How Do I Know If My Lawn Needs To Be Aerated
Lawn aerating shouldnt be viewed as a routine maintenance activity. Aerating the lawn when it isnt necessary weakens the grass and could lead to pest or disease problems. Instead, watch for indications of compact soil such as worn areas, puddling, thin or dead patches, discolored grass, uneven growth, or thatch buildup. Any one of these symptoms could indicate the need to aerate.
If you think your yard needs to be aerated, perform a screwdriver test. Using any type of screwdriver with a six inch blade, attempt to push it into the soil. If you meet with some resistance, it could be time to aerate. If you cant push the blade into the soil all the way up to the handle, you should definitely aerate the lawn.
It would also be helpful to aerate before overseeding the lawn. Mow the grass low, then aerate the yard prior to applying lime, fertilizer, and seed. Doing so will help the grass seed stay put if it rains before germination. It also helps to promote healthy root development.
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.
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.
You May Like: Lawn Rolling Cost
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.
What Should You Do After Aerating Your Lawn
Whenever possible, combine lawn aeration with other lawn care maintenance, such as fertilizing, adding soil amendments or overseeding. Water, fertilizer and grass seed all need to get through the lawn surface and into the soil to do their job. Creating a path for them to get there can be accomplished by core aerating. An application of fertilizer immediately after core aeration will also help restore your lawn.
You May Like: How To Make Lines In Grass
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.
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.
Don’t Miss: How To Revive Brown Lawn
What Is Lawn Aeration Why When And How To Do It
Maintaining a beautiful lawn is not an easy task. That is of course if youre not employing essential lawn care practices such as well-timed mowing, watering and fertilizing. But those aside, its also extremely important to ensure that the soil beneath your grass gets lots of nutrients. And what better way to do that than by aerating your lawn!
Lawn aeration is crucial for a healthy lawn, as it allows air, water, and other nutrients to easily penetrate built-up grass and lawn thatch.
So if youre new to lawn aeration, this article is just the thing for you. Here you will find everything you need to know about lawn aeration along with some handy tips.
Get rid of thatch and make way for a beautiful lawn with this quick guide to aeration. Youll learn why, how, and when to aerate your lawn for the best results.
What Is Core Lawn Aeration
Core lawn aeration is one of the most important things you can do for your lawn. It is a vital component of any lawn care treatment, resulting in grass that is healthy, thick, and robust, even after the freezing temperatures and snow of winter.
Lawn aeration involves the removal of small cores of soil and thatch from the grass using an aerator. The cores will eventually decompose while their removal will open up your lawn, stimulating new turf growth and increasing the impact of fertilization.
Yard Dawgs is ready to help get your lawn restored to its best after the harshness of winter. Lawn aeration is most effective between the middle of April to the end of May, and at the beginning of September.
Prices listed above do not include GST and are priced for lawns up to 1000 square feet. Lawns that are larger are subject to additional charges.
Don’t Miss: Ant Killer For Yards
What Is The Best Time To Aerate Your Lawn
Just as the timing of when you plant new seed or water your lawn is important, the time of year you aerate your lawn is also important.
The best time to begin aeration is when the grass is able to grow and repair itself if any areas become open or destroyed when certain soil plugs are removed. This means you would want to aerate in the growing season .
Cool season grass grows in the early spring and fall, while warm season grass grows in the late spring or early summer. Therefore, these are the best times to aerate for each type of grass.
If you work on your lawn during the wrong season, not only will you limit the benefit of the work you do, but you risk causing more problems that you had when you began.
Improving your lawn requires patience and planning.
Aeration: Why How & When To Aerate Your Lawn
In order to achieve and maintain a beautiful lawn, you should employ basic lawn care practices such as properly mowing, fertilizing and watering. It is also important to ensure that nutrients can reach the soil beneath your grass. Aeration can be an extremely vital element to a healthy lawn because it allows air and water to penetrate built-up grass or lawn thatch.
Get rid of thatch and make way for a beautiful lawn with this quick guide to aeration. Youll learn why, how and when to aerate your lawn for the best results.
You May Like: Getting Rid Of Lawn Rust
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:
Benefits Of Core Aeration In The Fall
1. Relieves soil compaction. Compacted soil can prevent air, water and fertilizer from reaching your lawns root system, causing dead spots, patches and/or thinning. By removing cores in the aeration process, soil density is decreased, thus relieving compaction.
