Your lawn breathes just like you do. It exchanges gases with the atmosphere as it grows. Aeration is a maintenance practice that many homeowners overlook, but one that should be incorporated into every lawn care regime for a thicker, healthier lawn.
What is aeration?
Aeration is the removal of a small core of soil or the punching of a thin hole into the soil. There are two kinds of tips, or "tines", that can be used on an aerator tool: hollow and solid. Of the two types, hollow tine aeration removes a solid plug of soil from the ground. This is most effective at improving air flow. In contrast, solid tine aeration punches a hole in the soil, removing thatch in the process. A thatch layer greater than ½ inch thick can prevent roots from getting the right amounts of air, light and water. While the solid tines are effective in removing thatch, the tine can compact the soil. For this reason, the hollow tine method is generally preferred.
Aeration provides a number of benefits that lead to a healthier lawn:
• Alleviates soil compaction
• Improves drainage
• Encourages deep root growth
• Reduces weed populations
• Increases fertilizer uptake
• Prevents thatch
When to aerate
We recommend an annual aeration with seasonal timing. Cool season turf should be aerated in the spring or the fall (or both to maximize the impact). Warm season turf should be aerated between mid-spring and summer, avoid aerating in the fall when your turf is dormant.
How to aerate
Manual and power equipment can be purchased or rented for the home aerator from many businesses specializing in lawn and garden supplies. Home aerators should tag sprinkler heads to avoid damaging irrigation set-ups. Aeration holes can be spaced 2-6 inches apart, and go anywhere from 1-6 inches deep. Don't feel up to the task? Call your local landscape company or garden center.
Seeding & fertilizing
Immediately following aeration, your lawn is ripe for seeding and fertilization. The holes provide excellent soil exposure for seeds and deliver fertilizer directly to the roots of your grass. Make sure you use high quality seed and use Milorganite at regular lawn care and application rates.