Lawn aeration is the procedure of punching little openings around your lawn to encourage strong, deep root development and proper nutrient uptake for the grass. The easiest way to aerate your lawn is with a gas-powered machine called a center aerator that hollows out little pieces of grass and soil. Different aerators utilize short spikes to punch gaps in the turf. Spiking is not as successful as center lawn aeration, but rather it's sufficient for those lacking lawn aeration.
Let it Breathe
Lawn aeration does precisely what it seems like it would, and then some. Air is beneficial to solid root development, so it shouldn't shock you that lawn aeration is something worth being thankful for. Aeration for your lawn gets oxygen and nutrients through the top layer, encourages the roots to grow, and enhances water and supplement infiltration. Providing this circulation of air also helps to create the ideal environment for the microorganisms that feed your lawn. Lawn aeration yearly is one of the best things you can do to build a strong, beautiful yard.
Lawn aeration is not as extensive an operation as dethatching, for example. You wind up with some little cubes of soil everywhere throughout the grass, which can either be left in place to slowly disentigrate or raked up. So, when contrasted with dethatching, which can destroy a lawn, aeration leaves the grass fit as a fiddle. Thus, in the event that you have some thatching issue, lawn aeration once per year likely takes care of any concerns.
Signs that your lawn could use aeration, include:
- Worn out walkways and patches
- Puddles forming in the wake of flooding
- Water doesn’t absorb into the soil evenly
- Parts of the lawn that just can't retain moisture, for whatever reason
All the time we spend walking on our lawns or running cars, equipment, and materials over it can compress the soil, essentially pushing all the air out over time, which is why it is harder for some parts of your lawn to absorb water and nutrients. Roots that can’t push further into the soil will cause grass in that area to be more vulnerable to disease and pests, as well.
A necessity for many homeowners
Certain soils are more susceptible to compacting problems than others. If you live in an area with clay soils it will take just a few months to start noticing grass being affected by standard foot traffic. The only way to combat this is to aerate it. How often you do this is up to you and what you can afford, but the recommended minimum is once per year. The added bonus of aerating lawns with clay soil is that you will have much less runoff whenever you get heavy rains, since the soil is absorbing more of it. You may want to consider purchasing your own gas-powered lawn aerator if you are going to aerate more than once per year.