Grasses Expand Their Roots In The Fall
During the autumn months, roots start to expand and strengthen themselves for the coming winter months. You can support this process by loosening the soil with aeration and adding seed and fertilizer. With more room to grow and plenty of nutrients, your grass will have the strength to withstand the cooler months and pop up in the spring as beautiful as ever.
Aerating Warm Season Grass
Typically, warm-season grasses should be aerated in April or May. One should wait until the lawn has greened up and started to grow.
Aerating a dormant lawn damages the grass and encourages weeds to grow. Additionally, an aerated dormant lawn cannot crowd out unwanted weed growth. One rule of thumb: aerate warm season lawns after the first cut of the year.
When Is The Best Time To Aerate
Aeration is best performed just before or during periods of high growth. However, not immediately preceding or during periods of stress to the lawn. For example, heat or drought. The type of grasses that make up your lawn will determine the best time of year to aerate.
When to Aerate if You Have Cool-Season Grasses: If youre working with cool-season grasses, including bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass, aerating during the growth periods in the spring and fall is best.
When to Aerate if You Have Warm-Season Grasses: For warm-season grasses such as Bermudagrass, buffalograss, St. Augustine and zoysiagrass, aerate during warm times of the year, between late-spring and early-autumn.
Considerations for Aerating in the Spring: In the spring, wait until youve mowed the lawn a few times before aerating. Doing so ensures the lawn will grow fast enough to recover and take advantage of the increased pore space and air exchange at the root zone that aeration creates.
One caveat, says Friell, is that any disturbance of the root zone in the spring can increase weed competition by bringing buried seeds to the surface. Applying fertilizer and a pre-emergent weed killer following aeration can reduce the potential for weed competition and increase the hardiness of the grasses. But dont apply a weed killer if you plan to overseed following aeration. It will prevent germination of the seed you put down.
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When Is The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn
Regardless of where you live and what type of turf grass youre working with, aeration can help your lawn be healthier and more beautiful. The trick is knowing when its best to aerate, what equipment to use, and what else you can do to encourage the vigor of your grass. Additionally, aerating can also assist in limiting weeds ability to gain a foothold in the lawn.
According to Josh Friell, Ph. D, of The Toro Companys Center for Advanced Turf Technology, aeration introduces temporary stress to the turf. Recovery time is closely linked to growing conditions and annual growth cycles. As a result, its important to keep those considerations in mind when determining an annual aerification plan.
When Should You Aerate Your Lawn
If your lawn appears to be a bit dry or the grass looks as if it is struggling to keep up, then this is a clear indicator that natural circulation is not taking place as it should. Simple activities such as children playing outside or a car driving on your lawn could lead to soil compactness.
The type of soil in your environment also determines how often you need to aerate your lawn. If your yard falls in the following categories, then it is a clear sign that it would be good to aerate:
- The lawn dries up fast or often feels a bit spongy. You could be having an excessive thatch issue for these particular results.
- The structure was sod established or has soil layering. This occurs when the soil is imported and layered over original coarse soil. The layering distracts natural water drainage where the moisture is only held within the more nuanced texture.
- You have children and pets having fun in the yard almost daily, or you continuously have visitors passing over and/or having leisure time on your lawn. This can cause it to dry up and become compact.
- The lawn was set aside after new construction, either for the home or any other complementary building. In such cases, the topsoil often has several impurities, is over-buried or stripped.
However, it would be best if you did not wait to see some of your lawns adverse complications before you decide to aerate it. The best time to get the aeration work done is when the grass is young or growing season.
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Summary: How To Aerate Your Lawn
Aerating your lawn involves using a machine to cut small holes, called cores, into the turf so oxygen, water and nutrients can penetrate deep into the soil. These holes are generally about 2-4 inches and go down to the roots. Aerating also breaks up soil and other organic material thats built up over time. When you aerate a lawn properly you allow nutrients to penetrate deeper into the soil which encourages healthier roots and grass. This greatly improves a grasss durability and overall health. In many cases, the top layer is so dense nutrients cant get to the roots where theyre needed. Aerating core holes makes it easy. The holes deliver nutrients and water right where theyre needed most.
