Lawn Aeration In A Nutshell
Before getting to the nitty-gritty details of how and when you should perform lawn aeration, lets learn a little about its basics. Simply put, this term describes the process of making holes into the soil to allow the roots of the plants to breathe and grow strong.
Gardeners consider that a healthy soil should have about half of its volume made of empty space. The tiny pockets of air allow the water to reach the roots faster and nourish them. In time, the soil tends to compact, and less and less air is found in it. To rejuvenate it, you need to perform the process called aeration.
A well-aerated lawn will allow nutrients to reach the roots of the plants and help them thrive. Aeration thats performed regularly can make a whole world of difference between a lawn with unsightly brown spots and a burnt grass aspect and one that looks lush and beautiful.
Is Too Much Aeration Bad For A Lawn
When it comes to over aerating a lawn, yes, this can be bad for it. Generally, if you over aerate your lawn, this will kill your grass and create drainage issues in your soil.
One of the reasons this happens is that each time you aerate a lawn, you puncture holes into it, leading to problems if done too often. That said, not all soil is the same, so every lawn will respond differently to being aerated.
Simple Tips For How Often You Should Aerate Your Lawn
Lawn aeration is an important aspect of lawn care that some people dont even carry out, this simple but effective task can massively improve the health of your lawn.
There are different ways you can aerate your lawn from shoes that have spikes on them to a professional lawn aerating machine but however you do it youre guaranteed to see improvement in your lawn it is a win-win procedure.
How often you aerate your lawn depends on the condition your lawn is in, I aerate my lawn every year and my lawn is in great condition if your lawn is compacted or a bad condition you might want to aerate it twice per year until it gets healthy and when it is healthy you might decide to only aerate it every second year.
Read on and I will tell you all about lawn aeration and youll find out why I carry out this procedure often compared to some people who dont bother at all.
I aerate my lawn every year to keep it in good condition, how often you aerate your lawn depends on the health of your lawn and the soil type. Making aerating your lawn part of your annual routine is a simple but effective process that encourages natural growth and improves the long term health of your lawn.
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When Why And How To Aerate Lawn
Lawn aerating is one of the most effective ways to keep your lawn nutritious, powerful, and full of life. Lawn aeration entails removing soil plugs from your lawn, resulting in deep spots that promote healthy growth for your roots. The space that is created by removing the plugs allows your gardens rootstock to widen and strengthen. Aeration also improves water flow and provides easier access to plant food and nutrients for your plant roots. This article will explore lawn aerator tips and provide information on how to help you get a beautiful lawn.
When Lawns Need Aeration
It may not seem your lawn could get compacted, but it happens easier than you may think. Vehicles or small equipment driven on lawns are more obvious offenders, but even outdoor entertaining or yard play by kids and pets can leave all or part of your lawn compacted. If you live where heavy clay soil is the norm, annual aeration is probably needed to keep your lawn from becoming thin and weak.
Dethatching and aerating are two different tasks, but they often go hand in hand. Thatch is the layer of decomposing organic matter that forms right at the lawn surface, between soil and grass. When thatch gets more than 1/2 inch thick, it works like compaction to prevent the flow of air, water and nutrients grasses need. Aggressive spreading grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrassin northern lawns and Bermudagrass down south, form more thatch than many other grass types. Aeration helps penetrate and reduce thatch buildup or prep it for removal through dethatching.
If your grass often looks stressed and your soil is hard to the touch or rainwater puddles up where it used to be absorbed, you may have compaction problems. Confirm your suspicions with a simple “screwdriver test.” Take a regular screwdriver and stick it into your lawn’s soil by hand. It should slide in fairly easily. If you meet resistance, your soil is compacted, and aeration can help.
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Signs I Need To Aerate
What are some signs that I need to aerate my lawn? Not all lawn care problems are solved with aeration, but knowing the signs of grass that needs some help will allow you to determine if aerating will solve your turf issues. Signs that you may need to aerate are:
- Spots in your lawn with stunted growth
- High traffic on the lawn
- Standing water, water pools or excessive water runoff
Can You Aerate Your Lawn Too Much
If you walk on your soil and it feels rock solid and is looking thin or patchy, these are signs that it could probably use aeration.
But if your grass is healthy and thriving and hasnt been impacted by a lot of equipment or foot traffic, it likely doesnt need aeration.
Once annually is usually enough in most cases, and for healthy lawns that receive regular maintenance and are performing well, every two to three years may be sufficient.
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How To Aerate Your Yard
If you’re convinced that your lawn is in need of aeration, here are some lawn care tips on how to do it:
- Before you get started, make sure the soil is moist enough. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to aerate soil that is bone dry. Aerating the day after a rain shower or watering your lawn the day before is advised.
- Most aeration machines cover only a small percentage of soil surface per pass, so make multiple passes over the most compacted areas. Save resources by leaving unaffected areas alone
- The excavated soil plugs should be allowed to dry and then broken up to give your lawn a uniform, clean appearance. Break them up by running them over with a lawn mower or pounding them with the back of a rake.
- An aeration myth is that if you apply a pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn in the spring, aerating your lawn will destroy the herbicide “barrier.” This is not true research shows that aeration will not affect crabgrass control or weed prevention.
