Lawn Aeration Tips: Help Your Grass Breathe Easy
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 lawns 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.
Types Of Lawn Aerators
There are two main types of rolling lawn aerators: spike aerators and core aerators.
As the name suggests, a spike aerator uses spikes fixed on a rolling drum to poke holes in the soil as the aerator is pushed or towed across the lawn. Used to prepare the soil for overseeding, spike aeration works best on soil that is only loosely compacted.
A core aerator uses hollowed-out tines to pull out plugs of soil from the lawn, leaving two- to three-inch holes. Both types can be motorized, manually pushed, or towed.
If a motorized lawn aerator is too elaborate for your needsmay be your yard is small or you just want to aerate the trouble spotshere are five other aeration techniques that can be used for smaller jobs and make this DIY task as easy as a stroll through your yard.
Core aeratorsCore aerators used hollow tines to extract cylindrical plugs of soil.
How Do You Determine When To Aerate Your Lawn
Unfortunately, maximum homeowners are uninformed when is the proper time for aeration. If you like that, here are some of the things that you need to know when is the appropriate time for aeration.
If your kids or pets heavily use your lawn for playing in the backyard, you need to aerate the lawn. If your lawn becomes spongy or if the grass dries lots faster, then this can be a hint that your lawn has excessive thatch. To be confirmed of this, you can remove a part of the lawn through a shovel. If you look at the thatch covering the blades of grass that surpasses 1.5 inches, you will move for aeration.
We also suggest you aerate your lawn if your lawn previously faced a lot of stress like construction. Lastly, if your lawn started as sod, then you need to aerate your lawn as the soil layering of sod hostilely affects the transportation of required oxygen, water, and nutrients by your grass.
You May Like: Champion Landscape Equipment And Supply
Why Aerating Helps Lawns
Grass roots need air, water and nutrients to grow thick, deep and strong. When soil becomes compacted, even slightly, it inhibit the flow of the essentials that support thicker, healthier turf growth. A layer of compacted soil just 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick can make a significant difference in the health and beauty of your lawn.1 Aeration creates holes down into the soil to alleviate compaction so air, water and nutrients can reach grass roots.
Deprived of their basic needs by compacted soil, lawn grasses struggle in stressful situations, such as heat and low rainfall, and lose their healthy, rich color. Grasses gradually thin and eventually die out completely, for lack of the oxygen, water and nutrients available just inches away. Even a single aeration session can open the avenue for these essentials to reach their mark and put your lawn back on an upward trend.
Core aerators pull small plugs of soil to the surface.
The Best Way To Aerate A Small Lawn Effectively
As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please note that you are never charged any extra for that.
The secret behind a perfect lawn lies in your efforts towards your lawn maintenance. The whole process gets more manageable if you know the best way to aerate a small lawn. Well, lawn maintenance doesnt only require watering and mowing. But, you should also invest your valuable time to aerate your lawn.
Read Also: Riding Lawn Mower Under 1000
Does My Lawn Need Aeration
Lawns that suffer heavy foot traffic and consist of clay soil get compacted more easily, so they likely need to be aerated more often. Does rainwater run off your lawn without soaking in? Did your lawn turn brown after a few days of hot weather? If so, it might be time to aerate. Another check: Dig into a square-foot section of your lawn and inspect how deep your grass’s roots grow. If they extend less than two inches into the soil, then it’s time to aerate.
Why Aerate Your Lawn
Over time, soil tends to compact and become hard due to foot traffic, mowing, clay soil, or poor drainage. This prevents water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the hungry roots. As a result, the turf becomes thin, pale, or patchy.
Lawn aerationa process of making holes in the turfbreaks up hard soil so that water and nutrients penetrate the grass roots more easily. There are two basic types of lawn aerators:
- Spike aerators, which simply poke holes into the soil
- Plug aerators, which actually remove a plug of soil and grass
Both break up hardened soil, but lawn plug aerators are more effective.
Read Also: What Is The Best Zero Turn Lawn Mower
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.
What Is Lawn Aeration And Should I Do It
Lawn aeration is the process of punching holes in the ground to expose soil to oxygen. A yard aerator does this by removing small round soil plugs from the ground, thus allowing water and various nutrients easy absorption into the soil.
Lawn aeration is essential for property owners who get heavy amounts of foot traffic or if their grass is brown, thin and doesnt easily grow. Some of the most common types of grass that need to be aerated include bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, carpetgrass, and St. Augustinegrass. A yard aerator is not needed when laying new sod grass or seeded grass until approximately six months after installation.
