It’s important to aerate your lawn once or twice a year. Lawn aeration is an easy to do, but often-overlooked, step in lawn maintenance. But, if you incorporate it into your lawn’s care, you’ll find your lawn becoming healthier and more beautiful, while using less resources like water and fertilizer.
Aeration is simply the act of making holes in the soil underneath your lawn. This allows your grass’s roots, air, water and nutrients to travel more freely through the soil. According to Bob Formisano of About.com, “Aeration is the secret weapon in making your lawn healthy.” Core aeration, in which actual cores of soil are removed from your lawn to create larger punctures than spikes do, is useful when soil is densely compacted or thick thatch is present. Any form of lawn aeration, however, will improve water drainage and distribution, and allow roots and new growth to establish thrmselves more strongly.
The best time to aerate your lawn depends on the type of soil and the type of lawn you have. If you have densely compacted soil, such as clay, you may want to aerate twice a year. If you only aerate once a year, the best time is right before your grass emerges from its dormant state. So aerate in late spring if you have warm-season grasses. Late summer or early fall is a better time for lawn aeration for cool-season grasses. When it’s time to aerate your lawn, you have two basic questions to answer in order to choose your lawn aeration tools: core or spike aeration, and manual or power aerator? Core aeration is generally preferred when compacted soil is an issue, but spike aeration may work fine for your yard. Manual aerators are less expensive but more labor intensive. Power aerators are, not surprisingly, more powerful. But they can be comparatively bulky, and may require a fair amount of muscle to manipulate. Power aerators can usually be rented from your local hardware store. Manual aerators are small and inexpensive enough that you’d probably want to just purchase one if you decide to go the manual route.
Here are a few tips to make your lawn aeration experience as pain-free and productive as possible:
Maintaining your lawn can be a lot of work. If you incorporate lawn aeration into your maintenance plan, however, you’ll find that the rest of the work you do will go farther and yield better, longer-lasting results.