The Pros And Cons Of Lawn Aeration
What are the actual benefits of aerating a lawn? Why should you aerate your lawn in the first place? There are several important reasons.
First, it helps to ensure your lawn is more beautiful and much healthier than it otherwise might be.
The roots will grow deeper and gain strength, the soil becomes less compact, the grass will be thicker, and youll have a vibrantly green lawn as a result.
Youll also improve irrigation and have better absorption for water and fertilizers, and pesticide run-off will be limited.
Finally, thatch and debris are less likely to accumulate on a well-aerated lawn.
And thats reason enough for why should you aerate your lawn but are there any downsides?
Well, providing youre doing it correctly and in the right conditions , for the lawn itself the answer is no.
The same cant be said for you, however. Aerating a lawn can be tough, backbreaking work even if youre using a machine. Due to the nature of how they operate, theyre extremely heavy with added weights, and they can be a real challenge to maneuver and transport.
Aside from that, theyre not cheap so hiring one is often a sensible way to go considering how infrequently youll actually be using it.
Yes, the benefits of aerating your lawn are significant, but its going to take a fair bit of effort on your part to get the job done.
But theres no reward without the work.
How Often Should I Aerate
How often you aerate your lawn depends on a few factors. Our turf care experts at Timberline recommend once annually, during fall, for the typical lawn. If your lawn is walked on, mowed, or used very often, this will cause additional compaction. Clay soil types tend to compact more than other soils which could increase the need for aeration.
High use lawns may require twice per year aeration, once in spring and once in fall, to keep them healthy and beautiful. However, the opposite is also true. If your lawn is lush, beautiful, and almost never has foot traffic, aerating every couple of years may be the best fit. Its important to remember, aerating to often can cause way more harm than good for your lawn. If youre unsure how often to aerate or what soil type you have, a turf care expert will assist you in determining your lawn care needs.
Best Ways To Aerate Your Lawn
If you have decided that you are going to aerate your lawn, its important to do it properly.
First make sure that the soil has enough water. It will be very difficult to aerate soil that is dry. Either try to aerate right after it has rained, or water your lawn the day before you begin.
There are plenty of aeration machines that only cover a small part of your lawn are once, so try to make multiple passes over the same area, and move the machine in different directions .
If there are areas that do not need to be aerated, there is no reason to do so. Save your energy for the areas which need it the most.
In order to keep a cohesive lawn, you will want to allow any soil plugs that have been excavated, to dry and then break them up. You can break them up by running over the lawn and plugs with a lawn mower, but I use the back of a leaf rake once theyre dry.
You May Like: How Much To Aerate Lawn
Can You Aerate Your Minnesota Lawn In Spring
Aerating your Minnesota lawn in spring is not recommended. Many lawn care services in the region advise against it because it simply doesnt set your lawn up for success. Some of the downsides of spring aeration are:
- Grass will experience a smaller boost in growth compared to fall.
- Weed seeds exposed by aeration will sprout.
- You may have to spread herbicides to stop invasive weeds, adding to lawn care costs.
Similar to spring, avoid summer aeration. Cool-season grasses grow slowly in summer, and the holes created by a good aeration machine may cause the soil to dry out during hot daytime hours. This can harm your grass or necessitate extra watering.
Dethatching Vs Aeration: Whats The Difference
If you have heard of dethatching and aeration, you may wonder if you need to do one or the other or both on your lawn. First off, you should know that aeration and dethatching are closely related, but they are not the same. As previously mentioned, thatch is the layer of yellowed, dead grass that collects just above soil level at the base of living, growing grass blades. Up to a half-inch of thatch is normal and even beneficial, as it protects the grasss roots from temperature extremes. On the other hand, thicker thatch can prevent your turf from being able to absorb much-needed water and important nutrients. If your lawn has a thick layer of thatch, you can see benefits from both aeration and dethatching.
As weve already mentioned, aerating your lawn refers to the process of making small holes in the soil throughout the lawn, while dethatching usually involves raking the grass in order to remove yellowed, dead grass. Both dethatching and aeration are intended to increase the flow of air, water and nutrients to and throughout the soil in order to encourage thick, healthy grass growth.
Both processes are most effective when grass is in its active growth season. Warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine or zoysia should be aerated or dethatched in mid to late spring, while cooler-season grasses such as ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass or fescue benefit from these techniques in either the early spring or the fall.
