Should I Aerate?August 2, 2016
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHEN AND WHY TO AERATE YOUR LAWN
What is Aeration?
Aeration is a lawn care process that involves perforating the soil with small holes in order to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate built-up grass or lawn thatch, allowing grass roots to grow deeper, producing a stronger lawn. Be sure to fertilize directly before or after to ensure nutrients are available.
Do I Need to Aerate?
Here are a few signs/issues to watch for:
- Water puddling and taking a long time to drain from your lawn after rain.
- Vehicles driving or parking on grass (including mowers) often TIP: Although mowers can cause your lawns soil to compact, try to vary your mowing patterns in order to slow compaction.
- Thatch layer being thicker than ½ of an inch.
- Heavy foot traffic (pets or children playing, entertaining, etc.)
- Noticing thick strands of clover and/or your lawn being thin, patchy or bare.
- Heavy clay soil.
When in doubt, you can perform an aeration test to assess soil compaction. Take a screwdriver or pencil and push it into the soil. If it is difficult, you may need to aerate your lawn. If you’re still unsure, take a shovel and sink it into the ground. If your shovel easily sinks half the blade deep, you don’t need to aerate but if you have to push and/or jump on the shovel, you need to aerate.
When to Aerate?
The timing of aeration is key and is determined by grass and soil type.
How to Aerate
Manual Aerator: great for small lawns, uses foot power to plunge hollow cylinders in the soil to punch holes and/or extract cores
Motorized Aerator: good for larger lawns, self-propelled with circular drums with hollowed spikes or cylinders that remove soil plugs. You can rent an aerator or you can see if your riding mower has a spike or core aerator attachment. Also, you can talk to your lawn care professional who may offer this service. TIP: Leave soil plugs on your lawn to decompose naturally because they contain microorganisms that help digest lawn thatch.
To learn about professional fertilizers available to treat your lawn before or after aeration, check out our Product Catalog and visit your local distributor to order.
CLICK HERE for more information on locating your local distributor to order.