Importance of Lawn Aeration

The solid hard ground is punctured with numerous holes to loosen up the soil and the process is called Aeration. Due to regular foot traffic as well as precipitation, the little mud particles get packed together in the soil and thus producing a hard ground for the lawns. Lawns grown on the hard compact soil are generally paler, thinner and weaker to resist heat and insect infestation. Aeration is the best remedy by which the roots get stronger, nutrients and water is better absorbed by the soil and resulting in a lush green and healthier lawn.

A variety of motorized aerator machines are commercially available. One of the superior motorized aerators is the Punch core aerator.  It resembles an apple corer in action and brings out big cores of soil (about 3 inches) from the ground with the help of spoon like hollow tines. Air pockets get created in the soil and compost/manure may be put to fill those pockets and thus, improving the structure and fertility of the soil. Solid-tine spike aerators, on the other hand, are not so effective and mostly harden the soil instead of loosening it. They insert narrow rods into the soil and do not pull out any chunks of soil thus, making the soil more compact.

Aeration is done in a criss-cross manner over the ground.  The machine is, at first, directed in a single direction and the whole lawn is covered. Then, the machine is placed at right angles to the previous direction and again the whole lawn is covered. The ideal would be 12 holes per square foot area of the lawn. The occurrence of large chunks of soil on the ground is helpful to decompose thatch and these chunks should be dried and then pulverized.

Lawns need aeration once or twice in a year. Fall is best suited for aeration. During this time grasses are ready to go on a growth overdrive. Type of grass decides the exact month of aeration though. For example September and October are good for Fescue grasses; April is good for Centipede and Bermuda grasses etc. Summer months owing to their inherent dryness are best avoided as aerating this time will stress out the lawn more. Seasons known to support weed growth are also to be avoided since aeration this time may usher in army of weeds into the lawn. Weak lawns are more vulnerable to weed growth when they are aerated. Therefore weed killer or herbicides should be applied on such lawns when they are aerated.

A set of pre and post aeration activities are to be followed when aerating a lawn. Pre aeration the lawn needs a good mowing and watering. These activities soften the soil and thus it can easily be worked on by the aerator. A properly mowed lawn means less toil for the aerator in his or her work and also in mixing the compost to the soil. Post aeration the lawn should be watered, raked and added with compost. First two activities break up the plugs created while aerating. Finally regular watering post aeration ensures that higher nutrient flow in the soil and also enhances the soil structurally. This in turn ensures that the lawn is greener and healthier than before.

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