Aeration, or core cultivation, is standard lawn care. Aerating a lawn means supplying the soil with air, usually by poking holes in the ground throughout the lawn using an aerator. It reduces soil compaction and helps control thatch in lawns while helping water and fertilizer move into the root zone.
Aeration Tips and Facts
•Aeration is most effective when actual cores or plugs of soil are pulled from the lawn. Holes should be two to three inches deep and no more than two to six inches apart.
•Lawns should be thoroughly watered the day before aerating so plugs can be pulled more deeply and easily.
•Mark all sprinkler heads, shallow irrigation lines and cable TV lines before aerating so those lines will not be damaged.
•On thatchy lawns, it is important to leave the cores on the lawn, allowing them to work back into the grass. Otherwise, the cores may be removed or left on the lawn.
•Lawns may be fertilized and seeded immediately after aeration. There is no need to top dress lawns following aeration.
•Thatch thickness and soil composition really can determine whether your water will penetrate the roots of your lawn or simply run off or evaporate without doing much good. Thatch can create a vicious cycle: More than a half inch of thatch will thicken from over watering while keeping water from reaching healthy grass roots during critical growing seasons.
What will aeration do for my lawn?
As lawns age or sustain heavy use from play, sports activities, pets, vehicle traffic and parking, soil compaction can result. Soil compacting forces are most severe in poorly drained or wet sites. Compaction greatly reduces the pore space within the soil that would normally hold air. Roots require oxygen to grow and absorb nutrients and water. Compaction reduces total pore space and the amount of air within the soil. It has a negative impact on nutrient uptake and water infiltration, in addition to being a physical barrier to root growth. This results in poor top growth and lawn deterioration. Core aeration can benefit your lawn by:
•Increasing the activity of soil microorganisms that decompose thatch.
•Increasing water, nutrient and oxygen movement into the soil.
•Enhancing infiltration of rainfall or irrigation.
•Helping prevent fertilizer and pesticide run-off from overly compacted areas.
Other reasons to aerate include:
•Your lawn is heavily used or driven upon on a regular basis, causing the turf to thin or look unhealthy.
•The thatch layer is in excess of 1/2 inch.
•You have a heavy clay soil
Q: How do I know if my yard needs to be aerated?
A: To be honest any yard can benefit from at least an annual aeration. Any areas of high traffic that look worn, yards that don’t green up after fertilizing or brown easily in high heat conditions, yards with poor drainage that have standing water after it rains, and homes built on poor subsoil with clay are all excellent reasons to aerate your yard.
Q: When should I aerate and how often?
A: We recommend aerating twice a year in both Spring ( Mar – May ) and Fall ( Aug- Nov ) for most grass types. At a minimum aeration should be done at least once a year.
Q: What do I do after I aerate?
A: There are a few things you can do right after aerating like fertilizing, overseeding, and watering. What you decide depends on your personal preference and the condition of your yard. ( Reference the next three Q & A’s )
Q: What will I achieve by watering my lawn after aeration?
A: Just watering your lawn after aeration can be very beneficial at helping to break down the cores created by the aeration itself. It also allows water direct access to those newly exposed roots. If you are planning on fertilizing with your watering make sure to read all of the instructions on the fertilizer about when or if it should be watered in.
Q: Should I fertilize after aeration?
A: Yes, now is the best time to fertilize while the holes created by the aeration are still open, allowing access to the root system and before the cores start to break down. Always make sure to use the correct fertilizer treatment for the appropriate season. Also remember not to use a fertilizer with any sort of weed control or crabgrass preventer if you also plan on overseeding. If you ARE NOT overseeding a fertilizer with weed control will be fine to use.
Q: Is it a good idea to overseed after aerating?
A: If your lawn looks thin in places it never hurts to overseed after aeration. Keep in mind if you are going to overseed, plan on having your yard aerated early in the season, so as to give the seed the maximum amount of time to germinate. You should also try to overseed the same day or within a day or so after your aeration while the holes are still open and before the cores start to break down. Just another reminder if you’re fertilizing along with overseeding, DO NOT use a fertilizer with weed control. If you do, your seed will not germinate properly. If you want to fertilize in conjunction with overseeding ( which is a good idea ), just use a starter fertilizer or one without any type of weed control.
Q: How do I know weather or not to aerate or dethatch?
A: Unless you have a thatch layer that is greater than two inches, you would probably benefit more from just aerating because aeration can do two steps in one. It will break up moderate thatch buildup while also reducing soil compaction at the same time.
Q: Can aeration alone fix a yard in distress?
A: The easy answer would be that aeration will always help a yard, but may not be the end all be all. Any good lawn care program should include fertilizing, overseeding, and watering in conjunction with aeration. It should be noted that a distressed yard could be caused by other sources as well, for example various types of bugs and insects.
Q: Can I aerate myself and how much will it cost?
A: Absolutely you can. Most rental chains will charge between $55 - $80 dollars to rent a machine for 4 hours usually. You will also have to find a way to pick up and return the machine, not to mention it can be labor intensive. The other option would be to hire Eco -Lawn System, LLC for probably the same price and we do everything for you.
Q: How deep do the aerators penetrate and what is the spacing between cores?
A: Our machines have the potential to penetrate up to 3” deep. It can be a little more or less than this depending on your type of soil and how compacted it is. The cores will be spaced approximately every 2”– 6”.
Q: Can I aerate newly laid sod and/or seeded grass?
A: For newly laid sod you should NOT aerate until somewhere between 8–12 months after it has been laid ( it depends on the month or time of year the sod was laid ). For a seeded lawn, aeration should not be done until the seedlings reach maturity. Back to top
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We will not take responsibility for damages to any obstruction not clearly marked.
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