The most effective means of getting nutrients, water, and air down to your grassroots despite thatch developments is through aeration. Knowing when is the best time to aerate your lawn becomes an added advantage when it comes to lawn maintenance.
Some say it is best done at the peak of its growing season, how true this is will be the primary objective of this article. Not just knowing when, but why, and how do you aerate.This article aims to provide in-depth answers to your questions. Additionally, it will tell you the importance of lawn aeration and other effective lawn care practices.
What Is Lawn Aeration?
In a simple term, drilling small holes into the soil that holds grassroots to allow easy and successful penetration of nutrients, water, or air is the process called aeration. This exercise will ensure grassroots get strong and grow deeper, producing a more healthy-looking lawn.
Furthermore, not only being an easy gateway to defeating the dangerous effects that come with thatch growth in stems, aeration resolves soil compaction. Soil compaction hinders water, air, and nutrients meant for circulation throughout grassroots.
Types Of Aeration
When it comes to aerating, the three most common, or rather popular types are; Spike aeration, core, and liquid aeration. Below is a list and brief description of them, their pros and cons.
- Spike aeration
- Core aeration
- Liquid aeration
- Spike Aeration
Spike aeration has to do with using spikes to drill holes in the lawn. This variety does not encourage the removal of soil. What it does is push dirt further into the ground. Though this type of aeration usually is avoided by most people, it is more efficient with heavily compacted soil.
There is no better way of creating easy access to roots before fertilization than spiking. Spike aeration can prepare the lawn for over-seeding.
Among other types of aeration, core aeration is the most popular of them all. This type of aeration involves plugging cores of 2-3 inches into the ground, removing them, and inserting them back every few inches. Using this type of aeration will spread soil across the lawn’s surface.
If one has a heavily compacted lawn, core aeration becomes preferable because it splits and redistributes soil across the soil surface. What core aeration does is pave the way for soil nutrients and water to get to the grassroots, also having a positive effect on root growth.
What liquid aeration does is enhance water flow by creating microscopic pores in the soil. These pores behave like sponges, ever ready to collect and retain water in the soil. The N-Ext AIR-8 + iron8 is a perfect example of liquid aeration. It is a scientific development of BioGreen. What makes this type of aeration unique is that it circulates throughout the entire soil on application, compared to spike and core aeration that works a few inches.
The Importance Of Lawn Aeration:
Lawn aeration is one of the methods used in maintaining a healthy lawn. Properly aerating your lawn will loosen up dirt, thatch, and debris, allowing it to retain nutrients, water, pesticides, and fertilizers needed for healthy growth. Improper ventilation in a lawn will result in the loss of valuable micro-organisms that prevent plant diseases and complications; it could be thatch growth, dehydration, or even root stress.
Thatch buildup in a lawn– thatch buildup is the result of organic matter compilation, be it dead or living, attached to the stems and grassroots in the soil. The buildup of thatch causes complications to the lawn if left unchecked.
How To Tell If Your Lawn Needs Aeration
A commonly asked question would be, how do you tell if your lawn needs aerating? Well, there are lots of ways to tell, and below are some. Figuring this out on time and aerating at the right time will be a bonus.
Using your lawn all the time. Frequently using your yard either as a playground for your or neighbor’s kids, family get-together, or a racetrack could result in soil compaction, which is bad news for your lawn’s health.
Another way to tell if your lawn needs aeration is if it is in a backpack of a newly constructed home. As a result of construction traffic, soil and grass compaction occurs, and topsoil gets ripped and buried.
If your pre-existing soil gets replaced with soil layering. Covering your pre-existing soil with a fine soil texture that comes alongside imported sod disrupts proper water retention. This is because water only remains in the soil with a finer texture, refusing to pass through to the pre-existing coarser soil. What this leaves in its wake is poor root and compacted soil condition.
How To Aerate Your Lawn
Ever thought your lawn is due for aeration but don’t know how to go about it? Below are few tips to assist you in effectively aerating your lawn.
Aerating your soil after a rainy day is advisable. This is because the soil becomes moist enough to allow the absolute effectiveness of lawn aeration methods. A dried-up soil makes it even more difficult and frustrating to aerate.
When aerating, pay attention to compacted areas. Most aeration equipment only allows you to cover a small amount of the soil surface when aerating. So in an attempt to preserve energy and time, aerating only the affected areas will be key.
