Caring for a lawn can be complicated. You spend a lot of time figuring out mowing schedules, fertilizers to use, and when to edge. You probably worry about insects, disease, and even your own competence in care. One thing that you should look at in terms of lawn care that can be a solution to many of your problems is lawn aeration. Aerating your lawn is a very beneficial procedure that can end up saving you a lot of stress down the road.
What is Lawn Aeration?
Lawn aeration is the process of reducing soil compaction by essentially punching holes in the soil either with special shoes, a hand tool, or coring machine. The procedure can be done by buying or renting spiked shoes that are made for loosening the soil as you walk around.
The other way of doing it is by renting a mechanical core aerator, which will mechanically remove plugs of soil and thatch from your yard. Either way, it is an important procedure to perform in the maintenance of a healthy and beautiful yard.
Often times, you may even be overlooking the problems that compacted soil may be causing in your yard and blaming them on other things. Many homeowners will blame insects, bad watering processes, disease, or even fungus is often blamed for a yard’s decline.
In reality the real problem may be compacted soil. Compaction begins when approximately the top four inches of the soil and thatch become compressed. This compression can impede air movement, water movement, and nutrient access to the roots of the plants. The whole thing can be very stressful on the grass. It can become less able to compete with weeds and may not recover from injury or shock as quickly.
Healing your Soil
Aerating your lawn will take care of a lot of your problems. Aeration will loosen the compacted soil and thatch so that water and nutrients are more available to the plants. The process of aerating will also increase oxygen in the soil, which can stimulate the roots as well as the activities of the thatch-decomposing creatures that help keep your lawn healthy.
Aeration helps reduce water runoff so that your watering is more efficient. Overall it will improve your lawn’s health and increase its tolerance to drought.
When to Aerate
So you know that it is important to aerate your lawn, but when should you do it? You will aerate your lawn either in the fall or the spring, depending on what kind of grass you are growing in the lawn. If you have a cool season grass, you should aerate in the fall, when the danger of heat damage is low.
For a warm season grass, you should aerate in the spring and summer during active growth times. For either kind, no matter when you aerate, you should do so on a day with mild temperatures and moist soil.
Aeration then should happen as often as necessary. The best way to tell if your lawn needs aeration is through a screwdriver test. Take a screwdriver out to your lawn and try to push it into the soil. If it is hard to push it in, then you probably need to aerate. If it goes in with just a little bit of resistance, then you do not need to aerate. You should only perform the screwdriver test when the soil is mildly moist.
You can also combine the aeration and seeding of your lawn. Once you have aerated the lawn, allow about a month before you seed, though. The ground and grass will need time to heal before introducing seed to the situation. By combining the aeration and seeding of your lawn, though, you will be able to create a beautiful and full looking lawn.
With all the chores that are involved with lawn care, it can be easy to get confused. You may be watering more often than you need to, spreading more pesticide than you need to, or changing your fertilizer when it is unnecessary.
The real answer may just be that you need to aerate. By aerating you will loosen up compacted soil and then solve a lot of the problems you may have had before. Aerate your lawn as often as needed to keep it healthy and low-maintenance.