Improved Soil Water Absorption
As mentioned earlier, aeration leads to better nutrients distribution in the soil which would result in better metabolism of the soil. Indeed, an inseparable part of the metabolism process is water. It is however important to water the lawn not more than the amount the soil can actually absorb. Have you ever wondered why your lawn is not thick and green when late July or early August arrive, even though you have been watering your grass regularly? Well now you know why.
How To Aerate Your Yard
If you’re convinced that your lawn is in need of aeration, here are some lawn care tips on how to do it:
- Before you get started, make sure the soil is moist enough. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to aerate soil that is bone dry. Aerating the day after a rain shower or watering your lawn the day before is advised.
- Most aeration machines cover only a small percentage of soil surface per pass, so make multiple passes over the most compacted areas. Save resources by leaving unaffected areas alone
- The excavated soil plugs should be allowed to dry and then broken up to give your lawn a uniform, clean appearance. Break them up by running them over with a lawn mower or pounding them with the back of a rake.
- An aeration myth is that if you apply a pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn in the spring, aerating your lawn will destroy the herbicide “barrier.” This is not true research shows that aeration will not affect crabgrass control or weed prevention.
- After aerating, it’s important to continue basic lawn care practices such as proper fertilizing, mowing and watering.
Aeration is a beneficial practice toward achieving a beautiful lawn, but most people don’t realize it or understand the process. If your lawn is a candidate, make it an integral part of your lawn care regime. Your lawn will thank you for letting it breathe again.
How To Dethatch Your Lawn
Dethatching is the easy option because it is accomplished simply by using a rake. Push the rake tines deeply down through the grass, so that they reach the thatch layer that lies beneath. If you have a cool-season grass, you can be dethatching your lawn at the same time as you rake it for other reasons. Here is why:
Cool-season grasses are coming into their prime time for growth in early spring and in early fall. Dethatching them at these times is ideal because they will recover more quickly at these times from the stress of being dethatched. These times just happen to coincide when you will be raking to clean up the lawn in early spring and raking leaves off the lawn in the fall.
It does not work out quite so conveniently for homeowners with warm-season grasses. Dethatch lawns composed of warm-season grasses in late spring, which is just when they are “coming into their own” and will recuperate fastest from undergoing dethatching.
A convex or “dethatching” rake is better than a regular leaf rake for dethatching a lawn. And a so-called “power rake,” which can be rented from a rental center, is the best rake of all. But do not stress over the type of rake you use. Any deep raking that you do is better than nothing, especially if you faithfully rake every year.
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Additional Signs You Need Aeration
- Your lawn regularly receives heavy use.
- The thatch on your lawn is greater than one-half inch.
- You have dense clay soil.
If your lawn is not prone to soil compaction, then it will likely grow normally without the need for aeration.
Natural factors such as earthworm activity and winter freeze-thaw cycles often loosen compacted soil. Do not aerate your lawn during the first year your lawn is newly seeded or sodded.
Prepare Your Lawn For Aeration
Water the lawn thoroughly one to two days prior to when you plan to aerate your lawn. Apply at least 1 of water to the grass this can be measured by placing a shallow bowl or glass jar in the middle of the watering zone. When 1 of water has fill the container you know the grass has been sufficiently watered. Watering the lawn will help the aerator machine penetrate the soil and pull out soil cores much more easily than if the soil were dry . Be sure to first flag irrigation heads and other hidden objects in the lawn so that you will avoid them when operating the aerator over this area. If you do not have an irrigation system, use a garden hose and sprinkler to water the lawn .
Note: Depending on your climate, the best time of the year to aerate cool-season grass, such as fescue, bluegrass or rye, is in August through October when the grass is breaking its dormancy and begins the period of active growth the best time to aerate warm-season grass, such as Bermuda, Zoysia or St. Augustine, is April through June. Core aeration and overseeding are sometimes done together, and the latter is more effective in the North in fall than in spring .
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What Is Lawn Aeration And Why Is It Important
Maintaining a healthy and bright lawn can take significant time and effort. Aside from the regular lawn mowing, fertilizing, and watering, you also need to consider lawn aeration. Not sure what lawn aeration is or why you would ever need to aerate your yard? Dont Worry.
Were going to discuss all things related to lawn aeration. Well cover everything from what is lawn aeration, when to aerate my lawn, how to lawn aerate, to what tools you should use for your DIY lawn aeration.
Cool Season Grass: Bluegrass Fescue Ryegrass
Aerate cool-season grasses in the fall just before the peak growing season. Also, many homeowners combine aerating with fertilization and overseeding of cool weather grasses.
Late season fertilization is more effective after aeration as the lawn’s root system is likely to absorb more nutrients.
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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.
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.
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Pros Of Liquid Aeration
No need to buy or rent equipment. An aerator that pulls plugs of soil out of your lawn, the easiest and most effective option, starts at around $200. A machine that simply pokes holes in your lawn starts at $100. You can also buy aerator attachments for your riding lawn mower for $80+. Of course, each of these takes up precious space in your garage or shed.
