One frequently overlooked task involved in having a healthy lawn is aeration – a method of “airing out” the lawn while providing other important benefits.
Many homeowners do not realize how essential good aeration is to their lawn and that it is really not hard to do. With the help of a reputable lawn care service, any homeowner can aerate their lawn and reap the benefits with thicker, stronger grass.
Benefits of Seasonal Aeration
Following are some of the reasons why lawn care professionals suggest seasonal aeration for the best lawn results:
Provides Oxygen – Plant roots need oxygen to yield a healthy plant. Lawn soil is often packed very hard and constricted from being foot traffic or heavy soil consistency, among others. These conditions make absorption of oxygen more difficult, preventing lawns from reaching optimal condition. Aeration can turn around a suffocating lawn simply by allowing it to breathe.
Promotes Absorption – Besides providing more oxygen to the roots, aeration enables lawns to soak up more water and nutrients from fertilizers and mulched clippings. Water, fertilizer, and vegetation enter the small holes and are readily converted into food for the soil, rather than being wasted on the surface.
Enables Growth – In addition to the above, aeration helps to remove dead thatch and loosens soil, creating more space for new grass growth. Holes in the soil not only soak up more water and nutrients, they also provide much-needed room for healthy roots to spread and sprout more shoots. This is one of the best ways to aid a thinning lawn and crowd out weeds, with strong roots that will not yield to them.
Is Aeration Necessary?
While not every yard needs aeration, lawn care professionals find that most lawns benefit from this. Any of the following signs are indicators that soil is hard, compacted, and in need of aeration to gain the benefits mentioned above:
- Water runs off, pools, or takes a long time to soak in.
- More than a half-inch of thatch on the lawn.
- Thin spots that do not grow well.
- Browning during very hot spells.
- The lawn is frequently walked or driven on.
- Difficulty pushing a pencil or a shovel blade into the soil.
All of these symptoms indicate that the soil (whether due to composition or other external factors) is compressed and very hard and not ideal for growing strong, drought and disease-resistant grass. Through aeration, all of this can be quickly corrected.
How and When to Aerate Lawns?
Most lawn care services suggest the best time to aerate soil is when grass is actively growing. This allows new grass to sprout quickly, before aeration holes are plugged with organic material such as clippings or before weeds grow. Checking the grass species helps as well. Cool weather grass can be aerated in late summer or early fall, while warm weather types do best when aerated in the early spring.
Aeration itself is very easy. Homeowners can purchase or rent aerators and treat their whole yard in the same amount of time that it takes to mow. Aerating machines are basically rollers with two-inch tines that push into the soil. Some tines are solid, while others are hollow. Hollow tines that pull up a plug of soil are recommended, as they are more beneficial. Homeowners with tiny lawns can even buy step-on, hollow-tine aerators for small areas. Lawns should be deeply watered the day before for softer soil and aerated in at least two directions.
oil aeration is a simple, yet very important part of good lawn care, something that every homeowner should consider. Although it is a fairly easy task, for those who do not have the time or desire to do it themselves, most lawn care companies offer aeration as a regular service!