2. Aids in thatch management. Thatch, the layer of dead grass that accumulates on your lawn can build up to a thick layer, robbing your grass of necessary rain and nutrients which can be detrimental to your lawn if left untreated. Core aeration helps manage that build-up by introducing thatch-decomposing microorganisms from the soil to the top of the thatch layer.
3. Increases nutrient availability. Aeration allows air, water and nutrients to penetrate the soil. When nutrients penetrate deeper into the root zone, they become available to the turf. This improves the effectiveness of your TruGreen fertilization and ongoing watering to promote a healthy turf.
4. Benefits pH modification. Applying lime or sulphur after core aeration promotes the change of pH deeper into the soil profile.
6. Reduced water runoff and puddling. If you find your yard has runoff or puddling problems after a rain, aeration could be the fix you need.
Don’t Miss: Best Time To Aerate Lawn In Ct
Best Times To Aerate Your Lawn
The ideal time to aerate your lawn is during weather periods that will support its recovery. The optimal times for this to happen are during growing seasons, and this is dependent upon the type of grass. Cool-season grass tends to thrive during the cooler temperatures of the spring and fall, whereas warm-season grass usually thrives during the early summer months.
Lawn aeration is best performed at these times because weather during these periods helps to control lawn thatch. It is not necessary to aerate every year if your lawn is healthy and growing well or if you have sandy soil because it does not compact easily. In these cases, aerating every 2-3 years will suffice. When this process is performed more than necessary, it can damage your grass and the subtle balance between growth and dormancy. On the other hand, it is best to aerate every year if you have a heavy traffic lawn or clay soil, which is wet, sticky, and compacts easily. Additionally, lawn aeration is recommended twice a year if you live in harsh climates and/or experience particularly cold, dry winters.
Breaks Up Thatch In Lawn
Aeration also helps to break up thatch, which is a naturally-occurring, dead organic material that may be building where grass blades emerge at the soil line. This is important as thatch build-up can be another reason why oxygen, water, and nutrients are not penetrating the soil. Thatch can also make your lawn more susceptible to pests and disease.
Read Also: Murray Push Mower Replacement Parts
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.
How To Know If Your Lawn Has Too Much Thatch
The best way to determine if your lawn has too much thatch is to walk on it and feel it with your bare feet. Lawns with too much thatch feel spongy and bouncy. Healthy lawns are soft but firm.
Feel the grass with your hand and fingers too. Your finger shouldnt be able to press more than a half-inch into the thatch. If youre still not sure, dig up a small chunk of turf and look at it from the side. If the layer of thatch is thicker than a half-inch, your lawn has too much.
If thatch is accompanied by compacted soil, the best solution is aeration. If thatch is the sole problem, you can dethatch your lawn by raking it manually or renting a power dethatcher from a home improvement store like Home Depot.
You May Like: Ant Killer For Grass
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.
Reasons Why You Should Aerate Your Lawn
If you are an average American, your lawn is the highest use area especially if you have kids and pets. As you are using your lawn continuously, it is a must that your grass can get compacted easily. Aeration is a process to make holes in the lawn, mostly 3 inches deep.
- Lawn aeration is the best way to make your lawn healthy and greener. Aeration helps turfgrass roots healthy and grow. The truth is lawns with long healthy root below are beautiful, green amazing above.
- Lawn aeration relieves soil compaction which can literally squeeze the life and breath out of your lawn.
- Lawn aeration helps to remove the compaction layer. Compaction layer is as thin as 1/4 of an inch that can block the flow and nutrients and restrict the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen.
- Aeration loosens compacted soil, penetrates patch and open entryways to root zone for water and nutrients to flow.
- And most importantly, aeration helps to enable carbon dioxide to escape from the soil and oxygen to enter allowing plants to breathe.
Recommended Reading: Treating Yard For Ants
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.
How Do I Ensure The Best Results
The best results for lawn aeration are achieved through proper pre-service preparation and post-service care.
For pre-service preparation, you should:
- Consider marking underground sprinkler heads or invisible fences with flags or stakes
- Remove personal property & debris such as leaves from the lawn
- Mow and lightly water your lawn 24 hours before your specialist is scheduled to perform your service
For post-service care, you should:
- Regularly water your lawn instead of relying on rainfall
- Limit traffic on your lawn to allow new seeds to germinate
- Mow as usual until germination begins, then wait 10 days for seeds to establish before you resume mowing
Recommended Reading: Get Rid Of Wild Violets