Don’t Miss: Who Sells Murray Lawn Mower Parts
How Do You Tell If Your Lawn Needs Aerating
Does water pool on your lawn during rain storms? This may indicate that the soil is too compacted and drainage is affected. Aeration can help. Compacted soil is often preferred by a variety of weeds.
How thick is the thatch on your lawn? Thatch is a layer of dead organic material that sits on top of the soil. A thin layer of thatch is beneficial as it breaks down and provides needed nutrients to the soil. Thatch that is an inch thick or more will prevent water, light, and nutrients from reaching the soil. There are a few ways to address a thatch problem, but aeration causes the least damage.
Has it been more than two or three years since your lawn was aerated? If it has, theres a good chance that your lawn would benefit from aeration.
Ask the lawn care experts at Nutri-Lawn Ottawa about aeration and how to give your lawn the best start for 2017. Get a free consultation on how to improve the look and feel of your lawn. Request a free quote from Nutri-Lawn Ottawa today!
What Happens If You Dont Aerate Your Lawn
What will happen to your lawn if you dont aerate it depends very much on the type of soil you have under your lawn.
Some lawns can go years and years and years without being aerated and stay perfectly healthy, some lawns need to be aerated every year.
Whats your one does get a lot of traffic by being well used during the summer months or you have children playing on it then chances are it will become compacted which will lead to an unhealthy lawn.
If you have soil that is clay based it will become easily compacted and you should aerate it at least on an annual basis.
If you dont aerate your lawn and the soil becomes compacted it means water will not drain off the surface properly which leads to weak shallow growth, a healthy lawn has deep roots growing.
When you have a lawn that is only growing shallow roots and not deep roots it is more prone to disease and will be more affected by periods of drought and heat.
If your lawn is unhealthy and has shallow roots other plants can start to grow amongst the grass, weeds do find it easier to grow in soil that is not in prime condition for grass to grow whereas if your lawn is growing thriving grass it will be more difficult for weeds to spread.
You May Like: Gopher Spurge Home Depot
Do You Have Aerating Tips To Share
Now that you know how often you should aerate your lawn, its time to get to work!
What has been your experience with aeration? Does it improve your lawn? How often do you do it? What type of aerator have you used? Let us know in the comments below!
The information in this post was based on consulting with local landscapers and my own research. These are the sources Id like to thank:
Which Method Should You Choose
Aerators which remove plugs of soil are the most effective, according to most lawn care and turf experts.
This is definitely what I have found.
That said, the efficacy really depends on your lots type of soil. Also, consider the size of the lot youre going to be aerating when choosing a tool and method for lawn aeration.
Poking methods can be less effective due to causing additional compaction around where you place the holes.
I recommend that you use an aeration tool that pulls soil plugs at least 2-3 inches deep. These should also be no larger than 1 inch in diameter and no farther than 4 inches apart for best results.
Read Also: How Much Is Trugreen Lawn Service
Core Aeration For Lawns
The best method of lawn aeration is to use a core aerator . This is the method professionals use.
But most home centers and equipment rental services will rent you a professional core aerator which you can use on your own lawn to save money.
These aerators actually make rows with small spikes that remove the plugs of soil from the lawn. The aerator leaves these plugs on top of your lawn.
Not every machine is the same, and there are different variations of sizes with different widths and depths.
How Often Should I Water My Lawn In Minnesota
. Correspondingly, how many times should I water my lawn?
Your lawn needs at least 1-1 ½ of water per week, year-round, during the winter, too. Water deeply 2-3 times per week, rather than daily. Water as early in the morning as you can, when possible. If you can’t push a 6 screwdriver into your lawn, you’re not watering enough.
Furthermore, when should crabgrass preventer be applied in Minnesota? Apply crabgrass pre-emergent in early to mid-May if possibleAlthough it is tempting to apply your first fertilizer application shortly after the snow melts in April, this is often too early and the pre-emergent will not last long enough to be effective late into May and June when it is needed most.
Also to know, how often should I fertilize my lawn in Minnesota?
Minnesota lawn care calendar
|Best time to do it||Okay time to do it|
|Early August to late September Mid November||May through early June|
|Early August through mid October||May through late June|
|Mid August through mid October||Late April through May|
When should I overseed my lawn in spring MN?
When to Overseed Your LawnThere are two times a year that are best for overseeding your lawn in the fall between August and October and in the spring from March until Mid-June. Early fall is the very best time to reseed.