- After aerating, it’s important to continue basic lawn care practices such as proper fertilizing, mowing and watering.
Aeration is a beneficial practice toward achieving a beautiful lawn, but most people don’t realize it or understand the process. If your lawn is a candidate, make it an integral part of your lawn care regime. Your lawn will thank you for letting it breathe again.
Watering Your Lawn After Aeration
First things first, its helpful to water your lawn the night before you aerate so that it loosens up the soil. You should not water the day of because your lawn wont have time to absorb the water.
The goal after aeration is to keep your lawn moist without oversaturating the soil. So, you should evaluate the soil after you finish. This might mean watering every day for two weeks, but only doing it for short periods of time, which is different than what we recommend other times of the year. Be sure not to overwater, as this can cause the soil to shift, potentially negating your hard work!
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What Is The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn
Timeline-wise, you want to aerate your lawn during its peak spring/summer growing season. The best time of year to aerate depends on:
Of course, every lawn is different, but if your grass grows and the weather is good, we would say it is ok to aerate.
Is A Plug Or Spike Aerator Better
Plug aerators are usually more effective at relieving compaction in lawns with a heavy clay soil since the solid tines used on spike aerators compact the clay soil further when they push into the ground. Soils that crumble easily are usually high in loam and sand which benefit more from the use of a spike aerator.
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Tips For Aerating Your Lawn
Aerating a lawn isnt difficult, but there are a few tips to follow that can help you get the most from it.
- Moisture: Avoid aerating when it is overly dry. Instead, do it a day or two after it rains. If Mother Nature isnt being accommodating, water the lawn thoroughly the day before you aerate.
- Obstacles: Before you start, flag sprinklers and any other obstacles in the grass to avoid accidentally damaging them.
- Repeat: During aeration, make several passes over the most heavily compacted areas to ensure through perforation.
- New growth: When you have finished, fertilize your lawn and, if needed, spread grass seeds. Your soil will be the most receptive at this time.
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.
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Where To Find An Aerator:
To aerate your lawn, first determine what equipment you require. If youre working in a small area, or the problem isnt too significant, you can get a good rake from the local hardware store to remove thatch and then begin spiking.
Conduct spiking by plunging the teeth of the rake into moist, but not wet, soil every few inches to create holes in the lawn. This will expose the grasses root systems to air, water, and nutrients.
A more extensive project may require different equipment. Luckily, finding a power-operated or manual lawn aerator is a simple task that you can complete at your local hardware store.
The Importance Of Aeration
Aeration loosens compacted soil. When soil is compacted, the granules are so tightly packed together making it hard for water, the roots of grass, and air to get in. Air, in particular, is essential because, without it, organisms like earthworms cant thrive to recycle nutrients and keep the ground healthy. And while grass might not be able to thrive in compacted soil, weeds can.
Another reason to aerate: it makes lawn treatments like fertilization and reseeding more effective.
You can maximize your aeration efforts by overseeding at the same time. The holes produced in the soil provide the perfect nesting spot for seeds. Fall is a great time to do this so the seeds are more established come springtime when you really want to see the results.
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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 too often can cause 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 Time Of Year To Aerate Your Lawn
Whatever time you decide to aerate your lawn the one thing you have to be sure of is that it is within the growing season, this is because when you aerate your lawn it will damage the grass so it has to be growing so that it can repair itself.
I aerate my lawn as part of my spring lawn care routine as I feel it is better to carry out most maintenance during this time so that it has the whole season to repair itself and you get to see the benefits throughout the summer.
You do have to be aware of the type of grass you have on your lawn before you decide what time of year you want to aerate it.
If you have cool-season grass on your lawn then you can choose to aerate it either early spring or fall.
If you have warm-season grass on your lawn then the best time to aerate it would be during spring.
However, if you notice your lawn is in a condition that requires an aerating such as it has become compacted or it is not draining properly then you should definitely go ahead and aerate it.
Aerate For Your Grass Type
The best time to aerate a lawn is when the holes can get quickly filled with new grass. That means the seasons of high growth are the best times to target this work.
Your grass type dictates when the best time of year will be to perform aeration work on the lawn. ]
The types that prefer cool weather do better in the fall, while those that like warmer temperatures need aeration in the late spring or early summer.
When the lawn is dormant, you can do significant damage to the grass by aerating. You should leave the soil alone whenever you have periods of extreme heat, drought, or freezing temperatures.
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.
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What Is Lawn Aeration
According to Cambridges Dictionary, aeration refers to “a process that allows air to act on something. When it comes to gardening, aeration is the process of poking small, long holes into the ground in order to provide the soil with good air circulation and improve the grassroots water and nutrient consumption.
Air circulation is very important as it lets stale carbon dioxide out, in turn, making room for fresh new oxygen to go in.
Lawn aeration also helps break through piled-up thatch in high maintenance lawns and reduces lawn compaction, which is the main cause of moss.
How Long Should You Wait
When you aerate your soil, hundreds of small holes are jabbed into your lawn, often pulling out plugs of soil. This process is integral for your lawn care, and its not just another thing on your to-do list. This task is relatively easy if you have the right tools, but there are some things you need to think about after you finish. How long should you wait for watering your lawn after aeration? Read on to find out.
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