Aerating is, without question, the most important thing you can do for your lawn (besides mowing and watering). There are many different kinds of lawn aeration: solid tine and hollow core (plugging). But let’s first understand more about aeration and why it’s important.
What is Lawn Aeration?
Lawn aeration is the process of creating small holes in your lawn to allow for better air, water, and nutrient circulation. Over time, your lawn’s soil can become compacted, making it difficult for grass roots to absorb the necessary nutrients and water, or grow. Aeration helps to loosen the soil, allowing for better root growth and overall lawn health.
How Does an Aerator Work?
An aerator is a specialised tool that perforates the soil with small holes or slits, creating pockets of space for air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the roots of your lawn.
Solid tine aeration is the use of solid spikes which enter the ground creating vertical channels in the soil profile. These are often deeper and more numerous than when using hollow core tines. The energy needed to push these into the ground is greater than that of the solid tine therefore the result is often a shallow hole and less frequent ground penetration. The advantage of using a hollow core tine is if you want to “punch” through surface thatch or exchange soil by removing cores and then top dressing.
Why Your Lawn Needs Aeration
There are several reasons why your lawn may need aeration. If you notice that your lawn has brown patches or is slow to recover from foot traffic or other stresses, it may be a sign that your soil is too compacted. Aeration can also help to improve water and nutrient absorption, leading to a thicker, healthier lawn.
Can Aeration Hurt Your Lawn?
While aeration is generally considered safe and beneficial for your lawn, it’s important to understand that over-aeration or improper aeration can cause damage. For example, aerating your lawn too frequently or in the wrong season can cause stress to your grass and prevent it from recovering. If ground conditions are very wet or very dry you could harm the lawn or your machinery.
Additionally, using the wrong type of aerator or using an aerator that is too large for your lawn can cause damage to the roots of your grass.
When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?
The best time to aerate your lawn depends on a few factors, including the type of grass you have, the climate in your region, and the condition of your lawn. Generally, it’s recommended to aerate your lawn in the spring or autumn, when your grass is actively growing and the soil is moist.
More commonly summer aeration is being used to aid grass through hot summers and there is evidence that areas treated with deep tine aeration (100-150mm) can withstand dry periods much better.
If your lawn sees heavy foot traffic or is subjected to heavy machinery, such as lawn mowers, it may benefit from more frequent aeration.
How Do You Aerate Your Lawn?
If you’re interested in aerating your lawn, there are a few steps you can take to ensure success. First, you’ll need, you guessed it, an aerator. You can hire one from decent hardware or gardening stores, purchase or of course contact a specialist. As with all things ensure you have the machine set up correctly and ensure ground conditions are favourable.
Next, you’ll need to prepare your lawn for aeration by mowing it to the proper height and watering it thoroughly. This will help ensure that the soil is moist and that the aerator can penetrate the soil effectively.
Once you’re ready to aerate, make sure to follow the instructions for your aerator carefully. If you’re using a plug aerator, you’ll need to remove the plugs of soil from your lawn and dispose of them properly.
What are the benefits of solid tine aeration?
- Enabling oxygen, nutrients, and water to reach the root zone. A healthy root zone means good strong, healthy, growth above ground.
- Relieving compaction – also stimulating healthy growth as water can more easily soak into the soil helping the lawn retain moisture following a dry period.
- Aiding natural drainage if the lawn has become wet/waterlogged – will also help combat the growth of moss.
What are the benefits of hollow core aeration?
- As above plus…
- Relief of heavy compaction – when a lawn is heavily compacted, regularly walked or played on, hollowing greatly reduces compaction and will help restore the natural balance in the turf. It can be used to punch through thatch which would otherwise stop air, water and nutrients from ingressing into the soil.
- Removal of ‘cores’ or ‘plugs’ means there is an opportunity for some degree of soil exchange, for example, sand or a top dressing mix can be brushed into the holes left which can help to improve clay soil.
Aerating your lawn is an important part of maintaining a healthy and beautiful lawn. By understanding how aeration works, when to do it, and how to do it properly, you can ensure that your lawn stays lush and green all year round. Remember, if you’re unsure about how to aerate your lawn or when to do it, consult with a lawn care professional for expert guidance.