Aeration is absolutely essential in order to get that healthy lawn of your dreams. Over time, the soil on our lawns becomes compacted. Kids play on it, pets run across it, and all that traffic pushes the soil tighter and tighter together. It becomes so hard that the grass has little room to grow, and nutrients are not able to reach the roots. That’s what causes those brown patches. You can free up space by aerating your lawn.
What is aeration?
Aeration involves putting holes in the ground to allow water, oxygen, and nutrients to penetrate deep into grass roots. It also alleviates soil compaction, giving those roots more space to spread out and become firmly grounded. As grass roots become stronger, they can crowd out weeds.
Aeration also prevents thatch build-up. Thatch is that spongy layer of organic debris that develops between the grass and soil. A layer that’s about ½” to 1” thick is a good source of insulation. Anything thicker can prevent water from reaching the roots, lead to lawn disease, and cause too many insects.
When to aerate
The ideal time to aerate is when your grass has started growing, so it can fill in those empty holes. Cool season grass is best done in early spring or fall; warm season grass in best done in late spring or early summer.
It’s best if the soil is moist, but not soaking wet. Trying to dig holes into hard, dry ground will only produce frustration. Water the lawn the day before or choose a day after a rainfall.
How to aerate
The old-fashioned style includes a pitch fork and some muscle. If you have a tiny yard you can try this method, but the more efficient way is to use an aeration machine. The machine removes plugs of soil from the earth without further compacting the soil. Look for an aerating tool or machine that removes soil plugs that are approximately 3 inches deep and half an inch in diameter. You might need to make a couple passes over the most compacted areas. Afterwards, your yard will be covered with soil plugs. Allow them to dry, and then break them up by running them over with a lawn mower or pounding them with a shovel or rake.
Be sure to continue basic lawn care practices such as fertilizing, mowing, and watering to keep your grass looking great all season long.
Need some help getting your lawn aerated? Give us a call at 1-800-518-4461 or log in to your dashboard if you already have an account!