Lawn aeration is a critical aspect of lawn care that brings with it a plethora of benefits. If you have a beat-down lawn with many blank patches or grass that needs a bit of tender love and care, aeration could be of benefit in many ways. Without aeration, for instance, your lawn will have compacted soil that impedes the flow of water, nutrients, and air, thus causing imperfections on your lawn. Aeration can solve this. The mechanical process extracts cores of thatch, soil, and grass to improve the availability of nutrients, water, and air. It also decreases soil density, relieves compaction, and is beneficial when adjusting soil pH, clearing runoffs or paddles, or building a thicker lawn. Even though beneficial, the process needs a bit of planning to be effective. Follow this detailed beginner’s guide to doing an excellent job at home on demand.
Lawn Aeration Method
The lawn aeration method you choose has a bearing on the results you will get while aerating your lawn. These are of two broad types – spike aeration and plug aeration – each with its unique cons and pros. Spike aeration uses a tine, fork, or spike to push a hole into the soil from which water, air, and nutrients can reach your plant’s roots. While the method is easier to implement, especially if you own a pair of premium garden weasels or garden shoes, it is less superior to plug aeration for its propensity to increase soil compaction. Considered the superior method, plug aeration digs into the soil and removes a plug to create space for roots and increase the availability of water, air, and nutrients. These come in different sizes and materials for use on different lawn types, which you should keep in mind the next time you are planning for such a project. For the best results, look for a plug aerator that cuts approximately 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch-wide holes measuring between 2-3 inches deep. This way, you will create a large enough hole for roots to grow into, breathe, expand, or absorb nutrients and improve a yard’s appearance.
Handling Lawn Plugs
From our earlier discussion, plug aeration seems to be the best method for aerating lawns and improving the availability of nutrients on lawns. However, a major dilemma for a majority of people who adopt this technique is how to handle the plugs. Should you throw them away to keep your lawn clean and tidy? Should you dump them in a compost pile or leave them on your lawn to provide trace elements to your plants? While lawn care experts champion different approaches, we recommend leaving them on your lawn, as they are a rich source of minerals, fertilizer, and trace elements that will nourish your lawn. Break the plugs apart; scatter them on your lawn, and water them down to fast-track the bioavailability of such elements to boost lawn growth/ health.
When to Aerate a Lawn
What is the best time to aerate a lawn? This is a common concern for people who aerate their lawns by themselves at home. While you can aerate your lawn all year long without major damage, three broad conditions – the type of grass, moisture level, and weather condition of your area – can influence results. Overall, experts recommend that you should aerate when the weather is cool to minimize trauma to your lawn. As such, aerating during fall or spring will provide desirable results every time, especially if you have a heavily thatched lawn (1/2-inch and over). If you aerate the lawn at this time, you do not have to water the lawn as much as you would do in the summer.
The moisture level of the soil also has a bearing on the quality of results in this way. The metal tines on garden shoes or weasels can penetrate deeper on moist soils compared to dry ones, thereby delivering better results. To ease the load on your back or hands, consider aerating the lawn when it is raining. You can also water it up to 1/2 inches before aerating your lawn.
If you follow the beginner tips that we have shared herein, you have a fulfilling experience aerating your lawn and boosting its health. Use the best tine or shoes to make deep and consistent holes. Consider using plug aeration to spike aeration as it provides quick and consistent results and aerates when you have moist soil, preference in spring or fall. This video provides other valuable tips that can help you to do a professional job at home or work.