Lawn Core Aeration
Written by Todd Fratzel.
Lawn Core Aeration is a simple process of removing small cores of soil and grass to allow air, water and nutrients into the root zone. Another way of aerating a lawn is to use a spike aerator that punches spikes into the lawn to make small holes. However, this method isn’t considered as effective as core aerating.
What are the Benefits of Aerating Your Lawn?
The biggest benefit to aerating your lawn is allow sufficient oxygen to reach the grass roots. Heavy soil compaction severely reduces the pore space around grass roots which limits the amount of oxygen in that region. Roots require oxygen to grow and absorb water and nutrients. Core aeration benefits lawns by:
- Increasing the activity of soil microorganisms that decompose thatch
- Enhancing water infiltration from rainfall and irrigation
- Improving root growth
- Increasing water, oxygen and nutrient movement in the root zone
- Helping to prevent run off of fertilizers and pesticides
How do you determine if your lawn needs aeration?
Most lawns can benefit from lawn aeration. However, the biggest reasons to aerate are heavily used lawns, thatch layers greater than 1/2 inch and soils that are mostly clay. An easy way to test your soil is to peal back a section and check the depth of roots. If the roots are only a couple inches deep then your lawn could probably benefit from core aeration.
When should you aerate?
For cool season grasses like we have here in New Hampshire the best time to aerate is in late August or early September when the grass is coming out of the summer dormancy. The grass begins to grow at a rapid rate again and there is little competition from weeds. Lawns should be aerated when the soil is slightly moist, either a day after rainfall or irrigation.
How do you aerate a lawn?
The best way to core aerate a lawn is to rent a mechanical core aerator from a local rental shop. If you have a large lawn like mine you may want to consider buying a core aerator like the one I just purchased. You can buy the John Deere Tow Behind Plug Aerator over at Rungreen.com. They are a very professional online retailer that specializes in John Deere equipment. I’ll definitely purchase additional John Deere products from them based on my customer service experiences so far. Regardless of the type you use, regular lawn aeration will help keep your lawn looking it’s best.
Lawn Aerating Tips
Check out my Lawn Aerating Tips post which talks about the most effective way to aerate lawns including a discussion about plug aerators vs spike aerators. Not all aerators are created equal!
Also, if you’re looking to purchase a plug aerator you can buy the John Deere model I own, John Deere Tow Behind Plug Aerator over at Rungreen.com. There are cheaper models available from other manufactures at Amazon, Agri-Fab 40-Inch Plug Aerator or Precision Products 42-Inch Plug Aerator. If all of this seems like too much work you can always hire a lawn service to do it for you.
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