The Hole Truth About Aeration
Aerating is a process that allows your lawn to breathe. Its conducted by poking a series of holes in the soil where the grass grows. These holes allow proper nutrients, moisture, light, and air penetrate the soil better and reach the root system. Ultimately, it makes your lawn healthier.
Often referred to as core aeration, the technique uses special tined equipment to create a pattern of holes in the soil. Hollow tines are better than solid because they remove a plug of soil. The holes left behind create an ideal environment in which the root system of the grass can expand. After aeration, the small plugs of soil eventually blend back into the lawn.
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.
You Aerate And Overseed During The Wrong Time Of The Year
The proper time to aerate is when new life has the greatest chance to grow in your region. You wouldnt want to aerate and overseed too early, before the last frost hits for example, and kill the seeds. You also wouldnt want to do it during the peak of a hot summer, when the harsh sun and temperature suppress new growth.
For cool-season grasses, common in northern lawns, aerate early fall or spring. Warm-season grasses, common to southern lawns, grow best in the late spring or very early summer. Not sure which applies to you? Here in Pennsylvania, cool air and moist soil in the fall and spring make it the perfect time to lay fresh turf, helping to build greater resistance against disease, insects, and drought.
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Is It Too Late To Aerate My Lawn In October
If you see the dandelions popping up in your lawn, it is too late to aerate. Fall aeration should take place mid to late October after temperatures have cooled down. Aerating in the fall preps your grass for the spring. Your lawn will grow greener and thicker the following spring after fall aeration.
When To Aerate Lawn In Minnesota
Early fall, between mid-August and late-September, is the best time to aerate your lawn in Minnesota. This timing allows your lawn to take advantage of the decompacted soil, and have a strong fall growth spurt. It also sets your grass up to easily survive winter dormancy and have an incredible spring green-up.
Avoid spring aeration because this invites invasive weeds. It also doesnt take advantage of the strongest growth period of grasses planted in Minnesota, which is fall. If you want to serve your yard best, aerate in autumn.
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Can It Be Too Late To Aerate The Lawn
So, it’s mid october, the plug-pulling lawn Aerator that I ordered in early august got here today. In the past two weeks, as is pretty normal in my neck of the woods, the weather has looked like this, and is quickly getting colder.
I’m thinking about still aerating my lawn, but don’t want to expose roots to winter temperatures. Should I hold off until the spring, or can you aerate pretty much all year long?
Fall is the best time to aerate. I wouldn’t do it when temperatures at night are regularly at or below freezing but your temperatures look balmy, now. I am assuming you have cool season grasses since you are looking forward to a winter and freezing, so go ahead and aerate. Leave those plugs right where they fall. They will disintegrate adding soil and bacteria to the surface that will greatly help with reducing thatch . Core aeration reduces compaction and also gets more air into the lawn’s bed to boost your micro and macro flora and fauna health.
The fall is also an important time to do the last fertilizing. The formulation is different than earlier in the season. Do not use a fast acting, high nitrogen fertilizer. You don’t want fresh, new, more vulnerable grass photosynthetic matter going into the winter. This will set you up for major fungal disease problems in the sping.
How Often Should Minnesota Lawns Be Aerated
There is no catch-all aeration schedule for Minnesota lawns. Whether youre in Rochester, Minneapolis, or further north in Duluth, it all depends on how quickly your soil becomes compacted. There are many factors behind this, from soil composition to the amount of traffic your lawn gets. It may not seem like much, but human and pet traffic can go a long way to compacting the soil.
Lawns should be aerated as often as the soil fails the soil test described above. Although aeration may not be necessary on a yearly basis, check the soil once per year to see if your lawn is in need of aeration.
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Is There A Bad Time To Aerate Your Lawn
You want to aerate the lawn when your grass is in its peak growing period so it can recover quicklythink early spring or fall for cool-season grasses, and late spring through early summer for warm-season grasses. If you have high-traffic areas or heavy clay soil, you will want to aerate every year.
Lawn Seeding To Complement Aeration
Grass can survive for a few years, but fresh growth is still important to the overall look and feel of your lawn. Without fresh growth, large sections of your grass can die off all at once, leaving bare patches. Seeding encourages fresh growth of healthy grass, keeping your lawn thicker and healthier from year to year.
Benefits of overseeding your lawn include the following:
- Helps fight insects and disease by growing stronger roots to stand against them.
- Thickens the density of lawns to give them a softer feel.
- Fills in areas of grass damaged by insects, disease, stress, and winter damage.
- Improves the overall appearance of the lawn.
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When Should I Dethatch My Lawn
The best time to dethatch is from late October to early December, after giving the grass some time to recover from winter. Do not dethatch too late in the growing season or your lawn may not be able to recover over the winter. Certain types of dethatching methods are not recommended for cool-season grass.
Reasons Some Over Aerate Their Yard
Some may think it is fine to aerate several times per year. This is because they feel continual aeration would help their lawn achieve more growth. Though in reality, they may simply be blessed with a healthy lawn and good soil base that can withstand the over aeration. Their lawns may actually do better with less stress on the soil and plants.
This is why I strongly advise that you shouldnt aerate your lawn more than once a season or even once per year unless you specifically know what you are trying to accomplish. As well It is important to not make too many passes over the same area with aeration tools during one aeration session.
You should understand that as much as aeration is essential to the growth of your lawn, adhering to the due process is vital to make it successful.
However, if you have to aerate your lawn more than once a season or even year maybe as a result of the soil situation where you reside or due to the type of plants on your lawn, you should keep track of the growth process.
The moment you notice that the growth of the grass has been altered, that is your cue to reduce the number of times per year and the number of passes made during aeration.
