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If you are hoping to have a lush and healthy lawn, it’s important to utilize proper lawn care practices like proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing. Another important aspect is to maintaining a beautiful lawn is to ensure enough nutrients are reaching the soil underneath the grass. A great way to achieve this is through a process called aeration. Aeration is an essential aspect of lawn care in order because it allows air and water to penetrate built-up grass or lawn thatch.

What is Aeration?

Aeration is a lawn care process that involves puncturing the soil with small holes in order to let air, water and nutrients to absorb in the grass roots. Aerating allows the for roots grow strongly and deeply in order to produce a healthy lawn.

Why Should You Aerate Your Lawn?

It is important for you to aerate your lawn in order to alleviate soil compaction, which prevents proper air, water, and nutrient circulation in the soil. Soil compaction occurs when there are too many solid particles within a space. Soil that is compacted regularly should be aerated on a regular basis because compacted soil can squish the roots, inhibiting their ability to function. Too much lawn thatch or debris under the lawn can also prevent the roots from absorbing the necessary nutrients.

When to Aerate Your Lawn

The most ideal time for lawn aeration is during it growing season. The optimal aeration time for cool season grass is in the early spring or fall while warm season grass in the late spring. This is because the grass will then be able to grow to fill in any open areas punctured in the soil.

Note: Do not aerate a lawn that has been seeded or sodded within the last year of planting.

How To Tell If Your Lawn Needs to be Aerated

Your grass can benefit from lawn aeration if:

  • Your lawn is frequently driven on. The weight of a vehicle, even movers, can compact soil.
  • Has high foot traffic. Children and pets running around the yard contribute to soil compaction.
  • Was established as part of a newly constructed home. Often, the topsoil of newly constructed lawns is stripped or buried, and the grass established on subsoil has been compacted by construction traffic.
  • Your lawn it taking too long to drain and you experience water puddling on lawn after rain.
  • Grass shows heavy wear, is thinning, starting to patch, or bare.
  • It has heavy clay soil.
  • The thatch layer is thicker than one-half inch. Thatch lies between the living grass and soil. Take a shovel to remove a slice of your lawn in order to look at grass roots in the soil. If they reach 4-6 inches deep, your lawn doesn’t have a compaction problem. If, however, roots extend only 1-2 inches, you should consider aerating.
  • Feels spongy or dries out easily. This might mean your lawn has a thatch problem.

Chances are, If your lawn has never been aerated before, it needs to done. However, to make sure it does, perform this simply lawn aeration test that can be done using a screwdriver or pencil. Place either object into the soil. If it’s too difficult, the soil is compacted and needs to be aerated.

Lawn Aeration Tools: Plug Aerator vs. Spike Aerator

There are two main tools used for lawn aeration are a spike aerator and a plug aerator. Spike aerators allow you to poke holes into the soil with a fork while plug aerators remove a small section of grass or soil from the lawn. With a spike aerator, you simply use the tool to poke holes into the ground with a solid tine, or fork. Simply poking holes is less effective and can cause more soil compaction if done incorrectly. For the optimal results, use a lawn aeration tool that will remove plugs of soil.

How to Aerate Your Lawn

If you're convinced that your lawn is in need of aeration, here are some lawn care tips on how to do it:

Before Lawn Aeration

  • Ensure the soil has enough moisture. Watering your lawn the day before aeration or the day after its rained or is suggested.
  • Use marking flags to indicate the locations of irrigation or septic lines, sprinkler heads, and other buried utilities.

During Lawn Aeration

  • Most aeration machines cover only a small percentage of soil surface per pass. Save your energy and resources by leaving unaffected areas alone. However, you will want to make multiple passes over the most compacted areas. If your lawn has been aerated in the past on year, you should only need to do one pass. If it’s been over a year, make two passes with the aerator. Aim to create 20 to 40 holes per square foot.
  • Allow the excavated soil plugs to dry and decompose to give your lawn a uniform appearance. These plugs contain microorganisms that digest lawn thatch. You can break the decomposed soil plugs up by going over them with a lawn mower or a rake.

After Lawn Aeration

  • It is highly suggested to fertilize and seed lawns immediately following aerating. For soil that is heavily compacted, cover the lawn with a quarter inch of compost and rake so it falls into aeration holes.
  • Water your lawn a few extra times after aeration, especially when in hot or dry weather.
  • Lawn aeration brings up weed seeds from lower soil levels. To prevent weeds from growing, plan to use a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring following fall aeration for cool season turf. For warm-season grass, apply the herbicide the fall following aeration. Note: Do not apply a pre-emergent herbicide during the same time of reseeding.
  • Continue basic lawn care practices such as proper fertilizing, watering, and mowing.

If your lawn is a good candidate for lawn aeration, it’s important to make it a part of your lawn care process. Aeration is a crucial practice towards allowing it to breathe again and achieve a lush and beautiful lawn.

Contact Our Lawn Love Experts

Are you ready to have a lawn your neighbors are green with envy over? Call our lawn care experts today for a free estimate. We understand that each customer and their lawn has different needs and therefore requires different care. Let Lawn Love put together a customizable and comprehensive solution for your landscape! Maintaining a beautiful and healthy lawn doesn’t have to be difficult when you allow Lawn Love to do the work.

Whether it’s a one time treatment or ongoing lawn care and maintenance, local professionals are here at your convenience to provide you with the service(s) you need. Contact us for a free evaluation of your lawn to learn more about our services.

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