Lawn aeration is essential to improve the overall health and appearance of your lawn. In the same way that a farmer’s field is plowed every year, your lawn needs to be aerated, usually in the spring and fall. Aeration is needed due to thatch buildup and soil compaction. These two issues can be caused by a number of things including heavy use of your yard or waterlogged soil. When soil compacts, your lawn’s roots struggle to get oxygen and water, or find much-needed nutrients, causing shallow roots and reduced thickness and growth.
Lawn Doctor’s aeration service can help prevent these issues and make sure your lawn continues to flourish year-round.
Why aerate your lawn?
Lawn aerating helps your lawn better absorb air, water, and nutrients needed to balance oxygen and carbon dioxide in the root zone. Aside from better air intake, some other benefits of aeration, especially core aeration, include:
- Improved roots and increased shoot density
- Improved effectiveness of lawn fertilization
- Improved movement of air and water into compacted soils
Aerated lawns also experience greater resilience. After undergoing aeration, the grass will be better able to handle incidents of stress, such as extreme heat and lack of water. Aerating your lawn not only makes the grass thicker and healthier, but it also helps your lawn bounce back quicker from extreme conditions.
There are two ways you can aerate your lawn: spike aeration or core aeration. Spike aeration is the method of using a roller that has spikes in it to poke holes in the soil. Core aeration, also known as plug aeration, is when a powered lawn aeration machine is used where holes are “cored” out of the soil. A core aerator does a far more thorough and effective job of relieving soil compaction, removing thatch, and delivering nutrients and oxygen to the plant than spike lawn aeration.
How do I know if my lawn needs to be aerated?
A simple way to tell whether your lawn needs to be aerated is the screwdriver test. Check to see if you can easily put a screwdriver or shovel in your lawn’s soil. If you can, outside of potential thatch issues, your soil is fine and you can likely hold off on lawn aeration. If you can only do this task with great difficulty, your soil likely needs to be aerated.
If you have vehicles parked on the lawn, high traffic areas, or puddles forming, the soil may be compacted in those areas and could benefit from core aeration. Clay soils need to be aerated more than sandy soils, usually annually.
When should you start aerating?
If you have warm-season grass like Bermudagrass, Zoysia grass, or St.Augustine grass, you should aerate your lawn towards the end of spring, prior to the lawn’s peak growing season. A cool-season grass like Tall Fescue, Ryegrass or Kentucky bluegrass should be aerated in the early spring or in the fall. As the lawn grows and thrives, it will fill in the holes made by the aerator.
How to make the most of core aeration
Our local aeration experts recommend core aeration when the soil is moist, so make sure you water your lawn a day or two before starting the aeration process. Be careful not to water your lawn too much before aerating. Having a lawn with thatch that’s too dry or wet can cause issues with your lawn aeration service. Sometimes, it’s optimal for many people to seed the lawn at the time the lawn is aerated. The new seedlings will have room to grow in the open holes and when established provide a thick healthy lawn.
When people choose to aerate their turf on their own, common mistakes can occur. One example is aerating the lawn too frequently. Many people seem to think that since lawn aerating is a good thing, doing it often is better. However, frequent core aeration can actually damage the health of your lawn by damaging the roots.
After using an aerator on the lawn, the thatch and soil plugs could fall back into the holes. To prevent this, some people will actually try to fill the holes with sand. These holes should remain open to allow water, air and nutrients into the root zone. It’s best to leave the plugs alone in the grass to break down and give extra nutrients to the lawn.
Timing is everything in lawn care and those who improperly time core aeration may disrupt the grass growth process. Lawn Doctor recommends that you do not aerate any areas of your lawn during drought stress. This will only further increase the damage to your lawn.
What to expect after lawn aeration services?
Right after aerating your lawn, you’ll see the small holes in your yard along with the thatch plugs that were pulled from those holes. While temporarily not the most aesthetically pleasing sight, the plugs will break apart in less than two weeks, making your lawn look clear again. Healthy, growing roots will soon fill in the aerated holes, a sure sign that the lawn core aeration is working. It also indicates that the desired results for your thatch and turf are right around the corner.
You should see a lusher, thicker lawn in the weeks and months after lawn aeration services. However, you may still need to get your lawn aerated once a year or so, depending upon the lawn thatch and compaction. Lawns that experience a greater degree of traffic and use may have denser soil and need to be aerated more often.
If you’re interested in learning more about lawn aeration services and lawn aeration costs, Lawn Doctor provides a free quote for services, including a free quote. Contact your Lawn Doctor local experts to learn more about our core aeration services and lawn aeration costs and schedule a free quote today.