Lawn aeration is one of the best ways to ensure that you have a healthy, strong, and vibrant lawn. Lawn aeration involves pulling plugs of soil from your lawn, which leaves deep spaces that help stimulate healthy blade and root growth. The space created by the removal of plugs gives your lawn’s root system a chance to expand and fortify itself. Aeration also improves drainage and allows your root system better access to fertilizer and nutrients. In this article, we will explore five lawn aeration tips that are the key to a beautiful lawn.
5 Lawn Aeration Tips To Give You a Better Lawn
A great lawn does not happen by accident. Every homeowner would like the kind of verdant lawn that you see at golf courses or major league ballparks. However, many homeowners forget that maintaining a lawn requires the diligence and knowledge of a farmer cultivating a cash crop. The more you know about what your lawn needs to thrive, the better your chances of achieving the kind of lush surface that will make your neighbors green with envy.
Soil compaction stifles your root system and can result in stunted growth, poor color, and an overall unhealthy look to your yard. Compacted lawns have too many particles pushed together, which reduces water, air, and nutrient absorption. Compaction is prevalent in high-traffic areas, but any yard can be rejuvenated by paying attention to the turf structure. Lawn aeration is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal to improve turf viability. Here are some simple tricks to ensure you get the greatest benefit.
1. Plug Aerators Are Better Than Spike Aerators
There are two main methods for aerating a lawn, plug aeration, and spike aeration. Plug aeration removes plugs of soil from your lawn, and spike aeration uses a fork or tine to push a hole into your soil. Both methods allow for drainage and create more space for roots to grow, but plug aeration causes less compaction and gives your lawn more time to take advantage of the aeration process. Forks or tines inserted into your yard leave a hole, but they can also increase compaction around the holes, which is why plug removal is superior.
For the best results, choose an aerator that leaves holes approximately two to three inches deep and from a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch in diameter. Plug removal creates a space that allows your root system to expand, breathe, and absorb nutrients — the stronger and healthier your root system, the better the overall appearance of your yard.
2. Don’t Remove the Plugs
The plugs removed during aeration are best left scattered about on your lawn near the hole they left behind. Do not consider removing these plugs because they contain vital elements that need to be restored to your lawn. Instead of gathering and removing plugs, you can run over them with a lawnmower after they have dried. Running plugs over with a lawnmower or breaking them up with a rake allows the plugs to disintegrate and return to the holes they came from.
Aeration is like a facelift for your yard, and the plugs are a necessary part of the process. The plugs will disappear in less than a few weeks, and the overall improvement in the health and appearance of your lawn will be dynamic.
3. Aerate in the Spring and Fall
Spring and fall are the best times of year to take advantage of aeration. The additional moisture of spring is beneficial to root growth, and aeration allows your lawn system to take full advantage of the increased moisture. For most grass varieties, the majority of growth takes place in the fall, and the extra space of aeration encourages your root system to take full advantage of the growing season.
A strong root system acts like a carpet beneath your lawn and creates a network that makes it impossible for weeds to encroach upon. A strong root system can even help reduce bug infestations as it’s more difficult for insects to build nests in thriving root systems. Healthy roots are also more able to absorb water and nutrients, which make your yard healthier and reduce drainage problems.
4. Combine Aeration With Overseeding
Overseeding is a terrific way to address patches or other weak spots in your yard. The increased root growth of fall combined with aeration helps you get the most out of an overseeding treatment. Aerating the lawn creates a fertile bed where a new seed has the best chance of taking root. The combination of air, nutrients, space, and water allows a new seed to flourish and will help fill in a patch of grass. If you are already investing in seed and fertilizer, it makes sense to take the step of aeration to ensure the most accelerated and healthiest growth.
5. Make Sure the Lawn Is Properly Hydrated
Moisture is always critical to lawn care, and it is especially critical for aeration. Consider the difference when you stick a fork into a dry cake versus how the body of a moist cake responds. With the dry cake, it takes a lot of pressure to insert the tines and the surface chips and crumbles. A moist cake allows you to insert and withdraw a fork with ease. Unfortunately, a lawn difficult to aerate is most likely the one that most needs aeration. If you try to aerate a very dry, compact lawn, your machine will be difficult to operate, and you’ll be in for a long, frustrating day.
Just as it can be difficult to aerate a lawn that is too dry, it is also frustrating to aerate a lawn that is too moist. For best results, it is important to have lawn integrity that is strong enough to maintain the cylindrical plug shape but not so hard that long plugs can’t be extracted. You’ll usually have the best results if you aerate the day after watering or spring showers. Wait until your lawn is moist without being wet to get the most out of aeration. Always do several passes to ensure you have a uniform and consistent aeration.
Cultivate A Healthy Root System With Lawn Aeration
Hard, dry, compacted soil is not conducive to root growth. Lawns can become compacted through foot traffic, drought, or many other reasons. Even without external contributing factors, a lawn can settle so as to become detrimental to root health. Aeration creates spaces in your lawn that allow for the deep penetration of air, water, and nutrients. The holes also leave a space for roots to grow into, and when the plug matter disintegrates and runs back into the vacated spaces, you will have a stronger, healthier root system.
Your lawn will only be as beautiful as its root system allows it to be. A healthy root system allows your lawn to absorb more water and nutrients and ensures it will return from dormancy or drought more quickly than a lawn with an inferior root system. A hearty root system also helps to fend off weed and insect problems. If you’d like to learn more about lawn aeration, or to schedule a professional aeration appointment, contact the customer service representatives at Weed-A-Way.