3 Ways Lawn Aeration Improves Health of Grass
A homeowner who notices that their lawn is looking a bit careworn, with bald spots and grass that simply doesn’t look as healthy as it might should ask themselves these questions:
- Does the lawn get a lot of traffic? For example, is it often used as a playing field?
- Is the soil heavy and clayey?
- When the homeowner tries to insert a pencil into the soil, is this task nearly impossible?
If the answer to these questions is “Yes,” then the soil is most likely compacted, and the lawn should be aerated.
What is Aeration?
As the name suggests, aeration is a treatment that pulls plugs of earth out of the lawn and allows rain, nutrients, and oxygen to more easily penetrate it. Besides loosening the soil, aeration loosens thatch, a tangle of dead grass stems, roots and debris that also inhibit the lawn getting the nutrients it needs. Aeration can be done with a variety of tools, including aerators that are powered or pushed by the user, hand-held aerators and even aerators that are worn on the feet and have blades at the bottom much like mountaineer’s crampons. Lawn care experts recommend power aerators, which cover more ground in the least amount of time. Following are three other ways a lawn benefits from aeration:
- Soil that is loosened through aeration not only takes in more nutrients but prevents chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers from running off the lawn into sewer systems, where they can eventually enter the drinking water.
- A homeowner whose lawn has compacted soil will want to reseed it. Aeration makes it easier for grass seed to germinate.
- The loosened soil allows the roots of the grass to expand, which allows it to take in more nutrients. This ultimately results in a greener and healthier lawn.
Experts recommend aerating a lawn during its best growth period. This allows the lawn to recover from what is, at first, an injury. Warm season grasses such as centipedegrass and Bermuda grass should be aerated in the spring, while cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue should be aerated in late summer or early autumn.
The ground should be watered the night before the operation, then the aerating machine or tool should be moved back and forth across the lawn the next morning. The plugs of sod that it pulls up should be raked then crumbled to separate the soil from the grass. The soil should then be mixed with compost, peat moss or coarse sand then used as a top dressing over the lawn. It should be spread to a depth of about a half an inch with the back of a garden rake and pushed into the holes left by the aerator. The lawn should then be deeply watered.
Aeration does not have to happen frequently but should be considered when the homeowner sees that the grass isn’t doing as well as it should. A little extra work keeps the lawn strong and beautiful. For more information about aeration, contact us at GoBigLeague.com.
About the Author:
Kevin Bitton is an owner and lawn care professional at Big League Lawns. He has over 15 years of experience in lawn care, and Kevin knows what it takes to make your lawn beautifully green in Utah.
Big League Lawns
370 S 500 E Suite # 135
Clearfield, UT 84015