If soil is compacted and thatch builds up on your lawn, it can prevent air and water from penetrating deep into the soil. Thatch and organic debris under the surface can starve the roots. One way to make sure nutrients get down deep into the soil is to aerate your lawn. Aerating a lawn alleviates soil compaction. Aeration is a process of poking small holes in the soil that allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate to the roots of the grass so the roots can grow deep and you can have a healthy lawn.
When You Should Aerate Your Lawn
Some lawns can benefit from aeration. You should consider aerating your lawn if it gets a lot of use, was established recently with a newly built house, dries out quickly and feels spongy, or was established with sod and has soil layering.
You should aerate your lawn during the growing season. That will allow the grass to heal and fill in open areas left behind when soil plugs are removed. If your lawn has cool season grass, aerate in the early spring or fall. If it has warm season grass, aerate in the late spring.
Types of Aerating Tools
There are two types of tools that can be used to aerate a lawn. A spike aerator is used to poke holes in the ground. A plug aerator removes plugs or cores of grass and soil from the ground. An aerating tool that removes plugs of grass will provide better results. It should remove plugs of grass 2 to 3 inches deep and ½ to ¾ inch in diameter about 2 to 3 inches apart. You can rent an aerator from a lawn and garden or home improvement store. Follow the directions that come with the machine.
Aerate Your Lawn When the Soil Is Moist
The soil should be moist before you aerate the lawn. It is a good idea to do the job the day after it rains or after you water your lawn. You will need to make several passes over areas that are very compacted. Let the soil plugs dry and then run your lawn mower over them or break them up with the back of a rake.
Water Your Lawn after You Aerate
After you aerate your lawn, you should fertilize, mow, and water it like you normally do. A sprinkler system can help you make sure your lawn gets the right amount of water. You can program it to water your lawn on a schedule so it gets the right amount of moisture, even when you are not home. Sprinkler System Store sells a variety of sprinkler systems and timers. Order one today.
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