A lush, green looking lawn is the cornerstone of any beautiful looking garden. However, achieving it, in reality, is often harder than just making sure it is regularly cut and watered, or we would all have perfect gardens!

To have a healthy lawn, you need to make sure that the grass roots have access to the right amount of water and air. Aerating your lawn helps ensure that your grass gets the oxygen it needs to grow.

Your lawn will benefit from less compaction, shallow-rooted plants, and wet soil if you aerate it. Because of heavy use or continuous foot traffic, the soil may become compacted, which indicates that the soil has lost its macroporosity or the space between particles.

The removal of plugs from your lawn as part of the aeration process helps relieve compaction. This makes it possible for fauna (such as microorganisms and earthworms, among other things) to make their way down into the soil and assist in the decomposition of roots that have died.

What kinds of tools do I require?

Whilst you can do it by hand, core aerators are the most effective pieces of equipment for aerating. These are straightforward machines consisting of hollow tines (prongs) connected to a power source. In order to alleviate compaction, they function by removing clumps or plugs of soil. A core aerator would remove large chunks of soil, but hand aerators only take out smaller pieces. These are helpful in places frequently traversed by foot traffic or in areas of the lawn dominated by weeds and brush rather than turfgrass.

It is possible to manually remove plugs from your lawn using a shovel or a spade if necessary; however, this will take an extremely long time, so I would recommend either renting an aerator or using a hand aerator instead.

Should I still do this even though the soil is clay?

Yes! One of the most widespread misunderstandings regarding aeration is the idea that it is only beneficial for sandy soil. Digging up the plugs will help break up some of the clumps in your lawn, which will help with drainage and allow oxygen and water to get deeper into the roots of the plants rather than evaporating or remaining on top of them (which happens more often than not).

When should I perform the aeration?

Waiting until late summer or early autumn will produce the best results because this will give the new growth the best chance of penetrating through the cores and establishing itself before the onset of winter (even though the cores will be visible for about a month or more).

Because an excessive amount of moisture and nutrients in the soil can mask how difficult (or easy) it is to push an aerator through your lawn, if you can’t wait, you should reduce the amount of watering and fertilizing you do.

You can still aerate your lawn at other times of the year if the weather prevents you from doing it during the optimal time of the year. However, you should be aware that it may take your lawn more time to recover its green colour if you do it later in the summer.

You should avoid attempting to aerate the soil when the conditions are wet because this creates muddy areas that will bake into the soil and create a hardpan (a compacted layer that water can’t penetrate) if it dries out, making future aeration efforts much more difficult.

Do I need to water after aeration?

No, aerobic conditions should be maintained until the plugs have firmly rooted back into the soil, which typically takes between one and two weeks, depending on the type of soil and the weather conditions. If you live in an area that experiences long periods of drought or if you use a dry core aerator, the only time you should water your lawn is when it is very dry (which is not recommended).

Final Thoughts.

It might appear to be a lot of work to aerate your lawn, but take it from us: it’s well worth the effort! This straightforward action results in a multitude of positive outcomes, including enhancements to drainage and reductions in compaction, improvements to nutrient absorption, and stronger root systems, to name just a few. Furthermore, once you have mastered the technique, you’ll find that it’s not actually all that challenging! What exactly are you looking forward to? Get out there and begin the process of aerating the soil! Your grass lawn will be grateful to you for doing so.

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