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Should I Fertilize After Dethatching
Because you fertilize your yard immediately after dethatching, it is best to wait until your yard has greened up before applying nitrogen. If you fertilize while your grass is still dormant, you encourage weeds to compete with your grass. Too much nitrogen will exacerbate your thatch problem in the future.
Why Aerate In Fall In Minnesota
The cool-season grass varieties planted in Minnesota thrive in temperatures below summer peaks. Simply put, aerating in fall takes advantage of the strongest natural growth period for our northern grass varieties and magnifies its benefits.
Youve probably noticed that after spring green-up, your lawn growth slows in peak summer months, then roars back to life in fall. This season represents the best opportunity for grass growth because temperatures are optimal for Minnesota grass species and there are fewer weeds sprouting and stealing nutrients from your lawn. The biggest benefits of fall aeration are:
- Does not invite weed seeds in soil to sprout.
- Encourages grass root growth, to store energy for winter dormancy.
- After aeration, you have the perfect conditions for fall grass seed overseeding.
Dont wait too late to aerate, though. Aerating in late fall exposes roots to winter temperatures and halts growth, preventing your lawn from benefiting from the process. Also, never aerate dormant, brown grass. Aeration only gives benefit to actively growing lawns.
Can I Overseed In Late Fall
Dormant seeding is the collective term for overseeding lawns in late fall and winter, when soil temperatures are too cold to allow grass seed to germinate. In the mid-west, the opportunity for dormant seeding is best from mid-November through early March, while soil temperatures remain below 50 degrees.
Is It Ok To Aerate In December
It takes proper care and regular maintenance, even in the winter. While the middle of winter isnt the best time to aeratesince the ground is hard and grass wont recover quicklyit doesnt mean you cant mentally prepare yourself and physically prepare your lawn for whats to come.
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With Aeration The Roots Will Grow Deeper And You Will Have A Healthier Lusher Lawn
The best time to aerate your lawn is during the growing season when grass roots can fully take advantage of the extra air and water.
- Aerate for cool-season grass in the early spring or fall
- Aerate for warm-season grass in late spring.
It is best to aerate the soil just after it rains or when youve watered. Hard, dry soil is more difficult to aerate.
How To Aerate Your Lawn
Aerating equipment comes in three main types, from small manual versions to larger tractor-like or pull-behind machinery:
- Spike aerators simply poke a hole down into the soil with a solid, spike-like tine. Some homeowners wear spiked aerator sandals” strapped to their shoes to aerate as they do yard work. While these can help on a small scale, spike machines can make compaction worse by pressing soil together around the holes.1
- Slicing aerators have rotating blades that cut or slice through grass and thatch and down into soil. Like spike aerators, slicing aerators leave soil in the ground, but they create pathways for air, water and nutrients without causing more compaction.
- Core or plug aerators, typically preferred by lawn professionals, use rows of hollow tines that remove plugs of soil from your lawn and deposit them on top, where they break down. The size of the plugs and the holes they create vary in width and depth, depending on the machine used.
You can hire a lawn service to aerate for you or do it yourself like a pro. Equipment rental companies and lawn and garden stores often rent aerator machines and provide basic operating instructions for the model you choose. Aerating is a lot like mowing as you work back and forth across your lawn. Concentrate on any known problem areas, like pet runs or backyard baseball diamonds. Make several passes in different directions to help ensure optimal coverage and benefits.
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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.
How Does Core Aeration Work
A core aerator machine pulls out plugs of soil in your lawn to leave pockets for air and water to get through and leave room for root growth. It is important to use core aeration methods because using spikes to just poke holes in the ground could cause further compaction. The plugs of soil that were taken out by the aerator will break down and give more nutrients to your lawn. The cost of aerating your lawn depends on the size of your lawn. If you want to DIY or hire a lawn care company, there are other treatments you want to do with aeration.
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Bring New Life To Your Yard
Aeration creates the ideal spacing and perfect conditions in your yard for grass seeds to grow and thrive. Since you are planting new grass seeds, it will require all of the available oxygen, water, fertilizer, and nutrients to suffocate invasive weeds. When done right, aerating and overseeding will give your yard a brand-new look.
For more information on how to do aeration and overseeding in the right way, contact us today!
Should You Pick Up Plugs After Aerating In The Northeast
Its never a good idea to rake up or throw away soil plugs created by the aeration process. These plugs contain valuable microorganisms and nutrients that they feedback to the soil as they break down. You can even put these plugs to use to benefit your yard. Allow them to crumble naturally. Theyll be gone in 26 weeks.
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Is aerating your lawn worth it?
Is lawn aeration necessary? Almost all lawns will benefit from aeration, and a great lawn demands it. That said, most lawns do not need it. Lawns suffering from heavy foot traffic, excessive thatch or grown on heavy soils will benefit most.
Can you 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.
Should you seed after aerating lawn?
Within 48 hours after you aerate you should over seed, fertilize, and water your lawn. The seed, fertilizer, and water will have the best chance to get down into the holes made by the aerator if applied soon after aeration. If the fertilizer contains weed control, your grass seed won’t germinate properly.
Can you aerate in late winter?
It takes proper care and regular maintenance, even in the winter. While the middle of winter isn’t the best time to aeratesince the ground is hard and grass won’t recover quicklyit doesn’t mean you can’t mentally prepare yourself and physically prepare your lawn for what’s to come.
Is it too late to seed my lawn in April?
How late can you seed grass?
How late can I sow grass seed?
Can I mow after overseeding my lawn?
What is power raking a lawn?
Is Dethatching good for your lawn?
How do I know if my lawn needs aeration?
Best Time To Aerate And Overseed Your Lawn
Theres nothing better than a lush lawn that lets you spend time with your family in the back yard, laughing and having fun. But, to keep grass healthy, techniques such as overseeding and aeration are important. This leads us to the question, when is the best time to aerate and overseed your lawn?
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