Lawn Aeration

Lawn aeration is one of the most important, and neglected, practices available for your lawn. Lawns that receive regular aeration will be:

  • Greener
  • Easier to maintain
  • Suffer from fewer pest problems and disease

 Aerating lawns also:

  • Helps control thatch build up
  • Improves the soil structure
  • Helps create growth pockets for new roots
  • Opens the way for water and fertilizer to get into the root zone of your lawn

Beautiful green lawn (Lot 390, Manors of Deerwood | Robert R. Jones Homes | Clarkston, Michigan)Soil compaction is a frequent cause of turf deterioration. Soils that are hard and compacted have no nooks and crannies to hold the water, air or nutrients. Without these crucial components, root growth is virtually impossible and greatly impeded.

If your lawn’s roots aren’t growing, the grass won’t develop the root system that is essential to survive in hot/dry or harsh/cold periods.

Aerating is really beneficial any place your lawn slopes. If you aerate, water will soak into these sloped areas, instead of just running off quickly before it can soak in. If you’ve noticed these dry slopes, it’s because the water just isn’t getting down to the roots. Aerating will help the problem.

How often should you aerate?

Aerator attachment (Lovesgreenlawn | wikipedia.org)

Photo credit: Lovesgreenlawn (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you maintain your lawn to a high standard or if your soil is heavy and tends to compact, you may need aeration twice a year.

Sandy soils do not become compacted as easily and may only need aeration every few years.

When should you aerate?

What type of grass do you have? Cool season or warm season? The best time to aerate is during the peak growing season for the type of grass you have.

For cool season lawns it is best to aerate lawns between August and early October. The next best time is in the spring. Wait until you have mowed the grass twice before aerating.

If you aerate in the fall, aerate at least 30 days before the ground freezes. This will ensure that your lawn has the opportunity to recover before winter dormancy.

The best time to aerate warm season lawns is in late spring or early summer.

Common cool season lawn species include:

  • Bluegrass
  • Bent grasses
  • Fescues
  • Rye grasses

Cool season lawns grow best during temperatures of 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit (spring and fall). When it’s hot and dry, they can go dormant or even die.

Common warm season lawn species include:

  • Bermuda grass
  • Saint-Augustine grass
  • Zoysia grass
  • Buffalo grass

Warm season lawns grow best with temperatures between 80-95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whether you aerate your lawn in the spring, summer or fall, use your own aerator, contract for it or rent one at your local rental supplier. Aeration is essential to a good looking, well maintained lawn.

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