Just a little maintenance goes a long way in creating a healthier lawn. Aerating is easy to do by hand and generally only needs to be done about once a year. The machine does almost all the work. All you have to do is run the aerator evenly over the entire lawn. Try to make sure every area of the lawn gets aerated.
Aerating machines come in two basic designs, by hand or powered. Both are easy to use and work really well. Although powered machine are easier because all you do is steer. Some lawns are more difficult to aerate then others because of soil conditions and how dense the grass is. If your is too difficult to do by hand then try a powered aerator. Some designs hook up to the back of a sit down mower so you dont even have to walk. What could be easier.
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- Over time, grass and soil can become compressed and compacted. This creates thatch, which is a thin layer of dead and decomposing grass between growing soil.
- As thatch grows, it prevents air, water and fertilizer from getting to the roots of your grass. This causes it to grow thinner and die.
- Aeration makes holes in the lawn and loosens the soil beneath. This lets oxygen, water and important nutrients reach the roots, resulting in lush, green grass.
- Consider aerating your lawn if it is thin and brown and you have trouble growing grass
- This is also a good option if your grass is subject to heavy foot or vehicle traffic.
- Thoroughly water your lawn a day or two before you begin the aeration process.
- Apply at least one inch of water.
- Use irrigation flags to flag any area of the lawn that contain hidden objects like tree stumps or irrigation heads.
- This will help prevent you from running over them with the lawn aerator.
- Whether you’re using a core aerator or a steel spike aerator, you should cover the lawn completely in one direction and go back over it in a perpendicular motion.
- Spike aerators punch holes in your lawn as you go, while core aerators work to remove grass and soil plugs. We recommend leaving these plugs to decompose on their own, which will probably take about a week.
Tip: A steel spike aerator is ideal for small yards, while a core aerator is designed to handle bigger spaces. Both of these are available at The Home Depot Tool Rental Center.
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How To Aerate A Lawn: A Step
Being aware of how to aerate a lawn is essential for grass thats green and healthy, whether yours is a space for the family to enjoy or a more formal feature of the yard. If its well aerated, a lawn can cope better when theres drought or its waterlogged, plus it will make it even easier for the best lawn mower to keep it in shape during spring and summer.
As for the timing, generally its a job you should consider doing in September. Aerating the lawn in early fall means it can respond to your efforts. You shouldnt aerate when the grass is dormant.
Note, however, that for warm season grasses in the southern states of the US, its best to aerate in late spring/early summer, so add it to your list of spring lawn care tasks in these regions.
When To Aerate A Lawn
Grass should be aerated just before or during the growing season for your species of grass. Regardless of the type of grass you have, aeration should be done when the soil is moist and no harsh or inclement weather is on the horizon. In fact, aeration stuns and causes mild trauma to grass. Freezes or draughts can further stress the lawn, slowing progress.
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Thatch And Compaction: 2 Problems You Can Fix
Over time, little bits and pieces of grass die and gather just above the soil. This is called thatch. A little bit of thatch can be beneficial. It’s organic material that is broken down by microbes in the soil. But sometimes, thatch builds up too fast for natural processes to break it down. It forms a barrier, keeping moisture and air from going where your grass needs it. A half-inch or more of thatch can weaken your lawn. You have 2 ways to remove it: dethatching and aerating.
Garden Knowledge: Scarifying Your Lawn Aerating Your Lawn
Regular, long-term care is critical to maintaining an attractive lawn. But mowing alone isnt always enough. By scarifying and aerating your lawn, you can help improve the uptake of water, oxygen and nutrients. We recommend doing both several times a year. Well explain what tools work best and show you exactly how to get the job done.
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The prospect of scarifying and aerating your lawn may sound complex and daunting at first but in reality, its not hard at all. It is important to scarify and aerate your lawn in the fall, as this loosens up the turf, allowing the grass to breathe better and regenerate. This process improves the uptake of water, oxygen and nutrients. Whats the difference between aerating and scarifying?
