When Is The Ideal Time For Aeration
There is another important thing that needs to consider before aerating your lawn is the appropriate time. First, you need to know the grass types because different types of grass require different times for aeration.
If you have warm-season grasses such as Bermuda grass, then spring is the ideal time for aeration. You should start the process as soon as possible after the soil has thawed.
On the other hand, if the lawn is covered with cool-season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass, conducting aeration during the fall season is wise.
In addition, sandy soil containing lawns needs aeration every 2 to 3 years, whereas clay soil containing lawns or heavy foot traffic needs aeration each year.
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.
When And How To Aerate
Lawn aeration should happen when grass is at its peak growing period so it can recover quickly. Aeration may be undertaken in the late spring or early summer for warm-season grasses, such as Bermudagrass.
But for lawns planted with cool-season grasses , early spring or fall is the best time for core aeration.
You can easily rent a lawn core aerator from a big box store or rental center. Since you should not need to aerate your lawn very frequently, it makes better financial sense to rent rather than purchase the aerator. Typically, if you don’t see any issues with your lawn, you can aerate every two to three years. However, for high traffic areas or if your lawn grows in heavy clay soil, annual aerating may be necessary.
This lawn aeration equipment will pull plugs, or “cores” of soil out of the ground, letting air in. These plugs should be two to three inches in depth. Such a plug should be pulled out of the lawn at about every three inches. The plug removal process is facilitated by watering the lawn the day before, but don’t water to the point of muddying the soil. Leave the plugs on the grass: they’ll break down and add nutrients to the soil. Water every two to three days after aerating.
Likewise, if your thatch problem is severe , rent a vertical mower from a rental center. Alternatively, hire a lawn service to do the job of lawn aeration for you. For more on dethatching, please consult this information on raking leaves.
Don’t Miss: Killing Violets
Why Are Yearly Aeration And Overseeding Important
The idea behind lawn aeration and overseeding is tostrengthen your entire lawn. By filling in empty or bare spots with new grass,you do more than make your lawn look beautiful you actually increase itsresistance to pests. With a thick, lush and uniform bed of grass, its harderfor weeds to take hold, which makes taking care of grass easier, too.
Aeration breaks up compacted soil so water and otherlife-giving lawn nutrients can reach roots easily. This has a huge effect ongrass health and growth. In fact, even if your lawn is gorgeous and green allover, you should still aerate in the growing season to keep things that way.
How To Aerate Your Lawn Manually By Hand In 3 Best Ways
How to aerate your lawn manually by hand? Over time the turf on your lawn becomes compact and filled with thatch. In this time, the turf will need much water, oxygen, and nutrients but the supply is stopped from reaching the roots of your grass and plants. To keep your lawn healthy as before, you will need to take steps to ensure essential water, oxygen, and nutrients that the roots need. You can do this through a process called aeration.
Achieving a healthy lawn needs a good range of regular care. Common care exercises are watering, mowing, and fertilization. Aeration is one more thing you will need to take care of to get a truly healthy lawn.
On modern Earth, there are many machines and tools to aid you to aerate your lawn and improve the healthy growth of your grass. Despite the best technologies, you still need to know why and how to aerate effectively and even how to do it manually, especially if you are a small or medium-sized lawn owner.
Lets have a look below:
Don’t Miss: Violet Weed Killer
Equipment You Need To Aerate Your Lawn
Before you can aerate your lawn, you need to buy or rent an aerator. Aerators are specialized equipment, and there are three main types. Heres what you need to know:
Spike Aerators break up thatch and compacted soil by piercing holes in the ground. There are several types of spike aerators, including tools that look like pitchforks, spike rollers, and even spiked shoes that you strap to your feet and aerate as you walk on the lawn. Some people love spike aerators because they are simple and usually the cheapest type of aerating equipment. Others claim that they are the least effective and can make compaction worse by pressing the soil between each hole closer together. If you decide to go with this option, make sure you read reviews and understand how to use it properly.
Slicing aerators are the next best option. They use rotating blades to slice through thatch and soil to loosen it up and create space for water and air to flow. Like spike aerators, there are inexpensive options to choose from, but there is debate over their effectiveness.
