Lawn aeration begins with moving small plugs of soil from your lawn. You can purchase an aerator that works by hand, but most aeration is usually done with a machine that uses hollow spoons mounted on a drum or a disk. This tool is known as a core aerator, and it removes small cores of your soil and deposits them atop your lawn.
How deep the holes should be?
Lawn aeration holes are usually one to six inches in depth and two to six inches away from each other. You can also use an aerator that makes holes in your lawn without extracting any soil. This is called spiking, and it’s quicker but not as effective because it may compact your soil and invite weeds, whose roots grow better in compacted sod.
Most landscapers recommend lawn aeration using the core method, especially on compacted soil, to help break up the compaction and allow your lawn to breathe.
You may ask, why should I go to the trouble and expense of aerating? How will it help my lawn? As lawns become older, or as they suffer from excessive use for sports and pets, your soil may become compacted. Compaction reduces the amount of air the soil can hold, and your grassroots need this air to grow in a healthy manner.
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Lack of air space can also slow down your lawn’s ability to take in nutrients and water, and it acts as a barrier that makes it harder for roots to take hold. Lawn aeration breaks up this compaction and helps your lawn grow more dense and healthy.
Why do you aerate your lawn?
Aeration of the lawn boosts the activity of soil microorganisms that aid in the decomposition of thatch, which is made up of dense layers of roots, stems, leaves, and dead grass. Aeration also helps increase the movement of oxygen, nutrients, and water through the soil.
It keeps your freshly applied pesticides and fertilizers from running off the top of the lawn without being taken into the soil deeply enough to help it.
When to aerate lawn?
How do you know if your yard is a candidate for lawn aeration? If you’re not sure, remove one square foot of your lawn, going down at least six inches. If you notice that the roots of your grass only extend a couple of inches into the sample section, your soil is likely compacted and could use aeration.
There are other reasons for you to pursue lawn aeration, too. If your lawn is driven by vehicles, they compact the soil, and aeration will help your lawn rebound. If you have a thatch that is greater than a half-inch deep, it may be causing your grass to lose water and nutrients so that that aeration will help that issue.
If your yard is made up of heavy clay-type soil, this compresses very quickly, and lawn aeration will open up new paths for your grasses to ingest nutrients, water, and oxygen.
Lawn aeration can help perk up a compacted and depressed yard. Contact a landscaper or do a soil sample to see if aeration can help your lawn.