Everyone wants a great lawn: lush, a vibrant green, and the envy of the neighborhood. An attractive lawn doesn’t come easily though - it takes a lot of effort, proper care, and maintenance. Not to mention, holistic lawn care extends beyond just watering regularly and raking leaves; you need to fertilize and aerate your lawn as well.
Aeration is the process of breaking up the soil by permeating it with a serious of small holes. This allows air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass. This is needed most when your lawn’s soil is compacted. This can happen from heavy use and play. It is also common if your home is newly constructed. These days construction companies will typically remove the topsoil (to sell later), and then continuously run over the ground with heavy construction equipment and vehicles, compacting your soil, making it dense and harder for nutrients to reach your lawn’s roots. Aeration is also beneficial if your soil feels dry or is rubbery and spongy. If this is the case for your soil, then it could be suffering from too much random debris such as mulch, sticks, stones, or other non-grass materials. When correctly done, aeration can help alleviate or even solve these problems.
The frequency and timing of core aerating your lawn depends on your environment and grass type. If you have a warm season grass, such as Bermuda or Zoysia, then you will want to aerate your lawn in the late spring. If you have a cool season grass, then early spring or even fall is the way to go for these grasses. This is because these are the times when the grasses’ roots are growing for the year, this growth will fill in the holes and the grass roots will grow stronger with the increase in nutrients and water from the holes.
In order to properly aerate your lawn, unfortunately you can’t just pay the neighborhood kids to run around with their soccer cleats on, you will need a proper aeration device. A proper device will create beneficial holes in your lawn, without further compacting the soil. Some cheaper devices will create holes with simple spikes, others will actually remove small cylinders or plugs of dirt. If you can afford to rent or even buy it, it is recommended to use this second type of aerator, one that actually removes dirt, as it more effectively brings air, water, and nutrients to your roots and soil.
With your aerator in hand you may think you’re ready to go! Not so fast! After you’ve read the instructions make sure to follow these tips to make sure your lawn gets the most out of the hard work you put into it:
First off, you want to ensure an even and consistent pattern when aerating your lawn. Do this by sticking with a set pattern, and then going back over areas for a more even distribution of holes. Every machine will have a different pattern in the spread of holes, and sometimes going over the same stretch of land a second time but in the opposite direction can fill in the gaps your machine’s pattern missed the first time.
Also, you want to make sure your soil is moistened before you begin. You don’t want your lawn soaked, but slightly wet lawn will be easier to aerate than a dry one. Once you are you’re satisfied with the amount of aerating you’ve done, you are going to want to let the pieces of dirt you removed to dry. After they have dried, you should go over your lawn with a lawnmower to break up the clumps of dirt that you removed and help disperse them back into the soil. This will ensure an even distribution and completes a healthy aeration processes.
Follow these tips and your lawn will be its vibrant and healthy self again in no time!
If you find that you don't have the time, energy, or equipment to tackle lawn aeration on your own, Mighty Green Lawn Care provides core aeration services to the entire Birmingham area. Give us a call at (205) 290-1999 to learn more about how we can help improve the health and appearance of your lawn.