What exactly is soil aeration?
Everyone wants to be able to show off their garden to their neighbors, friends and family, but not everyone has time to maintain their lawn. Even if you find yourself only dedicating a small amount of time to lawn care and gardening, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you achieve impressive results with minimal effort.
One of the best kept secrets related to lawn maintenance is soil aeration. Outside of the traditional water and sunlight that plants need to thrive, the process of soil aeration is the biggest contributor to a garden’s health. In this article, we explain what soil aeration is, what it does and why it is so important, in addition to providing you with expert tips on how to improve soil aeration in order to ensure that your lawn and garden look better than ever.
What is soil aeration?
Soil aeration involves creating holes in the ground that allow oxygen to enter the soil and reach the roots of plants. This allows for better root growth and reduces the time it takes for seeds to germinate.
The reason this is done is to ensure that plant roots receive the amount of oxygen that they need in order to thrive. It can often be the case that compacted soils encompass a plant or individual grass blades on an entire lawn. Without aeration, the roots would be starved of oxygen and root development would be hindered.
The process of soil aeration is extremely simple and can be achieved in a variety of different ways. Something as simple as digging a garden fork throughout your lawn, for example, can be considered aerating your lawn. Alternatively, you can use specialized equipment to create pathways. Essentially, any method that you use to loosen the soil and create tunnels for air to reach your plant or grass roots is soil aeration.
Why is soil aeration important?
Soil aeration is important because plants need water, nutrients, sunlight, and oxygen in order to survive. If they are denied these essential elements, they will begin to die.
In addition to allowing an adequate amount of oxygen to reach the roots, soil aeration also improves nutrient uptake as it creates more direct avenues for fertilization. This ensures that root development thrives and that your lawn is always healthy.
4 causes of poor soil aeration
If you are sure that your garden is getting enough sunlight and water, but your plants and grass are still struggling to bloom, there is a good chance that poor soil aeration is the problem. In order to achieve a more permanent solution, you should try and identify the underlying cause of poor aeration.
The moisture of your soil is extremely important. If the soil is too moist, you will struggle to get adequate air to the roots of your plants. When soil becomes waterlogged, it also becomes extremely dense and heavy, thereby preventing any kind of nutrients from getting past the soil’s surface.
Many people wrongly assume that a lot of water is good, even key to a healthy lawn. In reality, however, too much water can do a lot of damage to a garden. It is therefore essential that you do not over water your garden as it will cause poor aeration and will overwhelm your grass.
The extent of a soil’s aeration also depends, to a large extent, on its texture. Finer soil textures tend to be less aerated, which will cause you problems. This is because finer soil textures are made up of lots of small particles, which are more likely to cause soil compaction when they join together and become large clusters of dense soil.
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Regular foot traffic over the soil can also cause poor aeration. If you have a lot of people, vehicles, or livestock regularly walking or driving over your land, they are going to be continuously compacting the soil, which in turn will reduce the aeration of the soil.
Although organic matter can be an excellent source of fertilization, too much of it can cause an aeration problem. When organic matter and micro organisms decompose, they release a high volume of carbon dioxide, which, in turn, limits the oxygen supply to the roots of your grass. Moreover, the carbon dioxide levels themselves might become toxic enough to kill your lawn.
Factors that affect soil aeration
There are a number of factors that can affect soil aeration, in a positive as well as negative way. Here are factors that you should be monitoring in order to have healthy soil:
- Amount of air space
- Amount of organic matter present
- Soil moisture
- The seasons
- Soil fertility
- Soil type and texture
- Soil depth
- Soil aggregation
When to aerate your soil
The best time to aerate your lawn is either in late spring or early fall. The latter is because of the harsh conditions that plants and grass face during the winter months. You want to ensure that your plants are in the best possible condition before you leave them to fend for themselves in the harsh winter.
On the other hand, if you also want to plant additional lawn seeds and overseed your lawn, you can aerate your lawn in the spring as spring is the best time for plants to grow and thrive. Therefore, if you are also planting new seeds alongside your aeration, spring is the time to do it.
How to aerate your soil
Make sure the soil is damp
While we have emphasized the fact that you do not want your lawn to be waterlogged as this will limit the extent of its aeration, you do want the soil to be slightly wet. It is virtually impossible to aerate bone dry soil as it will not cooperate. The best time to aerate your lawn is after a light rain. Alternatively, you can use a hose to dampen the soil. This will allow you to manipulate the soil according to your needs.
Use an aeration tool
You can perform this next step by choosing from one of the many aeration tools on the market, such as plug aerators, aerator shows, or good old-fashioned gardening forks. Whichever method you choose, make sure you go over your garden a few times as most tools do not penetrate the soil as much as you might need them to.
Hire lawn care professionals to aerate your lawn
What to do after aeration
The first thing you should do after aeration is go around your garden and break up all the plugs of soil that will inevitably accumulate across the turf. The ultimate aim of aeration is to create an aesthetically pleasing garden, so you do not want lumps of soil to be scattered around a terrain you’ve worked so hard to get into shape.
Once you’ve done this, you then need to ensure that you commit to regular lawn maintenance. This includes making sure your garden is getting enough water and ensuring that it is receiving enough nutrients and fertilizer.
Lawn care services
In order to maintain a healthy garden, you need to do more than just aerate the soil. At ForeverGreen we understand how difficult it can be to carve out time to dedicate to lawn care, especially if you are working, have a family, or a busy schedule.
This is why we offer customer different lawn care packages. Whichever one you choose, you will be guaranteed regular visits by our lawn care experts, who have both the knowledge and experience required to ensure that your lawn is well looked after. Our comprehensive packages include pest control, weed control, and aeration services to ensure that your lawn thrives.