In simple terms aeration is perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the roots. It allows the roots to grow deeply and produces a stronger lawn.
The main reason for aerating is to reduce soil compaction. Compacted soils have too many solid particles which prevents proper circulation of air, water and nutrients within the soil. Excess lawn thatch or heavy organic debris buried under the lawn surface can also starve the roots from these essential elements.
Should I aerate?
One of the most common questions our growers get from customers is Should I aerate? and the simple answer is does your lawn:
- Gets heavy use, with kids and pets running around the yard?
- Was the lawn installed as newly constructed home? – often there isn’t to much prep work done is this is the case.
- Does your lawn dry out easily?
- Does it feel spongy or does it have an excessive thatch problem?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, chances are you need to aerate.
When to Aerate Your Lawn
The best time for aeration is during the growing season, ideally in Spring or Summer when the grass can heal and fill in any open areas after soil plugs are removed.
Plug Aerator vs. Spike Aerator
Two main aerating tools exist, a spike aerator and a plug aerator. With a spike aerator, you simply use the tool to poke holes into the ground. Plug aerators on the other hand remove a core or plug of grass and soil from the lawn. For the best results, use an aerating machine available from any hire shop. Poking holes is less effective and can actually cause additional compaction in the areas around the holes.
Always follow the directions provided by the hire shop, they can be fast / heavy machines. You may also want to consider sharing the rental cost with a neighbours.
How to Aerate Your Lawn
Here are some lawn care tips on how to do it:
Before you get started, make sure the soil is moist enough. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to aerate soil that is bone dry, even an aerating machine will struggle to remove plugs from dry soil. Aerating after watering your lawn the day before is advised.
Most aeration machines cover only a small percentage of soil surface per pass, so make multiple passes over the most compacted areas.
The excavated soil plugs should be allowed to dry and then broken up to give your lawn a uniform, clean appearance. Break them up by running them over with a lawn mower
An aeration myth is that if you apply a pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn in the spring, aerating your lawn will destroy the herbicide “barrier.” This is not true — research shows that aeration will not affect weed prevention.
After aerating, it’s important to continue basic lawn care practices such as fertilising, mowing and watering.
We recommend making aeration an integral part of your lawn care regime. Your lawn will thank you for letting it breathe again.