Why Do You Need To Aerate Your Lawn
Although there are still many things to be learned about lawn aeration, theres one thing most experts agree on and that is that opening up the turfs surface is beneficial for it. Air and water are essential for the soil ecosystem and the soil microorganisms in it which help naturally break down thatch thus improving the lawn.
Good drainage conditions and adequate topsoil air intake are very important for the proper growth of grassroots as they help them breathe and grow. By aerating the soil, youre permitting air to enter into the soil, which leads to gaseous exchange. Meaning that the grassroots suck in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.
Having too much carbon dioxide in the soil is not good as it can limit or completely prohibit its water and nutrients intake.
However, by thoroughly aerating an area where browning has occurred, you can restore to roots ability to intake moisture again. And if done right your grass colour will return to its regular green in just around a week.
On the other hand, if the lawn is not aerated during the cold rainy seasons such as autumn and winter completely different problems can occur. For example, your soil might experience surface sealing because of the compacting effect of walking around and using garden maintenance machines that are on the heavier side.
Dont Miss: How To Estimate Lawn Mowing Jobs
What To Do After Aerating A Lawn In Fall
Aeration in the early fall is the best option if you want to overseed your lawn and have that seed sprout and establish itself in the same year. This can be done in warm and cold climates, provided it is early fall. In late fall, you can still aerate but you should wait to overseed until temperatures are regularly below 35F to prevent the seeds from germinating.
About Tom Greene
I’ve always had a keen interest in lawn care as long as I can remember. Friends used to call me the “lawn mower guru” , but I’m anything but. I just enjoy cutting my lawn and spending time outdoors. I also love the well-deserved doughnuts and coffee afterward!
How Do You Know If Your Lawn Needs Aeration
There are a couple of tried and tested methods you can use for understanding when you need to aerate your lawn.
First, check your lawn after any rainfall. Does the water drain away easily or are you left with any puddles? If you have any particularly damp or flooded areas its time for aeration.
Try the screwdriver test. Stick a screwdriver or pencil randomly into your lawn. If it enters the soil with ease youre good to go. If you meet with any resistance its time for aeration.
Check to see if you have any thatch on your lawn surface. As well as being unsightly, thatch build-up is a potential hive for weeds and unwanted garden visitors that could destroy your lawn grass.
If you have a lot of such debris on your lawn youve guessed it its time for aeration.
Which leads me nicely onto the next question.
Also Check: Where To Find Patio Furniture
Giving Your Turf A Hole New Life
It is recommended that homeowners aerate their lawn once every single year, whether that be in the spring or the fall, depending on your location. Why? Because aeration is one of the best things you can do for your lawn!
Core aeration is the removal of small cores of soil and thatch from your lawn with specially designed equipment. A series of hollow coring tines are rolled over the lawn, puncturing its surface and systematically removing small plugs of soil and thatch from the lawn. The removal of these plugs allows air, water and nutrients to reach the root system of grass plants much more effectively. In turn, both fertilizer and water use become more efficient. This contributes to a healthier, deeper root system that enables the grass plants to better overcome stress caused by insects and disease.
Plugs should be left on the lawn following aeration, as they contain soil microorganisms that will help break down thatch. These plugs disappear in a short period of time when left on the surface of the lawn.
You may be wondering: why should I aerate my lawn? Weed Man has got you covered with all the information that you need!
Benefits Of Aerating Your Lawn
There are several benefits of lawn aeration. Lawns with a thick build up of thatch that is more than an inch deep can suffer from disease and insect problems. This deep layer of old material harbors pests and disease pathogens, such as fungal spores. The thatch also minimizes the amount of nutrients and moisture that the roots need to grow.
The benefits of aerating your lawn also include stimulating root growth by providing a more porous and easy to navigate soil texture. Lawn aerating is not always necessary annually on low thatch varieties of grass, but it cannot really hurt to increase the movement of water to the roots.
Lawn aerating is also important for earthworm activities, as it loosens the soil so they can perform their important composting activities.
Also Check: How To Level Out A Brick Patio
Does Aeration Kill Weeds On A Lawn
This is a common question and the answer can be a little deceiving. You see, lawn aeration itself does not kill weeds but it does encourage deeper root growth of grass. By creating an environment where the grass can thrive, it allows it to grow thicker and more effectively choke out weeds.
So its a little shady to say that aerating your lawn will kill weeds. But you can certainly grow a thicker, healthier grass turf which will discourage weeds from proliferating throughout your yard.
