Lawn Aeration Tips
Core Aeration Tips for The DIY Homeowner:
- An aeration is the single best thing you can do for your lawn. A core aeration is much more beneficial than a spike aeration.
- A core aeration will take plugs from the soil. This allows air and nutrients to travel more easily and deeper into the soil. It also gives roots more room to expand and reduces the thatch layer.
- An aeration is more beneficial in the fall, but they can also be performed in the spring if need be. It is always a good idea to aerate before you over-seed or slit-seed.
The “hole” truth about aerating your lawn
Aerating your lawn is a great way to reduce thatch, loosen up compacted soils and make it easier for water and nutrients to reach the roots of your turf.
Even with the best care available, lawns can thin out and lose color due to excessive thatch buildup, too much foot traffic or pet traffic through specific areas that create hard or compacted soils, or periods of high temperature, high humidity, or drought. Aerating and overseeding is recognized by turf experts such as golf course superintendents as the best treatment to control thatch, helps reduce those compacted areas, fills in bare spots and revitalize growth.
The two-step process guaranteed to improve your lawn.
An aeration treatment removes small cores of soil and thatch to allow air, moisture, and nutrients to penetrate down to the root zone. The cores brought to the surface contain microorganisms, which help the breakdown of the woody thatch tissue layer just below the lawn’s crown. As the thatch layer is broken down, it is converted into organic matter that will then combine with existing soil particles.
Also, as the cores begin to break down over a period of several weeks, the holes gradually fill in with a mixture of organic matter and soil, and the filled hole allows roots of existing grass plants to spread out and grow deeper, creating a healthier, thicker lawn.
Ideal time for Aeration
Because the aeration process is stressful on lawns, it should only be done during periods just before active growth is expected. For cool season grasses, those typically found in the northern half of the country, this would be in early spring or early fall, the 2 times of the year when cool-season grasses really grow. During the hot summer months, cool season grasses really slow down in the growing department and this is not a good time to be aerating. If you’re planning on aerating in the spring and you plan on using a crabgrass control product, you’ll want to aerate before the pre-emergent application is made, which is as a rule around the time when forsythias first start blooming.
For warm season grasses, the highest period of growth is when it’s warmest. So aeration would be good if done in early summer.
Overseeding in cool-season areas, will fill-in bare or thin spots and help build a thicker lawn faster. The new seed quickly takes root in the freshly aerated lawn and provides new life to your already established grass. As your lawn gets thicker and healthier, your new grass plants help reduce the chance of new weeds sprouting.