Signs That Indicate You Need To Aerate Your Lawn
Thatch is comprised of shoots, stems, and roots. This built-up plant material, also referred to as organic debris, is beneficial to the overall health of the lawn, but too much of it can deter healthy lawn growth. A half inch or more of lawn thatch is considered too thick and should be removed since it can also promote insect manifestation and diseases. Furthermore, excess thatch can prevent you from mowing your grass properly because its spongy consistency causes the lawn mower wheels to sink down and scalp your lawn.
Overall, if your lawn does not appear to be growing as well as it should despite seemingly proper care, such as adequate watering, lawn aeration might be the missing key element.
Here are some other indicators that you should aerate.
Recommended Reading: Can You Spray Your Lawn For Ticks
Recommended Reading: How To Estimate Lawn Mowing Jobs
Do Aerator Shoes Really Work Or Are They A Gimmick
While they admittedly seem like a novel idea, aerator shoes cannot replace a real lawn aerator. The spike-soled shoes look like a fun enough fad, but they wont get the job done, and they are likely to bring about the opposite of the desired effect on your lawn.
The gist of it is that human feet are just too small. A shoe doesnt impact enough space on the ground to make a difference truly, and the spikes on the shoes can serve to compact your already suffering soil further.
Because the spikes on the soles of these seemingly ingenious shoes are solid instead of hollow, they more often push the soil sideways or downwards when theyre in the ground, which compacts the ground even more.
While theyre not great for large lawns, aerator shoes can be a nifty tool for smaller gardens in need of aeration. The one to one and a half-inch spikes of the shoes work well in small patches, though you must think about where youre walking when wearing them in your garden. These shoes could easily wreak havoc on a small yard if not used in an organised fashion.
When Should I Aerate My Lawn
When you aerate the lawn, many feeder roots are severed and the plants are weakened. Its best done as the grass heads into a strong, rapid growth phase. Aerating too early or late in the year, such as during winter dormancy or summer heat and drought, stresses the grass at a time when it needs to conserve its resources. Poor timing of aeration could open the lawn to weeds, insects, or disease.
The best time to aerate a lawn is at the beginning of its rapid growth phase. For warm season grasses like bermuda grass and zoysia grass, that means shortly after it turns fully green in late spring or early summer. Cool season grasses like tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass are best aerated in either early fall or early spring.
Read Also: How To Start Your Own Mowing Business
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.
Factors That Impact Aeration Frequency
Compacted soil, as its name suggests, occurs when soil particles are pressed or compacted firmly together.
Compacted soil occurs most often in heavily trafficked areas, like sports fields, playgrounds, new construction lawns. It also occurs when the soil contains a high amount of dense materials like clay, which is common in states like Texas and Louisiana.
The high density of compacted soil limits space for water, oxygen, and nutrients to reach the places they are needed, like grass roots. Compacted soil also makes it difficult for grass roots to expand since breaking through dense soil takes significantly more energy. Due to the unhealthy conditions created by compacted soil, more frequent aeration is necessary.
Over time, dead grass clippings, shoots, and stems accumulate on the top layer of the lawn, creating a barrier between the grass blades and soil. This barrier is called thatch. A small amount of thatch is beneficial because it adds nutrients back into the soil, but when it builds up faster than it decomposes, it creates a barrier and blocks water and air from passing through.
Compacted soil and excessive thatch result in malnourished and unhealthy lawns. Aerating solves for both of these issues by breaking through thatch and plugging holes in compacted soil opening up pathways that were previously closed off. Whenever excessive thatch and compacted soil are present, more frequent aeration is necessary.
You May Like: How To Clean Mold Off Plastic Outdoor Furniture
When Is The Best Time Of Year To Aerate
Timing is everything when it comes to aeration. If you get aeration-happy at the wrong time, you could end up severely harming your lawn instead of helping it grow. To time it properly, you need to consider both the season and the weather conditions.
Your season will be determined by the type of grass you have: you want to aerate at the beginning of the peak growing season. This will help your lawn quickly recover from the temporary damage aeration causes and promote maximum growth of the root system. If the grass is still completely brown, it is not the time to aerate! The grass should be greening first. For cool season turf like fescue, bluegrasses, and ryegrass, aerate in the fall. Much of the turf in Colorado Springs is cool season. For warm-season turf like Bermuda, Buffalo, and St. Augustine, the time to aerate is in late spring or early summer.