Why Should You Aerate Your Lawn
It is important to aerate your lawn because it helps to alleviate soil compaction. When the soils are compacted, they have a dense particle population, and this prevents the air, nutrients, and water in the soil from properly circulating. Excess lawn thatch, which is a layer of living and dead turfgrass tissue that has amassed on a lawn surrounding the base of the grass, can also starve the roots from the vital elements.
Also Check: Diy Retractable Awning For Pergola
Is Lawn Aeration Worth It
Lawn aeration is beneficial to almost any soil but it offers the most benefit for soils that are heavily compacted. Clay soil, for example, has very small pores and does not allow air exchange.
It also restricts the growth of roots and encourages microbacterial activity that is present in healthy soils .
If grassroots cannot grow deep, the turf will be less hearty. This can result in grass that is highly susceptible to drought.
If you have Centipede or St. Augustine grass, we have more info on drought tolerance here:
The point is this: lawn aeration is intended to break up the compaction of soil, allowing for deeper root growth, healthier grass, and better water absorption.
Remember, healthy soil means a healthy, thriving lawn.
When my wife and I built our house, I was faced with growing grass on some of the most challenging red clay soil that youve ever seen.
I had a local dirt company prep the ground with what we call topsoil around here but its not a nutrient-rich material. Its just dirt and thats better than seeding straight into the clay.
I sodded close to the house but with over two acres there was no way I was going to be able to do the whole yard. And so, I seeded. Thats my shop in the background and the yard in front of it was one of the areas that I seeded.
And so, I seeded, watered, fertilized, and did everything I was supposed to. But because Im always testing I chose to divide this particular area for a comparison between aerating and not.
How Do I Know If I Need To Aerate My Lawn
10 Signs Its Time To Aerate & Seed Your Lawn Its Fall or Spring. The fall is the perfect season to aerate and seed your lawn. Puddles. Puddles are an indication of compacted soil. Worn Areas. Patches in the yard? Inability to Moisten. Thinning Grass. Discolored Areas. Uniformly Thin and Dull. Yard Stopped Growing.
You May Like: How To Seal Brick Paver Patio
Lawn Aeration : Michigan And Cold Climates
Theres nothing better than a lush green lawn that lets you spend time with your family in the backyard, laughing and having fun. But, to keep grass healthy, techniques such as aeration are important.
This leads us to the questions, what is aeration, and when is the best time to aerate your lawn?
Simply put, lawn aeration allows your grass to breathe.
Throughout the winter, dead grass sits for months at a time. This layer of built-up components of dead grass, including stems and roots, is called thatch.
Once it builds up to more than half an inch thick, thatch can become a detriment to your lawn. Along with compacted soil, thatch created a thick layer that prevents the roots of your lawn from absorbing water and nutrients properly.
The process of lawn aeration is done by first removing the thatch layer, often with a rake. From there, tiny holes are made in the lawn, allowing water and nutrients to reach the roots more easily.
Depending on how dense and compact the soil is, aeration be done with either a simple rake for smaller yards or a core aerator for larger, more intensive projects.
A core aerator gets deeper into the ground than a rake. It has hollow tines that mechanically remove plugs or cores of soil and thatch from a lawn. You may be familiar with this, as it leaves behind little pellets of thatch and dirt on the surface of your 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.
Also Check: How Much Is A Patio
Do I Need To Aerate My Lawn
Aeration is one of the best ways to make your lawn thicker and improve the effectiveness of normal irrigation, fertilizers and pest control programs. Take this quiz to find out if your yard could benefit from lawn aeration.
Aeration will help more fertilizer reach your turfs roots, enhance the breakdown of thatch and it can also help you use water more efficiently.
Lawn aeration, often called core aeration, removes small plugs of turf, thatch and soil from your lawn.
So, is aeration the right treatment for your lawn this season?
Aerating Tools: Plug Aerator Vs Spike Aerator
Two main aerating tools exist a spike aerator and a plug aerator. With a spike aerator, you simply use the tool to poke holes into the ground with a solid tine, or fork. Plug aerators remove a core or plug of grass and soil from the lawn. For the best results, use an aerating tool or machine that actually removes plugs of soil. Poking holes is less effective and can actually cause additional compaction in the areas around the holes.
Look for an aerating tool or machine that removes soil plugs approximately 2 3 inches deep and 0.5 0.75 inches in diameter, and about 2 3 inches apart. These machines can be rented from lawn and garden stores or home improvement centers. Always follow the directions provided by the store. You may want to consider sharing the rental cost with a neighbor who is interested in aerating the lawn.
Read Also: What Is The Best All Weather Patio Furniture
What Do You Do After You Aerate Your Lawn
Its important you capitalize on the conditions immediately after you have aerated your lawn this is the moment seeding and fertilizing is key.
