Ever wondered how golf courses and parks have such beautiful, healthy lawns? While there are a number of contributing factors, one thing almost all golf courses and many city parks do is aerate regularly. Your lawn can also benefit from being aerated, but if you’ve never had your lawn aerated before, you probably have a lot of questions about what aeration is and whether it can actually deliver the results many people claim. This article offers everything you need to know about lawn aeration to help you better understand what it is and how it can benefit your lawn.
The Basics of Core Aeration
Core aeration is a procedure used to relieve the negative effects of compacted soil – soil that is compressed or densely packed. Soil can become compacted for many reasons. Foot traffic and even mowing the lawn can cause compaction, and compaction is also especially common in certain types of soil (for example, soils that have a lot of clay in them). Because air, water and nutrients need to get down to the roots for grass to grow properly, it makes sense that compacted soil is not good for the health of your lawn.
Core aeration is the solution to compacted soil. The term aerate has to do with air circulation, so when you aerate your lawn, you are adding air and space to the soil in order to loosen it up and provide optimal conditions for grass growth.
How Core Aeration Actually Works
Now that you understand the basic idea behind core aeration, how do you actually accomplish the goal of adding air/space to your lawn? The answer is with a specialized piece of equipment called a lawn aerator.
The aerator is a machine that is designed to pull out plugs of soil from your lawn (these plugs are also known as cores, which is where the term core aeration comes from). The aerator pulls out plugs of soil that are ½ to ¾ inches in diameter and up to 4 inches deep, about 2-3 inches apart across your entire lawn.
Although digging into your lawn like this may sound like a bad idea, aerating your lawn does wonders for the growing conditions of your soil. The plugs aren’t too noticeable and will quickly disappear after some rainfall or mowing. After a few days, you’ll notice the plugs starting to fill in with new roots, a sign that your lawn’s health is already improving.
Benefits of Core Aeration
There are many benefits to aerating your lawn including:
- Reducing soil compaction
- Improving the movement of air and water down to the roots of your grass
- Improving the uptake of fertilizer nutrients
- Growing stronger roots
- Reducing water pooling and runoff
- Breaking down the thatch layer between the new grass and the soil (which prevents roots from getting the water & nutrients they need)
- Improving new grass seeding because grass seeds now have more contact with the soil
- Developing better soil water uptake to make your grass more resistant to heat and drought
When you aerate your lawn, all of these benefits work together and the result is grass that can get everything it needs to grow properly. This means strong roots under the surface, and a healthy beautiful lawn on top of the surface.
When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?
Most lawn services recommend aerating your lawn about once a year, although depending on the conditions of your lawn, you may need to aerate more or less frequently.
Core aeration is performed primarily in the spring and the fall. Spring core aeration is done typically between March and May, and fall core aeration is typically done between August and November.
After learning more about core aeration, it’s easy to see how critical aerating can be for the overall health and beauty of a lawn. To learn more about how lawn aeration or to schedule your lawn aeration appointment, contact Top Choice today!