Recommended Reading: Bioadvanced All-in-one Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer
Why Aerate A Lawn
Aerating is the process of scooping or “coring” holes into your lawn so oxygen, water and nutrients can penetrate deeper into the soil. Aerating also can break up soil that’s been compacted and hardened by heavy summer use.
“When you aerate and get oxygen deeper into the soil you are encouraging deeper roots, which in turn will improve a grass’s drought tolerance and durability,” says Gary Peiffer, an agent with the DeKalb County Extension Office in Georgia.
Alternative Lawn Aeration Techniques
1. Spiked shoes
This is the easiest way to aerate your lawn. Simply strap on these spiked soles and take a walk through your grass.
However, spiked shoes should not be used for every aeration job. Severely compacted lawns will not benefit as much from spike aeration as much as core aeration because the spikes actually further compact the soil they penetrate.
While not practical for very large yards and less effective on severely compacted lawns, this lawn aeration tool can be an inexpensive way to maintain proper soil conditions.
You can easily aerate small areas of your lawn by simply pushing a pitchfork into the soil about three inches deep. Wiggle the fork around a bit to widen the holes, and repeat the process every four inches over trouble spots. Caution: a pitchfork works much the same way as spiked shoes and should not be used for severely compacted yards.
Also called a dethatcher, this tool works mainly to break up deposits of grass cuttings, moss, and other debris that collect on the surface of the soil.
Powered by electricity or manually pushed, a scarifier is a wheeled machine with a series of blades that rotate through the surface of the lawn as it passes over it. Its cutting action also helps aerate the soil.
4. Hollow tiner
This tool, sometimes called a core aerator, works the same way as a pitchfork but uses hollow tines to remove cores of soil.
How Long Will It Take To Aerate My Lawn On My Own
The amount of time spent on aerating your lawn will vary depending on what aeration tool you use and how big your yard is. Here are the different aerating tools and the estimated time it would take to aerate a medium-sized lawn .
- Hand aerators: Mentioned previously, hand aerators can be quite strenuous and requires much effort from your hands to work the aerator into the soil. Using a hand aerator on your whole lawn can take a lot of time out of your day to complete correctly.
- Aerator Shoes: The amount of time it will take to aerate your lawn depends on how long it will take you to walk your entire property. Highly traffic areas will need to be walked over multiple times. Aerator shoes only penetrate the soil so much. If you are using this aeration method, it is recommended to aerate more often than the other methods. Like using a hand aerator on your whole lawn, aerator shoes can also take a lot of time out of your day to complete correctly.
- Rolling Aerator: Rolling aerators should take about 30 minutes to 1 hour to aerate a lawn.
- Tow-Behind Aerator: Tow-behind aerators should take about 20 to 30 minutes to aerate a lawn.
- Stand-On Aerator: Electric aerators should take about 15 to 30 minutes to aerate a lawn.
Powered Types Of Aerators
For larger lawns, or if you prefer to spare your back, gas-powered aerators make the job relatively quick and easy. These heavy-duty aerators usually remove plugs of soil and grass, which is the best method of lawn aeration. Lawn aerator rental is available at many garden centers or home improvement stores.
- Pull-behind aerators look like manual drum aerators, but instead of muscling the aerating tool, a riding lawn mower does the work. This means that pull-behind aerators like the Agri-Fab Tow Plug Aerator can be heavier and spikier than manual lawn aerators, thus they can also be more effective.
- Gas-powered aerators look like lawnmowers, but instead of spinning blades that cut grass, they have spinning spikes that aerate the soil. Some multi-functional models like the VonHaus 2 in 1 Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier and Aerator contain an additional dethatcher drum for added convenience.
Also Check: How To Mix 24d For Lawns
How To Aerate Your Yard
If you’re convinced that your lawn is in need of aeration, here are some lawn care tips on how to do it:
- Before you get started, make sure the soil is moist enough. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to aerate soil that is bone dry. Aerating the day after a rain shower or watering your lawn the day before is advised.
- Most aeration machines cover only a small percentage of soil surface per pass, so make multiple passes over the most compacted areas. Save resources by leaving unaffected areas alone
- The excavated soil plugs should be allowed to dry and then broken up to give your lawn a uniform, clean appearance. Break them up by running them over with a lawn mower or pounding them with the back of a rake.
- An aeration myth is that if you apply a pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn in the spring, aerating your lawn will destroy the herbicide “barrier.” This is not true research shows that aeration will not affect crabgrass control or weed prevention.
- After aerating, it’s important to continue basic lawn care practices such as proper fertilizing, mowing and watering.
Aeration is a beneficial practice toward achieving a beautiful lawn, but most people don’t realize it or understand the process. If your lawn is a candidate, make it an integral part of your lawn care regime. Your lawn will thank you for letting it breathe again.
