some other benefits, like encouraging new root growth and breaking apart any tangles. There’s no need to aerate the lawn very often.
Aerating your lawn every other year can be sufficient. If your lawn gets a lot of foot traffic, and the soil in the ground is compact and dense, you may have to aerate your lawn every year. These days, you can choose from a wide range of tools to aerate your lawn without any hardships or problems.
There are affordable spiked sandals which can be strapped to your shoes. You will be able to punch holes in the ground while walking around. You can even buy spiked rollers specifically designed to punch holes in your lawn. In case the soil is compact and dense, none of these methods will be effective.
If the soil in your lawn is too compact, such tools will be unable to penetrate them effectively. In addition to this, holes in the ground will be too small, and ineffective to allow fertilizer and water into your lawn. Thus, your best choice will be a core aerator. Core aerators can be easily bought from a local rental shop. With the right tools, you can aerate your lawn on your own without experiencing any problems.
Tips to Aerate Your Lawn
Before aeration, you should water the lawn. This will make sure moisture loosens the soil a bit. However, you should not flood the yard with water. It is important to use an appropriate amount of water before aeration. This will depend on the size of your lawn. Once you’ve watered the lawn, you need to go over your lawn at least once with the aerator.
When you’ve aerated the lawn, you will find plugs of grass and soil which have been pulled out by the aerator. If you like, just leave them where they’re lying. Eventually, these plugs will break down, and dissolve into the soil. In case you don’t want them on your lawn, you can just throw them away.
This is also a perfect time to fertilize and water your lawn. The fertilizer and water will now have a good way to get to grass roots. It will keep your grass healthy. After aerating, bare patches in your lawn will start growing, and grass will be healthier and thicker.
When to Aerate Lawn?
Lawn grass falls in two different categories – cool season and warm season. Warm grass actively grows in the summer season. In case you aerate this grass between late spring to early summer, rapid growth of the grass will quickly fill all the holes you create with aeration.
On the other hand, Cool grass emerges from the dominant period in the summer, and grows rapidly in lower temperatures. Strong growth can help your lawn easily recover from the stress induced by aeration. You should always time aeration to allow about 4 weeks of growing time before frost.
Warm Season Grass Types – Aerate them in early summer or late spring :
- Bahia grass
- Buffalo grass
- Bermuda grass
- Centipede grass
- Zoysia grass
- St. Augustine grass
Cool Season Grass Types – Aerate them in fall :
- Creeping bentgrass
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Rough bluegrass
Time of Aeration Varies with Soil
It is worth mentioning that time of aeration also varies with soil. Clay soil can easily compact, and therefore, it should be aerated at least once every year. You can either aerate a sandy lawn once every year or tackle this issue alternating years. In dry and arid climates, aerating twice each year can promote growth and health. In case your lawn is used for parking cars or heavy machinery, you should aerate it annually.
Tips Regarding Time of Aeration
When you’re sure about aerating your lawn, you should always do it before reseeding or fertilizing. Aeration can create openings for seeds and nutrients to penetrate the soil. You should also control weeds before aerating. This is because aeration can spread portions of weedy roots or weed seeds. Before aerating newly planted lawns, you should wait for about a year. This will make sure the grass in your lawn is well established.
Most importantly, you need to aerate when the soil is moist, not saturated. A lawn aerator can effectively penetrate moist soil in a better way. In order to achieve proper moisture balance, your lawn should be able to absorb around 1 inch water before aerating. Therefore, you should water the lawn about one hour before aerating. You should never aerate your lawn during high heat or drought. When you aerate in such conditions, you can stress the lawn by allowing unnecessary heat to dry soil.