A lawn aerator is equipped with minute steel tines attached to a drum . These tines poke small holes in the earth which help to loosen the turf. Aeration can prevent the grass from becoming thick and tangled. For that reason, we recommend aerating your lawn several times a year.
Scarification is a more intensive type of aeration. A lawn scarifier is used to score the turf by means of tiny steel blades. This process also removes weeds, moss and thatch. However, it does not damage the roots of the grass. Scarification should be carried out twice a year.
But before you begin aerating and scarifying your lawn, make sure to mow it to a length of about 4 cm. You can review everything you need to know about mowing your lawn here.
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What Is Lawn Aeration And Why Should You Aerate
Over time, grass and soil can become compressed and compacted. This creates thatch, which is a thin layer of dead and living grass roots, stems and shoots that forms between the soil and the grass in your lawn. Some of this organic matter, including the grass stems and roots, decays slowly, so thatch can build up.
As the thatch becomes thicker, it prevents air, water and fertilizer from reaching the roots of the grass. This causes your lawn to thin out and die.
Aeration is the practice of making holes in your lawn to loosen the soil underneath. This lets oxygen, water and important nutrients reach the roots, so your grass can become lush, green and healthy.
Aeration can also help improve a lawn growing in poor soil or heavy clay.
Preparing To Aerate Your Yard
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Water And Keep Off The Lawn
Finally, you will want to water your lawn for about 2-3 weeks.
You will want to water your lawn at least every other day to ensure your little baby grass is able to come in properly.
Be sure to follow the best practices for watering the lawn.
For best results water in the early morning before the sun rises.
Related Guide For What Is The Best Way To Aerate Your Lawn
Can you aerate your lawn without a machine?
Using a fork
A fork can be a useful tool for aerating your lawn. The process is more or less like spike aeration. It is an effective method because it penetrates compacted soils efficiently to loosen the particles, and if you already own a fork, you don’t have to spend more money on new tools to aerate your lawn.
How deep should I aerate my lawn?
The holes are typically 1.5 to 6 inches deep and the holes are 2 to 5 inches apart. So, what exactly does aeration do? It allows for air circulation at the root level of your lawn. This provides the optimal soil condition for healthy grass and growth.
Can I aerate in the spring?
We recommend you aerate your lawn once per year. If you have a warm-season grass, you should aerate now as temperatures start to rise. Aeration is necessary for the growth and health of your lawn. It pokes holes in your grass allowing oxygen, water, and nutrients to get down into the soil.
How do you use a core aerator?
Which is better plug or spike aerator?
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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What Is Lawn Aeration
The aeration process involves penetrating the surface of your lawn and creating a void for air, water, sunlight, and nutrients to enter and reach the root system of your grass.
Another benefit is that aeration reduces the amount of thatch on your lawn. Thatch is a layer of organic material that builds up below the grass’s blades. This buildup impedes growth and nutrient absorption. Finally, thatch also slows grass growth and chokes out healthy grass.
Aeration alleviates the problem of compacted soil. Over time, the ground may become tightly packed, preventing water and air from reaching the lawn’s roots.
Properties that host pets, children, heavy foot traffic, or commercial applications often suffer from compacted soil and should be aerated.
What To Do After Aeration
After you finish aerating your lawn, let soil plugs or extra soil dry where they fall. They’ll break down in rain or crumble the next time you mow, adding beneficial soil and organic matter to your lawn surface.
Right after aeration is a perfect time to overseed with premium Pennington Smart Seed and fertilize your lawn or do simple lawn repairs. Seeds and nutrients have direct contact with soil through the openings your aerator created and roots have fresh pathways for the things they need. The combination can help put your lawn on the fast track for quick seed establishment and thicker, lusher growth.
By adding aeration to your annual task list or doing regular compaction tests to check for need, you help ensure your lawn can reach its full potential for thickness, health and beauty. Pennington is committed to providing you with the finest in grass seed and lawn care products to help you achieve your lawn goals.
Pennington and Smart Seed are trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc.
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