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. Aeration is needed due to thatch buildup and soil compaction, two problems that can be caused by a number of things, including heavy use of your yard and waterlogged soil. When soil compacts, your grass struggles to breathe or find much needed nutrients causing shallow roots and reduced thickness and growth.
Lawn Doctor’s lawn 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 balance oxygen and carbon dioxide in the rootzone. 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, while core aeration, also known as plug aeration, is the method whereby holes are “cored” out of the soil A core aerator does far more thorough and effective job of relieving soil compaction and delivering nutrients and oxygen to the plant.
Aside from better air intake, some other benefits of aeration include:
- Improved rooting and increased shoot density
- Improving the effectiveness of lawn fertilization
- Improves movement of air and water into compacted soils
Aerated lawns also experience greater resiliency. The grass will be better able to handle incidents of stress, such as extreme heat and lack of water. In other words, aerating your lawn not only makes the grass thicker and healthier, but it helps your lawn bounce back more quickly from extreme conditions.
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. 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, the soil also may be compacted. The same goes if puddles are forming on your lawn. Clay soils need to be aerated more than sandy soils. If you notice any of these issues affecting your yard, give us a call.
When should you start aerating?
Depending on your type of grass, there are optimal times of the year to aerate your lawn. If you have a warm season grass like Buffalo or Bermuda grass, you should aerate towards the end of spring, just prior to the lawn’s peak growing season. As the lawn grows and thrives, it will fill in the holes. A cool season grass like ryegrass or Kentucky bluegrass should be aerated in the early spring or the fall. The lawn will also fill in the holes as well for the cool season grass as it grows.
Sometimes, though, if the soil is particularly compacted, you may not be able to wait until before the peak growing time. If that is the case, though, you may need to be particularly careful that weeds do not grow in the holes aerated.
How to make the most of core aeration
Our core aeration experts recommend aeration when the soil is moist, so make sure you water your lawn a day or two before starting the aeration process. That said, be careful not to water your yard too much before aerating. Having a lawn too dry or wet will cause issues. In addition, core aeration and overseeding may go hand in hand – many people seed the lawn at the time they aerate.
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 aerating is good for the lawn, then there’s nothing wrong with doing it often. Frequent aeration can actually damage the health of your yard by damaging turfgrass roots. This is why Lawn Doctor suggests spring and fall aerations, this is the optimal time for root development.
After using an aerator on the lawn, in some cases the soil plugs will fall back into the holes. To prevent this, some people will actually try to fill the holes with sand. These holes should remain open allowing water and nutrients into the rootzone.
People may also aerate their turf at the wrong time of year. Timing is everything in lawn care, and those who mistime proper aeration may disrupt the grass growth process. As an example, Lawn Doctor recommends that you do not aerate your lawn during drought stress. This will only further increase the damage to your lawn.
By calling Lawn Doctor, you’ll have lawn aeration experts on hand to make sure core aeration is done properly on your lawn.
What to expect after lawn aeration?
Right after aerating your lawn, you’ll see the small holes in your yard along with the plugs that were pulled from those holes. While not always 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 aeration is working. It also indicates that the desired results you want for your turf are right around the corner. You should see a lusher, thicker lawn in the weeks and months after lawn aeration. However, you may still need to get your lawn aerated once a year or so, depending upon the lawns thatch and compaction, in order to make sure it stays in good shape. Lawns that experience a greater degree of traffic and use may need to be aerated more often. Consult one of our Lawn Doctor local experts on developing a proper lawn aeration schedule that fits your needs.