Don’t Miss: Best Time To Aerate Lawn In Georgia
How Often Should I Aerate A Lawn
The frequency of aeration is largely determined by the soil type and the amount of use. Lawns growing in heavy, clay soils and those subject to heavy foot traffic should be aerated twice a year. Once a year should be sufficient for lawns that are established on well-drained soils and experience little traffic.
How Often To Aerate Your Lawn
There are some variables to consider when it comes to aeration. The time of year as well as the type of soil you have all play a part in scheduling core aeration.
Here are those variables:
Sandy and loam soils dont need regular core aeration because the soils already have oxygen circulating through them. Plus, if you aerate your sandy or loamy soil too often, youll weaken the soil.
Clay soils, for example, need aeration every year or every few years depending on how compacted the ground is. Clay soil holds in water, but cant easily circulate oxygen for plant health.
Core aeration also prepares your soil for receiving grass seed. If you use a slit seeder, the grass seed goes down deep into the ground. This deep planting helps the grass plants to develop deep root systems.
Read Also: Too Much Peat Moss On Grass Seed
What Is Dethatching
Thatch is a layer of living and dead grass shoots, stems, and roots that forms between the green grass blades and the soil surface. Sounds kind of gnarly, we know. However, a half-inch of thatch is good for your yard it provides insulation from temperature extremes, helps keep moisture in the soil, and gives it a protective layer of cushioning. Its when thatch builds up to more than ¾-inch thick thats the problem. Too much decaying plant material can lead to increased pest and disease problems , stop oxygen and moisture from reaching the soil and grass roots, and keep your lawn from draining properly. So when the thatch stacks up, some of its got to go.
You can hire a lawn service to dethatch your lawn for you or follow these steps to do it yourself.
How Often To Aerate
Time of year isnt the only timing consideration you need to take into account either. You need to think about frequency.
If your lawn receives heavy foot traffic, aerate every one to two years. Otherwise, every two to four years should be sufficient.
Daly says that the average homeowners lawn needs to be aerated every three to four years, but aerating every year doesnt hurt anything.
At the other extreme, heavy usage areas including as ball fields or grassy areas where vehicles drive or park need it two or three times a year, he says.
Recommended Reading: Does Scotts Lawn Fertilizer Expire
Aerating Tools: Plug Aerator Vs Spike Aerator
Two main aerating tools exist a spike aerator and a plug aerator. With a spike aerator, you simply use the tool to poke holes into the ground with a solid tine, or fork. Plug aerators remove a core or plug of grass and soil from the lawn. For the best results, use an aerating tool or machine that actually removes plugs of soil. Poking holes is less effective and can actually cause additional compaction in the areas around the holes.
Look for an aerating tool or machine that removes soil plugs approximately 2 3 inches deep and 0.5 0.75 inches in diameter, and about 2 3 inches apart. These machines can be rented from lawn and garden stores or home improvement centers. Always follow the directions provided by the store. You may want to consider sharing the rental cost with a neighbor who is interested in aerating the lawn.
Need To Know Aeration Tips
- Do not aerate newly seeded or sodded grass for at least a year.
- Make sure that your fertilizer doesnt contain weed killer if you are seeding your grass. It will stunt seed growth.
- Longer tines of at least 4 inches are a good choice. This allows water and fertilizer to penetrate deeper into the soil.
- Make sure that when you aerate, it pulls the plugs out of your lawn vs spiking
There you have it. This is a complete guide to aerating your lawn. Use these steps to create a lush and healthy lawn, and dont forget to enjoy your healthy, green yard, of course! Dont forget to share! Our lawn care experts know Colorados soil, common lawn problems, and specialize in plant health care. Contact us today!
Don’t Miss: Corn Speedwell Killer
How Often To Aerate A Lawn
The degree of use of your lawn and the soil type largely determine how frequently you should aerate your lawn. Lawns that get heavy foot traffic and have heavy, clay soils need to be aerated twice per year. On the other hand, lawns subject to little foot traffic and that have well-drained soil should be aerated once per year.
Spike Aerators For Your Lawn
Spike aerators put holes into the soil with an actual spike.
Some people use special aeration shoes that have spikes on the bottom to aerate their lawns. While cheap, these arent the best tool for the job. If possible, it is better to use actual spike aeration machinery.
Others just use a pitchfork or manure fork to push some holes into the ground. This can be a quick and easy way to aerate a section of your lawn that is particularly high-traffic. I will sometimes do this on areas near my front walkway where kids and visitors frequently take a shortcut across my lawn.
Don’t Miss: How Much Lime To Put On Lawn