You can also go the manual route. Aeration shoes with spikes go for $20+, push aerators for $50+ and a pronged aeration tool you drive into the ground for $30+. You can also rent an aerator. Just know it can be inconvenient because of its size and weight. Plus, HomeAdvisor reports that it costs an average of $64 to rent an aerator machine for four hours.
Liquid aeration requires none of the above. Thats a plus.
Less physically taxing. Core aerators tend to be big and heavy while liquid aeration can be done with just the solution and a hose-end sprayer.
No unsightly plugs left in your lawn. Liquid aeration maintains the aesthetics of your lawn.
Can help condition your soil. Some liquid aeration solutions contain beneficial iron, amino acids and more that benefit your lawn.
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.
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Liquid Aeration Is A Convenient And Effective Alternative To Traditional Core Aeration
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Traditional aeration involves loosening the soil to allow water, nutrients, air and fertilizer to penetrate deeper. That reduces soil compaction, improves air-to-soil interaction and breaks down excessive thatch. Traditional aeration uses a machine to pull up small plugs of soil from your lawn.
In recent years, a new lawn aeration method called liquid aeration began gaining traction.
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.
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What Is Lawn Aeration When And How To Do It
If you are a novice or seasoned gardener, or simply a homeowner who has an interest in understanding and knowing more about landscaping, you may have heard of lawn aeration even if you have little idea of what it is.
In this article, we will provide an in-depth explanation of what lawn aeration is, why & when you should do it, and provide tips that will help you with the actual process.
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.
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Core Aeration: What It Is And Why Do It
Lawns require a lot of care. The tasks that come to mind are mowing, fertilizing, and clearing them of leaves and debris. But you can’t forget aeration. Aeration is an essential aspect of lawn care.
Core aeration is a type of lawn aeration whereby a machine with hollow tines mechanically removes plugs or “cores” of soil and thatch from a lawn. Core aeration reduces soil compaction, creating a channel through which oxygen, water, and nutrients can penetrate the soil.
Why Core Aeration Is Important
Picture the soil under a healthy lawn. It’s a soil studded with networks of air pockets. Oxygen travels through these pockets, and that’s important: Just because grassroots are underground, that doesn’t mean they don’t have to breathe! But it’s more than just oxygen that must percolate down through the ground, as your grassroots also need water and whatever nutrients homeowners are supplying when fertilizing lawns. There’s a veritable beehive of activity going on down there under a healthy lawn.
Now consider the soil under the grass that is performing poorly. Instead of being fluffy enough for oxygen, water and nutrients to flow through it , it is compacted. It may also be crowned with a thick layer of thatch, rendering it even more impervious. This lawn is crying out for core aeration.
Core aeration creates those pockets of air that allow oxygen, water, and nutrients to move through the ground.
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What Is Lawn Aeration
Providing much-needed lawn aeration for your grass entails dealing with thatchwhich, along with compacted soil , lies at the heart of the matter.
Thatch is the loose, organic layer of dead and living material in the lawn: shoots, stems, and roots that develop between the zone of green vegetation and the soil surface. Thatch build-up begins when turf produces organic debris faster than it can be broken down. Not all thatch is bad. A thin layer of thatch in lawns provides insulation against extreme temperatures and fluctuations in soil moisture. More than an inch of thatch, though, can cause problems. Too much thatch can hold excess water, leading to reduced oxygen that reaches turf roots. It can also increase pest problems by harboring disease-causing organisms and insects.
The build-up of lawn thatch makes it difficult for your lawn to breathe. Lawn aeration performed in spring or fall helps control lawn thatch. The process of lawn aeration can be as simple as poking holes in the soil here and there , but this would work only for superficial cases. For those in greater need of lawn aeration, this haphazard approach will not be sufficient: you will need to perform core aeration. You should also faithfully remove as much lawn thatch as you can in fall by raking deeply, rather than just skimming the autumn leaves off the top of the lawn.
How Much Should Lawn Aeration Cost
The exact cost of your lawn aeration will depend upon the size of your lawn. Professional lawn care companies will usually charge a fixed price per thousand square feet, so the bigger your lawn is, the more your lawn aeration will cost.
Most lawn care companies will charge in the vicinity of $15-$17 per square thousand feet to aerate your lawn. So, if your lawn is ten thousand square feet, you could be looking at anywhere between $150 and $170 to have your lawn aerated.
If you wish the lawn care company to perform other lawn maintenance tasks such as seeding or fertilizing after they have performed the aeration, you can expect this cost to increase accordingly.
As lawn aeration is a task that is performed, at most, once per year, this initial outlay averages out to be a cost of just a little more than $10 a month. For a task that improves the health and vitality of your lawn, it seems a small price to pay!
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