After aerating, the soil dug out should be allowed to get dry and then broken up. Doing this will result in a clean and uniform-looking lawn. You could use a lawnmower to run soil hips over (do not forget to sharpen your lawnmower blade after) or pounding them to make them smooth with the backside of a rake.
Keep in mind that aeration does not affect weed prevention or crabgrass control. Applying pre-emergent herbicide during the spring before the aeration period will not destroy herbicide barriers.
Watering, mowing, and fertilizing are all lawn care practices carried out after aeration to ensure healthy and vigorous lawn growth.
when is the best time to aerate your lawn?
The answer to this question is simple. The growing season (Fall season) is the best time for aeration. During this period, grass heals faster, filling open areas left by soil plugs. For a lawn with cool-season grass, aerating during the early period of spring or fall is ideal. And that with warm-season grass should be in the late spring.
How Often Do You Need To Aerate Your Lawn?
Out of 365 days, carrying out aeration once is ideal. In a case where your lawn is frequently used for outdoor activities that involve lots of foot stamping, aerating twice or three times a year is advisable. Look at golf courses, they are aerated three to five times a year, this is considered to be a special case because golf courses are meant to be walked and stamped on.
Things To Look Out For After Aeration
The very first thing you will notice is an unappealing pile of dark soil littered all over the place. Don’t go too hard on yourself thinking all you have done is make a mess as this is natural and unavoidable when aerating your lawn. After a few weeks, this pile of dark soil reincorporates back into the ground.
After few days, a week tops, you will begin to see white, fresh roots if you peek into the holes created by your spike or plug aerators. This is because your grassroots are getting the adequate amount of air needed to develop.
Effective aeration promotes water retention in lawns as a result of a lesser compacted soil. This will also be visible when aerating.
Tools Used For Lawn Aeration
Looking forward to a properly aerated lawn? This can only be achieved through the use of an effective aeration tool. There are two main categories of aeration tools:
- The spike aerators
- Plug aerators
Spike aerators: this tool category is made up of fork-like equipment that lets an individual poke holes into the soil. They are mostly manually operated lawn aerators.
Plug aerators: the difference between these two is that the plug aerators involve tools that don’t just poke holes but take aware core samples while they poke.
If the primary goal of aeration is to disperse soil compaction, tools belonging to the plug aerators category will be where your choice lies as spike aerators aren’t a good fit since all they do is poke and not take away core samples.
Soil aerators that dish out at least 3 inches of core sample when aerating should be taken into consideration when shopping for lawn aerators. In an attempt to elaborate, a lawn aerator that takes out 3 inches deep plugs, 0.5 inches wide plugs, and has a spacing of about 3 inches is ideal.
The Best Lawn Aerators
Below is a list and description of a few best lawn aerators, these aerators could easily be purchased from Amazon.
The Greenworks 14 inches corded dethatcher:
As its name extension implies, this aerator is primarily built for removing thatch buildups in a lawn. Its 14 inches dethatching path gets the job done efficiently, it has a 3-position tine depth adjustment and a 10Amp motor with a padded grip.
The Yard Butler Lawn Aerator:
This is a manually operated lawn aerator that is tagged as “a great choice”. This is best suited for aerating a small portion of the lawn. Being a manual aerator that has just two coring sections of 4 inches long, it is capable of removing two-and-a-half wide, three-and-a-half inches of grass plug. It also promotes turf growth and reduces water runoffs.
The 48 Inches Agri-Fab Tow Plug Aerator:
This is a cheap aerating product. Being a spike aerator, a unit has 32 galvanized knives that easily penetrate the soil. Its pulls dive as deep as 3 inches for deeper and thicker grassroots, it has flat tires for easy transportation.
However, being a spike aerator makes it a subordinate to plug aerators which in turn makes it not to be a preferred choice. Even with these flaws, it is a lawn aerator machine considered above a bunch of others, it has an incredibly 48 inches wide plug aeration path.
If there is a generalized effective way of maintaining your lawn, not watering, fertilizing or mowing, that would be consciously scheduling and carrying out lawn aeration. Doing this is important and can’t be stressed enough. Consider your lawn to be a living organism because it is, just like a human being put under pressure, deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients meant for survival, he or she is bound to fade away, eventually. The same goes for your lawn when it is not properly maintained.
Do ensure to use the right tools when aerating, this will develop good and visible results.
If doing this is way too much work, hiring someone who specializes in lawn maintenance will help. Someone who specializes in lawn maintenance is capable of determining what type of lawn aeration is the best fit for your yard.