Weather conditions also must be right for aeration. Aeration does cause some root damage, so you need to avoid dry periods, heat waves, and cold snaps to avoid further stressing your lawn. While the soil should be moist, aeration also should not be done when it is overly soaked, or the soil will clump together and not be aerated properly.
Lawn Care : When To Aerate Your Lawn
Spring time! Flowers are growing – green time! It is almost officially spring according to the calendar, hopefully the warmer weather follows. When the weather breaks, it is time for some yard work to make our lawns beautiful for the year. You may be looking at your lawn knowing it needs to be aerated, but you keep putting the treatments off because it seems too hard. Aeration is a simple way to give your yard a healthy lawn. You just have take the time to get it done. You can do it yourself by renting the equipment or you can pick up the phone and hire a professional lawn care company to do all of the hard work. Lets make this the year to aerate. Make your lawn happy and healthy again by relieving compaction. Core aeration is a great way to keep your lawn green and lush, so lets talk about when to aerate your lawn this year.
Read Also: How Often Should Fertilize Your Lawn
Complete Lawn Aeration Equipment Guide
Whether you live in the scorching heat or the freezing cold, your lawn can become spotty and brown without the proper maintenance it requires. One method to help your grass grow stronger and healthier is aeration. Like any other plant, grass roots need oxygen. Over time, thanks to foot traffic, rain and snow, and gravity, the soil around the roots of grass can become compacted, limiting the amount of air reaching the roots. The result? A less than healthy-looking lawn, to say the least.
Should You Core Aerate Bermuda Grass
Most aerators come in either spike or core options. Core aeration is a technique that pulls inches-long cores out of the ground and leaves behind the cores to break down back into the soil.
While spike aeration can be good to aerate some lawns, Bermuda grass benefits most from core aeration since it breaks up and removes parts of the dense turf that quickly builds up.
Also Check: What Can I Spray On My Lawn To Kill Gnats
When Should You Aerate Your Lawn What You Need To Know
Is your grass thinning, off-color, or growing unevenly? Maybe you should try aeration. When the soil is tightly compacted, neither roots nor water can penetrate it, which leads to a variety of unsightly symptoms. Core aerating admittedly sounds a bit like a miracle cure, but it can do wonders for lawns that really need it.
When Should I Dethatch My Bermuda
Since Bermuda thatch is dense, raking might not be enough to break it up and collect it to uncover the ground. This is why core aeration is a great contribution to dethatching Bermuda grass, and it should be done in the early spring months when the grass is starting to grow.
Roots will extend to fill in the newly opened spaces before any weeds can establish themselves.
You May Like: How To Deter Rabbits From Lawn
How To Know If Your Soil Is Compacted
As long as you know what to look for, its relatively easy to detect when your soil is compacted. Here are the tell-tale signs:
- Bare spots and areas with patchy, unhealthy looking grass. When water and oxygen cant reach the roots, grass cant grow.
- Rock hard soil that you can barely penetrate with a pitchfork.
- Water running down from high areas is a sign that your lawn is not absorbing water.
- The Soil has a reddish tint. This is a sign of soil with high clay content, which tends to become compacted.
- Plants with stunted growth and trees with shallow roots.
- If your lawn doubles as a playground for kids or pets, theres a good chance the soil is compacted.
If your grass is thick, green, and healthy, and none of these signs are present, the soil is likely in good shape. If this is the case, stick to an annual aeration schedule until conditions change.
Why Aerating Helps Lawns
Grass roots need air, water and nutrients to grow thick, deep and strong. When soil becomes compacted, even slightly, it inhibit the flow of the essentials that support thicker, healthier turf growth. A layer of compacted soil just 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick can make a significant difference in the health and beauty of your lawn.1 Aeration creates holes down into the soil to alleviate compaction so air, water and nutrients can reach grass roots.
Deprived of their basic needs by compacted soil, lawn grasses struggle in stressful situations, such as heat and low rainfall, and lose their healthy, rich color. Grasses gradually thin and eventually die out completely, for lack of the oxygen, water and nutrients available just inches away. Even a single aeration session can open the avenue for these essentials to reach their mark and put your lawn back on an upward trend.
Core aerators pull small plugs of soil to the surface.
Also Check: Thistledown Herbicide