If you want a good looking lawn, you need to aerate your lawn. A lot of lawn owners may ask, why lawn aeration? In many cases, lawn aeration will improve health of your lawn. This is especially true if your lawn suffers from soil compacting.
Soil compacting can be caused by a number of factors. Obviously, traffic, both vehicle traffic and foot traffic, will cause soil compression. But also rain causes soil compression over time. Soil compression slows down water infiltration and air exchange. Soil compacting restricts the grass roots from reaching far down in the earth. Another reason for lawn aeration is thatch, by aerating your lawn you make it more difficult for the thatch to overtake the grass.
Lawn aeration is very simple, it is generally done by removing small plugs or cores of compacted soil. The cores are about half an inch thick and three to five inches long. Some people call this core aeration, to avoid confusion with aeration done by pushing solid spikes into the lawn. This is sometimes called spiking or spike aeration. It is less efficient than core aeration. This is due to the fact that the solid spikes don’t remove the plugs from the earth.
If you have a small lawn, a manual aerator may be good enough. It consists of two or more hollow tubes attached to a stirrup. The stirrup is pushed into the soil by foot. It is easy to do but for larger lawns you need a more efficient solution. If you have a lawn tractor, you can use a tow plug aerator. The device is very simple and works fine. If you don’t have a lawn tractor, you can rent a mechanical lawn aerator. They are expensive so buying one is difficult to recommend, lawn aeration is generally done only once or twice a year. Renting a lawn aerator will be much cheaper.
It is best to aerate when the soil is moist but not wet. You may have to water your lawn two or three days before aerating. In case of heavy rain, you may have to wait a couple of days so that the soil has had time to dry. Dry or wet soil makes the aeration more difficult. Penetrating dry soil is difficult for the tines. Even if the tines can penetrate the dry lawn, they can’t penetrate as deep as in wet soil. If the soil is too wet, the soil cores get stuck in the tines. The soil cores can be left on the lawn.
Lawn aeration can be done at any time, as long as the soil is not frozen. The best time to aerate cool season grass is, according to most experts, early fall or late summer. Best time for warm season grass is spring.