Lawn aeration involves perforating your lawn’s soil with small holes that allow water, air, an nutrients to penetrate into the roots of your grass. It may seem strange to stop around your lush green lawn and poke holes in the soil, but the small holes will actually greatly improve your lawn’s overall health, meaning you’ll have an even greener and more beautiful lawn.
When to add aeration into your lawn maintenance schedule
Aeration is an important aspect of lawn maintenance because it helps prevent over-packed soil, which can starve your lawn of the air, water, and nutrients it needs to thrive. Of course, just like with any other part of lawn care, you don’t want to overdo it. Lawns that endure heavy foot traffic greatly benefit from aeration because all those people and pets running around the yard tend to pack the soil a little too tightly. You might also want to consider aerating your lawn if it has a spongy feel and the grass blades look dry, as this could be a sign that it is being starved for nutrients.
You can also perform a simple test to see if your soil is pack too tightly by trying to push a screwdriver into the ground. If you cannot insert the screwdriver easily, move onto a shovel. You should be able to sink half of the shovel into the soil with minimal resistance. If you find yourself jumping on the shovel, it’s time to aerate your lawn.
Different aerating tools
There are two main types of aeration tools: spike aerators and plug aerators. Spike aerators poke holes into the ground. Most people’s mind go straight to the spiked boots, which can be worn over shoes so that you can simply walk along your lawn to create small perforations. If you’re looking to use something you likely already have around the house, you can also aerate your lawn with a pitchfork. Simply press the fork about 3 inches into the soil and repeat every 4-5 inches. This works fine for smaller lawns, but if you have a large yard, you’ll probably want to choose a less time-consuming method.
Plug aerators poke holes and actually remove soil from the ground as well. By removing plugs of soil, you can increase the air flow and give your lawn a chance to absorb water and nutrients.
When to aerate
Trying to aerate a dry lawn can be incredibly frustrating, so it’s best to aerate after rainfall or when you have slightly moistened (not soggy!) soil. You also want to aerate before you apply fertilizer so that your lawn has the best chance of absorbing the fertilizer’s nutrients. If your lawn is new, wait at least a year for the grass to take root before you disrupt the soil with aeration.
Aeration can be a helpful process for proper lawn maintenance, but be careful to only aerate when your lawn actually needs it. Over-aerating can cause more harm than good! If you have questions about whether or not your lawn could benefit from aerating, contact a lawn care service professional. Give Hackmann Lawn & Landscape a call at (636) 688-6677 for a lawn aeration quote!