We walk on it, plant in it, water it and rake it. We play on it, drive on it, and let’s not even get into what Rover’s been doing to it! From the earliest days of agriculture, our ancestors knew, and we know it too- our lawns take a pretty good beating! And when it’s all said and done… even the ground beneath our feet deserves a break! It’s time to give your lawn a “breather!” So, let’s talk about Lawn Aeration.
WHAT IS AERATING?
Aerating is the process of ventilating the soil, and generally it’s done one of two ways; by hand or through the use of an aerating attachment designed specifically for that purpose.
Hand aerating can be a time consuming process, requiring individual holes to be created throughout the entire lawn area. Often this is accomplished through the use of a narrow pipe or rod which is inserted 3-4 inches into the soil then removed, preferably removing a thin “plug” from the soil. Spike aeration is acceptable, however not nearly as effective as removing the soil “plugs” because soil compaction can easily close the holes up.
Whenever possible, you may wish to use an aerator device. While there are actual engine powered aerators out there, many are simply devices attached to a lawn tractor. The aerator tines are held down and driven into the soil through gravity, and using this method will save a great deal of time & effort, will provide a uniform depth, and the ability to cover more ground quickly.
WHY SHOULD I AERATE MY LAWN?
The benefits of aerating your lawn are almost too many to mention. Here are just a few:
• Aeration holes help your soil to absorb more water. It reduces run-off thus reducing your dependency on water, and dropping that water bill down…down…down.
• It encourages your roots to grow deeper, reduces compaction and adds a layer of “top dressing” to your lawn resulting in a thicker turf.
• Aerating reduces over seeding, increases lawn durability and allows air direct access to the plant.
• Aeration helps reduce thatch, and allows aerobic bacteria to break down existing thatch.
• Aeration facilitates fertilizer interaction with the root system resulting in a more attractive lawn in record time.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I AERATE?
When you should aerate is often determined by climate and the type of soil in your lawn. Many experts agree that for general maintenance on loose soil terrain, it’s best to schedule aeration near the middle of spring or late fall.
However, aerating hard pack or clay rich soil is best done in the spring. Aeration should be thorough, with several passes made over the
– Bill Brown