Aerating your Lawn

Lawn aeration comes in many different forms and can help keep your lawn happy and healthy. It can improve your soil, reduce water use and help break down the organic materials which can prevent moisture and other nutrients from entering you soil. Read on to discover all the ways lawn aeration can benefit your turf as well as how it’s done.

Lawn Aeration Benefits

There are many benefits lawn aeration. Below you’ll find of the best reasons to aerate your lawn.

  • Saves Water – When you aerate your lawn water is better able to permeate the soil. This is especially true if you have a buildup of thatch. This will help you save up to 50% on water.
  • Reduces Runoff – More of the rain that falls onto your lawn will be absorbed. This will help reduce runoff and puddles.
  • Improves Grass Rooting – Roots need plenty of oxygen to prosper. Aeration helps provide roots with more oxygen and nutrients to help them grow bigger and faster.
  • Improves Tolerance – When your lawn is properly aerated it will help to improve tolerance to stress such as heat and drought. This helps keep your lawn green and healthy even during the hot summer months.
  • Reduces Compaction – Over time soil becomes compacted. Compaction reduces your lawns ability to root and absorb nutrients. Loosening up your soil is a great way to improve your lawn’s overall health.
  • Breaks Down Thatch – Thatch is the layer of organic material just above your soil. Thatch can suffocate your lawn when it becomes thick. Aeration allows the growth of microbes which will break down the thatch naturally which allows your lawn to prosper.

Lawn Aeration Tools

There are many different tools you can use to aerate your lawn ranging from simple manual tools to professional grade power tools. Which tool you use will depend largely on how big your lawn is, how much you are willing to spend and how much work you want to put in. Below you’ll find some of the most common tools used for lawn aeration.

  • Core Aerators – These are sometimes known as lawn plug aerators or hollow tine lawn aerators. They use a hollow tube to cut a cylindrical plug of soil and thatch from your lawn. After the plug is cut it is discarded onto your lawn where it should stay until it breaks down naturally.
  • Lawn Aerator Shoes – You can wear special shoes or get attachments for your regular shoes to help aerate your lawn as well. If you use a push mower to cut your grass you can use your aeration shoes and cover your entire yard.
  • Spiked Wheels – You can also find manual lawn aerator tools such as spiked wheels that you can roll across your lawn. Using manual tools isn’t quite as effective as using a power tool like a core aerator, however they still provide some benefit to your lawn.
  • Tire Spikes – If you have a riding lawn mower you can strap a row of spikes to the tires to help aerate your lawn when you mow. This is probably one of the easiest and inexpensive ways you can aerate your lawn.
  • Pitchfork – If you’re looking for a great workout you can just pick up a pitchfork and get poking. This might not be the most effective method but it may work well for you if it’s all you’ve got and don’t mind using some elbow grease.

 

When to Aerate Lawn

The most common questions regarding lawn aeration is always “when should I aerate my lawn?” This depends a lot on what type of lawn you have. The best time to aerate a cool season lawn is at the end of summer or early fall. The best time to aerate a warm season lawn is late spring or early summer. As a general rule of thumb if you live in an area where the ground freezes you probably have a cool season lawn.

How to Aerate Your Lawn

Lawn aeration doesn’t have to be an exact science. In general the more you aerate the better as long as you avoid destroying your lawn completely.

  • How Often – This largely depends on your type of soil. Lawns that compact easily could benefit from aeration twice a year while sandy lawns may only need to be done every couple of years.
  • Hole Spacing – You really can’t overdo it if you’re using a manual tool and power tools will automatically provide the proper spacing.
  • Depth – Core aerators generally cut plugs about 2-3 inches deep. This is an ideal depth if you’re using manual tools as well.

Lawn Aeration Tips

Below you’ll find some tips to make the most of your lawn aeration.

  • Get the Right Moisture Level – Your soil should be wet but not completely sloppy. Aerating tends to dry out your soil so watering after aeration is also important. If you just had a lot of rain you may want to wait a few days before aerating. If it’s been dry you might need to water your lawn before you begin.
  • Make Two Passes – Most landscaping professionals agree that making two passes is your best bet for lawn aeration. This ensures that you’ve covered every inch of your lawn.
  • Apply Lawn Care Products – Once your lawn is aerated it will be ready for new seed and fertilizer. Depending on what type of products you use you may need to keep kids and pets off your lawn for 24 hours or more.
  • Be Safe – It may be a good idea to call digger’s hotline before aerating your lawn. Remember you are driving metal spikes into the ground. You need to avoid electric lines and other utilities. Use common sense and be safe when aerating lawn.