Why and when you should aerate your lawn?
Everyone knows that they need to mow their lawn and get rid of weeds, but did you know you also need to aerate your lawn? Most people just stick to the bare minimum when it comes to lawn maintenance and whilst that might ensure your garden looks presentable for a while, you will eventually notice issues with your lawn. If you want to maintain a healthy lawn year-round, you need to commit to regular lawn aeration. In this guide, we tell you everything you need to know about lawn aeration.
What is lawn aeration?
The process of lawn aeration is designed to allow more air, water, and nutrients into your soil. It consists of poking tiny holes into your soil surface. This can be done using different gardening tools.
These tiny plugs of soil improve the airflow into your lawn, whilst also minimizing soil compaction, ensuring there is enough room for oxygen, water, and nutrients to move and reach the grassroots. When your grass roots are exposed to the correct amount of sustenance, they thrive, which allows you to maintain a healthier lawn.
How does an aerator work?
There are two common types of aerators: plug aerators, and spike aerators. Both penetrate a few inches deep in order to meet the root of the grass, but they do so in different ways. A spike aerator simply pushes all the soil down to create tiny passages, whereas the soil plug pulls out the small pocket of grass.
If you are wondering which type of aerator you should use, we always suggest plug aerators because it frees up more space. Once holes are created in the grass, there's enough space for additional water, oxygen, and nutrients to make their way to the roots, hence making it easier for the grass blades to get what they need to grow.
Why aerate your lawn?
Decompress the soil
Compacted soil can create a lot of problems for your grass. Not only does it prevent nutrients from reaching your grassroots, but it also prevents the proper flow of water. When water can’t filter through your grass, you end up with a waterlogged lawn, which not only drowns the grass but can also kill other plants.
It is therefore extra important to aerate your lawn if you are in a climate where it rains a lot. Regardless of if you have cool-season grass or warm-season grass, you will struggle to revive it if it drowns. Keeping your lawn properly aerated will prevent it from becoming waterlogged and you give your grass the best chance of survival, even in adverse weather conditions.
Get nutrients to the root
The number one factor contributing to the survival of a lawn is the amount of nutrients your grass roots are able to obtain. Plants rely on their roots to collect food and water for them, it is their only path to survival, and if that path is blocked, as is the case with non-aerated lawns, the grass will die. In order to ensure you grow a beautiful lawn where root development and grass growth are not a problem, you need to ensure there are clear passages for nutrients to travel to the roots of your grass.
Maintain an even lawn
If you don’t aerate your lawn, you will see healthy patches of grass as well as yellow or brown patches. Why is this? Every lawn has areas that are frequently used and areas where no one steps. The parts that experience heavy foot traffic will have additional compaction, which means those areas won’t grow as healthy. You will end up with an uneven-looking lawn that is not aesthetically pleasing.
When to aerate your lawn
When you aerate your lawn depends on the type of grass you have in your garden. The optimal time to aerate your lawn is when it reaches peak natural growth. This is different for each species of grass. As a general rule of thumb, if you have cool-season grass you should aerate it in early fall or early spring. If you have warm-season grass, you should wait until late spring or early summer.
If you want to put minimum effort into lawn aeration, you should wait until it has softened. If you get a bout of rainfall during the optimal time for your grass to be aerated, you should set out with your aerator the next day. After all, it is easier to make holes in wet soil!
How to aerate your lawn
Clear your lawn
First things first, make sure your lawn is clear. Whether you need to rake all the leaves off your lawn or put away your kids' toys, you need to have a completely clear working area. If you skip this step, you will be stopping and starting every 10 minutes to move things out of the way. If you take 5 minutes at the start to clear your grass, it will be much easier to aerate your lawn.
Once your grass is clear, you can start the aeration process. Aerating your lawn is very similar to mowing your lawn due to the fact that a lawn aerator and lawn mower work in similar ways. Just like with a lawn mower, all you need to do is roll your aerator over the entirety of your lawn. However, you need to put in an extra bit of effort when aerating because the aerator will only penetrate a small amount of soil each time. Make sure to roll over each area multiple times in order to reach deep roots.
Fertilize your lawn
The final step in this process is the application of fertilizer. If you used a plug aerator, you can leave the plugs on your lawn as they will break up and lightly fill the holes. You can then put fertilizer on top, which will provide your grass with an extra boost of nutrients.
How often should you aerate grass?
On average, we recommend aerating your grass once a year. This annual aeration should be increased to multi-year aeration if you have a hard type of soil or clay soil. The softer your soil, the less you have to aerate it because it creates natural passages for nutrients and water to reach the roots.
What should you do after aerating your lawn?
After aerating your lawn, you should mow your lawn. This will help to even it out. You should also apply fertilizer to your lawn as it will provide your grassroots with the extra nutrients they need to thrive.
Lawn care aeration services
Lawn aeration is a key element of lawn care that many people overlook. However, with busy schedules and other responsibilities, many people struggle to keep up with lawn maintenance. Thankfully, Vertdure offers different lawn care packages to make your life easier. Our lawn care specialists can aerate your lawn, control weeds, restore your lawn and much more.