Looking out at your lawn, do you think it is as healthy as it should be? Possibly, weeds, pests, insects, or diseases are ruining that perfectly groomed appearance. In this case, you might consider lawn aeration.
Aeration is one of the most important maintenance tasks that need to be done on a lawn, however, most homeowners fail to do it.
Here’s why lawn aeration is really necessary and why you should be doing it on a regular basis.
Is Lawn Aeration Really Necessary?
Regular lawn aeration is necessary if you really want to keep your grass healthy and weed-free all year round. Aeration rids your lawn of unwanted clutter and build-up. It also promotes a thick, lush green lawn providing a fresh environment for grass seed to develop.
Lawn aeration is needed because it helps to reduce soil compaction. When the soil is compacted and has a dense particle population, it prevents the air, water, and nutrients in the soil from properly circulating.
In addition, excessive lawn thatch (i.e., the loose layer of living and dead grass tissue that’s accumulated on the lawn around the base of the grass), can also harbor pests and deprive the grassroots of the vital elements, making the lawn more prone to damage from disease and drought.
Aeration is a great and effective way to dethatch a lawn and ensure that any issues related to heavy thatch remain a problem of the past.
Other benefits of lawn aeration include reducing weeds over time; stimulating beneficial microorganisms; saving water and reducing run-off and puddling; improving heat, cold, and drought stress tolerance; creating a stronger turfgrass root system; increasing fertilizer uptake and use; improving air exchange between the soil and atmosphere.
Thus, you really need to aerate your lawn as this is probably the best treatment you can do for your yard. Aeration is so beneficial and is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy and vigorous lawn.
But let’s define what lawn aeration is and how it works.
What Is Lawn Aeration? How Does It Work?
Basically, aeration can be defined as the naturally occurring process of supplying or saturating with air. Practically speaking, the lawn aeration treatment involves mechanical removal of small plugs of thatch out of the lawn in order to improve soil aeration and help the growth of microbes that break down the thatch naturally.
The main goal of lawn aeration is to supply air and breathability to grass and the soil underneath it. Aeration loosens up the soil, providing the most efficient absorption and circulation of essential elements like oxygen, water, nutrients, pesticides, and fertilizer, to reach the grassroots so that they can grow deeply. This in turn produces a stronger, healthier, and beautifully lush lawn.
Although you can use a hand aerator, aeration is done mostly with a machine known as a core aerator that has spikes, hollow tines, or spoons installed on a disk or drum. The aerator punctures small holes in the lawn’s surface, pulls soil plugs or cores out and deposits them on the lawn.
How Do You Know If Your Lawn Needs To Be Aerated?
If in doubt, remove a section of the lawn of at least 6 inches deep. If you notice the grassroots spread only 1 or 2 inches into the soil, it might be compacted too much, and thus, it could be beneficial to aerate.
You may also perform a simple test by sticking a regular screwdriver into the soil. It should slide in quite easily but if you meet resistance, your soil is compacted and core aeration will benefit it.
However, you have to take into account the seasonal effect. For example, the grassroots of Fescue, which is the most common cool-season turf type in our Atlanta area, are the shortest in late summer and deepest in late spring.
If you are still not sure about whether your lawn needs aeration, here are some indicators that you should go ahead:
- The lawn is subject to regular, heavy traffic from humans, vehicles, or pets, causing the turf to thin or look unhealthy
- You may have compaction issues if your lawn looks stressed, the soil is hard to the touch, or rainwater puddles up where it used to be absorbed
- After taking out a slice of thatch with a shovel you’ll see the thatch layer is greater than half an inch
- You have heavy, dense soil
- The lawn dehydrates quickly and feels spongy or supple
- You have a new lawn that’s established as part of a recently built house. The top soil layer in such lawns is usually stripped or buried, and the grass planted on subsoil becomes compacted as a result of construction traffic
Does Lawn Aeration Improve Drainage?
If your lawn was created by turf and soil layering exists, aeration will help water drainage.
Soil layering in turf is undesirable as it disrupts the internal water drainage properties of the root-zone surface. This will lead to compacted conditions and poor development of roots.
Thus, a deep-tine aeration treatment would be suitable once the turf is well-rooted. This could be done with or without lawn topdressing, i.e. spreading a thin layer of material such as compost over the grass.
The deep-tine aeration process will improve drainage by breaking up the soil layering. The aerator will penetrate deep into the soil to increase water percolation, allowing water to flow through the soil and to the root system more easily.
What Time Of Year Is Best To Aerate Lawn?
The time of year that is best for your lawn aeration treatment depends on the type of grass you have as various types have different growing seasons. The most appropriate time to aerate is during the growing season because the weather during these periods will help control thatch and in general, will support the recovery of the lawn.
Here in Atlanta, it’s best to aerate in spring (between late April to June) for warm-season grasses such as Zoysia and Bermuda, or in fall (late August to about October) for cool-season grasses.
You should avoid aerating when warm-season grasses are dormant as this may encourage cool-season weed competition. Also, do not aerate warm-season grasses during spring green-up.
Should You Aerate Your Lawn Every Year?
Typically, aeration is a maintenance treatment performed every year. It is not a frequent task, but depending on the grass and your climate, you may need to aerate more or less often.
If the lawn is healthy and growing well or is not compacted, it’s not necessary to aerate each year, doing so every 2 or 3 years is enough. However, if you’re seeing signs of an unhealthy lawn due to heavy traffic or it compacts easily, it’s definitely best to aerate every year.
Remember that when the aeration process is done more than required, it can damage the grass and negatively affect the subtle balance between the grass growth and dormancy.
Now that you are familiar with the process of lawn aeration and why it is necessary, it’s fairly safe to conclude that this treatment should be considered a very important element for the health and growth of your lawn.
However, because aeration is not performed frequently, many homeowners don’t bother purchasing the equipment appropriate for the task. Thus, it is recommended to call in a professional who will get it done right.
At Guaranteed Green, we are trained in aeration, we can diagnose your lawn, use the proper equipment, and employ the correct tactics for each type of grass and soil.
We offer lawn aeration, among our many lawn treatment services, in the Atlanta Metro area. Give us a call today at 470-435-0222 to avail of our services, to learn more about aeration, or if you feel your lawn is looking a bit rough and aeration could be the solution.
If you have no time or energy but want to maintain or create a beautiful and healthy lawn, we can handle the lawn aeration process for you!