A beautifully manicured lawn can a pride asset for any homeowner. But it’s not something you can achieve easily, it takes a lot of effort and time to have an attractive looking lawn. Maintenance of a lawn has many aspects to it and aeration is one of them. Most people are familiar with practice like mowing a lawn, watering it, trimming the edges, and fertilizing it, and clean the tidy edges around plant beds or between the lawn and a driveway, but not with the practice of aeration. So, what is aeration? What benefit does the lawn get by aeration? How often should you aerate your lawn? Here we will try to provide the answers to these questions.
What is Aeration?
In simple words, aeration is making holes in your lawn to help it breathe. Aeration is the process of puncturing small holes in the soil of the lawn. Then these holes help air and water to penetrate the grassroots. It also allows nutrients to spread deep into the soil. The outcome of aeration is that the grassroots can grow more deeply into the ground, generating more durable turf.
Why You Should Aerate Your Lawn?
After years of activities on your lawn, the soil becomes very compacted and hard. Roots don’t get much space to grow on compacted soil. And it’s almost impossible to have a lush lawn when the grassroots are lacking for room to grow on. The idea behind aeration is to reduce the soil compaction, where the soil has become so dense that air, water, and other needed nutrient molecules cannot circulate adequately through the soil. Aerating your lawn is vital for many reasons. Here are a few of the important ones.
- It Helps Roots to Grow Deep and Strong
- Roots of grass don’t grow in soil, they push into the spaces between it. So, roots struggle if there are no gaps. Aerating provides gaps for the roots to grow, in a result, your lawn grows healthier and stronger.
- It Allows Water and Nutrients to Penetrate Deeper
- Grass drinks and feeds via its roots. Water and nutrients struggle to penetrate below the surface of the soil if it’s too compacted. So, if water and nutrients are not available in the roots, grass will starve. Which will cause your lawn to look unhealthy.
- It Averts Surface Runoff
- Any water that falls on heavily compacted soil will not penetrate below the surface. it will also result in washing away the topsoil and carrying away vital nutrients with it.
When You Should Aerate Your Lawn?
We have established that it is a highly beneficial practice to aerate your lawn, so much so that without any other treatment, aerating alone will bring a noticeable difference. And now we have come to the main question which is, how often should you do it?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors. From which probably the most important one is the soil conditions of where you live. Because different soil types need aerating more than others.
You will probably need to aerate your lawn at least once a year if you live in an area which has heavy clay soil. Because this type of soil is the most easily compacted soil.
On the other hand, if you live in an area which has sandier soil, you won’t require to aerate more than once a year. It will probably be fine if you do it once every two years.
Another concern you should take into account is how much foot traffic your lawn encounters. If your lawn is a happy place where a lot of kids run around on it all the time or if in the summer you use your lawn for a lot of barbecues, then you will require to aerate more often.
Also using a riding lawn mower or pushing a heavily loaded wheelbarrow on the grass will compact the soil more quickly. ‘
A lawn in an area that has clay soil and has a lot of people walking on it will get benefited from twice a year aeration. On the other hand, a lawn in a sandy soil area that doesn’t have to endure too many feet stepping on it might only require aerating once every two or three years to be healthy.
How Do You Aerate Your Lawn?
Now you know the importance of aeration and how good of an idea it is to keep your lawn healthy. Now you might be wondering how do you do it. Well, the worry-free news is it’s very easy. You can use a couple of techniques to aerate your lawn.
The simplest of techniques which doesn’t require any special equipment is to take a regular garden fork and poke holes in the lawn in every four-inch or so by walking up and down on it.
You can also repeat the process to make sure you get the whole lawn covered.
Another way to do it, which is also an inexpensive way, is to get a pair of special aeration sandals. These special shoes come with spikes on the bottom. All you have to do is walk up and down wearing these shoes, on your lawn to aerate it.
But if you have a larger lawn, you should consider buying or renting an aerating machine to do the job. You can choose between a spike aerator and a plug aerator. Spike aerators make holes in the ground whilst plug aerator eradicates plugs of soil. Spikes are perhaps better in sandy soils while plugs version are more suitable in clay soils.
When Should You Aerate?
Another important thing to know is when you should aerate your lawn. This depends on the grass type you have. If your lawn has cool weather grass then the growing season is in fall or spring. So, early fall should be the time you should aerate your lawn.
On the other hand, hot weather grass mostly grows in the summer months so, late spring should be the time for aeration. Try to aerate when the soil of your lawn is not waterlogged but moist.
There are several factors that play part in the answer to the question, how often you should aerate your lawn. Which are your local conditions and how much walking the lawn has to endure. Depending on these discussed factors you may require to do it every six months or perhaps once every three years. But one thing is for sure that it is a vital part of your lawn care and it shouldn’t be overlooked.