First, youll want to leave the clods of soil on the surface. You might be tempted to remove them, but youll only be removing good soil. Let them disintegrate and work their way back into the surface.
Add nutrients to your lawn by using a good fertilizer immediately after aeration. A good weed killer also is recommended if you dont intend to practise overseeding.
However, now is a good time to do just that as the soil will be more exposed and you have an excellent chance of quality germination. Remember that overseeding is best done in late September.
Finally, give your lawn a good amount of water after aeration unless you have the weather to do it for you.
You May Like: When To Put Weed Killer On Lawn
When To Aerate The Lawn
You might have noticed that all lawn care practices follow a fixed schedule. You add fertilizer to the soil before spring or winterize it before winter. Similarly, you need to aerate your lawn at a specific time as well. If you perform this procedure at the wrong time, you will damage the grass and that will lead to ugly brown patches in your lawn. Heres how you determine when you should aerate the lawn:
- Warm-Season Grass Warm-season grass experiences active growth during the summer months. You can aerate your lawn during late spring or early summer as the upcoming growth period will quickly fill the holes created by the process. If you follow this schedule, there will be no damage to the grass and the lawn. The new growth will be strong and your lawn will look healthy and green during the summer. Examples of warm-season grass are Bahia, Bermuda, Buffalo, Centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia grass.
- Cool-Season Grass Cool-season grass thrives during thecooler temperatures of fall. This variety of grass takes advantage of the slow weed growth during this season. You should aerate lawns with this type of grass four weeks before the frost sets in. This allows the new grass to grow and thrive before the winter. You should aerate lawns with Creeping bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, Fescue, Rough bluegrass, and Ryegrass during fall.
Recommended Reading: How To Restore Aluminum Patio Furniture
How To Properly Aerate Your Lawn:
To aerate your lawn, first determine what equipment you require. If youre working in a small area, or the problem isnt too significant, you can get a good rake from the local hardware store to remove thatch and then begin spiking. Conduct spiking by plunging the teeth of the rake into moist, but not wet, soil every few inches to create holes in the lawn. This will expose the grasses root systems to air, water, and nutrients.
A more extensive project may require different equipment. Luckily, finding a power or manual lawn aerator is a simple task that you can likely complete at your local hardware store. Much like with spiking, you will want to use a rake first to remove thatch. Remember to rake deeply! Youre doing more than just skimming for autumn leaves. After youve removed the thatch, use your new power or manual lawn aerator to plunge holes into moist, but not wet, soil every couple of inches, revealing the lawns root system to much-needed nutrients and air.
No matter what method you used to aerate your lawn, you should finish by watering it and applying fertilizer for strong new blade and root growth.
How Often Should I Aerate The Lawn
If you aerate the lawn too often, you will damage the grass and the delicate balance of dormancy and growth. If you dont aerate the lawn often enough, your grass will suffocate and the soil wont support growth. A professional landscaper will take several aspects into consideration before they plan an aeration schedule for the lawn. As mentioned before, they consider the type of grass on your lawn. They also consider the type of soil because different kinds of soil react differently to weather conditions.
- Clay Soil Clay soil is sticky and wet. It can compact easily and become very hard when it dries down. This soil should be aerated once a year at the very least. You can aerate is more often if you notice the soil becoming hard and compacted a few months after the previous aeration.
- Sandy Soil Sandy and granular soil isnt sticky and doesnt retain water as easily as clay soil does. This type of soil wont compact easily so you can aerate it once a year or in alternating years. You still have to aerate it because eventually the pressure and gravity causes compaction in sandy soil as well.
You might also need to aerate the lawn more often if you live in acrid climates or experience extremely cold winters. Experts usually recommend aeration twice a year in such conditions.
You May Like: Can You Install Pavers Over Concrete Patio
When Is The Best Time To Aerate A Lawn
There are two ideal times for lawn aeration in the UK, one is in spring and the other is in autumn. These are the seasons when the soil is usually naturally moist and is suitable for holes to be poked into it easily.
Most people prefer to aerate their lawn in spring as it coincides with the growing season of the grass. This way the grass has the opportunity to heal properly. However, since the weather in the UK can vary greatly and aeration depends a lot on weather conditions, its important to tread lightly. As if, for example, the soil is too wet, the holes you make will not let any air or water reach the roots as the holes sides will seal up quickly.
So lets move to a schedule which best represents when and how much you should aerate. Also bear in mind that lawn aeration frequency all depends on the lawn you have.