Lawn Aeration 101: How to Promote Thicker, Healthier Grass
There are many things you do regularly to promote the healthy growth of your grass, such as watering, mowing, and weeding. However, a few vital tasks that are only done once or twice a year can make just as much of an impact on the vitality of your lawn. This includes aeration. An often overlooked task, aeration can make a tremendous difference in the health and appearance of your lawn.
Why Aerate Your Lawn
Healthy grass needs a few basic things to thrive, including water, sunlight, nutrients, and oxygen. Over time, the soil beneath your grass will become compacted, limiting the flow of oxygen to its roots. Another common issue is thatch. Thatch is made up of grass trimmings and crisscrossed pieces of grass root that haven’t yet decomposed. This produces an additional obstacle for oxygen, sunlight, and nutrients to pass through to reach your lawn roots. Having your lawn aerated by a professional will loosen the soil and cut through the thatch to provide your grass with what it needs to thrive.
How to Aerate Your Lawn
When it comes to aerating your lawn, there are several options depending on the size of your yard, the tools available to you, and how much work you want to put into it. Before you aerate, you’ll want to water your grass or plan to aerate after a rainstorm. This will soften the soil and make your job easier. You might also consider fertilizing about a week before as this will help with the recovery time. Consult with a professional about your lawn’s specific needs if you have any questions. Next, you’ll need to decide what tool you want to use. There are two basic options to choose from:
A spike aerator is used for small spaces. There are variations of this tool, but essentially you take a spiked tool and poke holes in your lawn. However, this process is work-intensive and strenuous. You’ll also want to be careful using this method as it can cause compaction of soil around the edges of the holes you make.
A plug aerator is the preferred method and is used by professionals. This is a tool that takes small “plugs” of soil and removes it from the ground. This reduces the risk of compaction since it removes small amounts of grass and soil. You can rent these from home improvement stores or hire a professional to come do it for you.
When You Need to Aerate
The timing of when you need to aerate will depend largely on your soil type. If you have sandy soil, you may need to only aerate once a year. Conversely, if your soil is made up of clay and is more dense, you’ll need to aerate it twice a year. A typical schedule for twice-a-year aeration would be once in early spring and again in early fall.
However, soil type alone isn’t enough to determine how frequently your lawn will require aeration. If suddenly your lawn is yellowing, appears to be thinning, or the soil feels hard to the touch, you likely need to aerate your lawn. A few more signs to look out for include if your lawn dries out more easily than before or water pools during rainstorms, as opposed to draining into the soil. These are all signs your grass isn’t getting what it needs.
If you start to notice your lawn is struggling to thrive or isn’t looking its best, it might be time for aeration. Aeration is a simple and effective way to improve the health and appearance of your grass. Whether you choose to aerate on your own or hire a professional, the benefits are undeniable. If you have any questions or are interested in having your lawn aerated, call us today!