What Is The Process Of Aerating My Lawn On My Own
If you believe that your lawn needs aeration, here are some lawn care tips on how to aerate your lawn on your own:
- Before getting started, make sure the soil is moist enough. Ensuring that your soil is damp will make it easier to aerate. There is nothing more frustrating than aerating a dry lawn.
- Many aeration tools cover only a small part of the soil surface. Make multiple passes over highly compacted areas .
- Aerating your lawn depends on what aerating tool you have decided to use. For example, with a spike aerator, you use the tool to poke holes into the ground. A plug aerator will remove cores or plugs of grass with soil from the lawn.
- To achieve better results, use an aerating tool that removes plugs of soil. Poking holes is less productive and can cause additional compaction in the areas around the holes. Many aerating tools and machines can be rented from home improvement stores such as Lowes or Home Depot. Renting some of these machines can become expensive.
- After aerating, continue essential lawn care practice such as proper fertilizing, mowing, and watering.
Recommended Reading: Landscaping Services In Houston Tx
What Is Lawn Aeration And How Is It Done
If your formerly lush, green lawn looks stressed, your soil feels dry and spongy, and your grass is puddling after it rains, you may need to aerate. Lawn aeration is the process of perforating your lawn with tons of holes to break up your soil and let it breathe, allowing water, air, and nutrients to seep in.
You can aerate yourself by renting equipment, or you can hire a lawn care company to take care of it for you. In this lawn aeration guide, we break down how to aerate your lawn, how often this maintenance is needed, top lawn care companies that provide aeration services, and
When To Aerate A Lawn
As with other maintenance tasks, such as seeding and fertilizing, lawn aeration should be timed according to your regions climate and growing season. If you live in an area where the grass grows when its warm, you should aerate as soon as the temperature starts to rise in mid to late spring. If you live in a region where the grass grows in the cooler weather, aerate your lawn in late summer to early fall.
Your lawn should be dethatched before you aerate it. Thatch refers to the layer of dead brown grass and other debris resting on the soil. It should be removed with a dethatching rake when it starts to get too thick, otherwise the dead layer will rob the soil of what it needs to grow.
How often you should aerate your lawn depends on its current health. While even a healthy lawn can benefit from additional aeration, here are some landscaping tips and warning signs that its time to aerate as soon as possible:
- The grass is thin or has brown spots
- Puddles form in the grass after a rainstorm, which means the soil is too compacted to absorb the moisture
- Your yard sees a lot of foot traffic, which will compact the soil much faster
- Youve recently seeded, but the grass is not growing
Don’t Miss: What Type Oil For Lawn Mower
How To Aerate A Lawn By Hand
Large stretches of turf require gas-powered aerator tools, but if you have a fairly small patch of grass, a handheld aerator will work. There are several types of manual aerators.
- Aerator shoes have sharp spikes on the bottom. Just strap them on over your regular shoes and walk across your grass, making multiple passes in different directions to thoroughly penetrate the turf. If you’re looking for one of the least expensive and most popular aerator tools, consider getting lawn aerator shoes with strong metal buckles like Punchau shoes .
- Handheld aerators come in a variety of configurations but most somewhat resemble a pitchfork. Most are spike aerators, but there are versions that remove plugs. Using a handheld aerator is simple but tiring: Stab the spikes deeply into the grass, pull out, and repeat, taking care to cover the entire lawn. If you have a smaller yard with tiny patches of grass, consider investing in a aerator with a foot bar for extra leverage like the Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator, .
- Manual drum aeratorssometimes called lawn spikersare a spike- or blade-covered heavy drum with a long handle. To use, push a drum aerator like the Agri-Fab Push Spike Aerator, across your lawn, making at least two complete circuits in different directions. Most manual drum aerators are spike lawn tools, but some are plug aerators.
What Does It Mean To Aerate Your Lawn
Actually, lawn aeration is the way of puncturing the soil by preparing small holes that enable water, air, and nutrients to enter into the roots of your grass. While you can rightly aerate the soil, you can assist the grassroots to grow strongly. As a result, it is called the key to healthy lawn and turf.
After using the lawn frequently by you, your family, or pets, chances have been compacted the turf making the surface soil hard underneath the top layer. Similarly, thatch can develop in the lawn over time. Both compaction and thatch build-up can create a barrier layer to reach water, oxygen, and nutrients into the roots of grass and plants.
For this cause, aeration is the way to lose the soil of your lawn, and these more essential elements get into the grassroots. You can do this by making holes in the lawn. However, it would be best to be careful that there is a very definite process of aeration before you occupy a garden fork and start making dots in your lawn with holes.
Also Check: When Is The Best Time To Overseed Your Lawn