What Is Lawn Aeration
Aeration is the process of mechanically removing cores of turf to improve the flow of air, water and nutrients in dense, compacted soil. Soil compaction, caused by lawn traffic such as walking and mowing, is one of the greatest causes of turf deterioration. When soil is compacted, dirt particles are forced together, reducing the area where roots can grow. Aeration relieves soil compaction by improving the exchange of water and critical nutrients to grass roots.
Benefits of Lawn Aeration
- Improves air to the roots and promotes deeper root growth
- Breaks up hard clay soil
- Saves on your watering bill
- Stimulates beneficial microorganisms
- Helps the seed germinate and become established
- Creates a lush, thick, healthy lawn
Aerating New Sod
How does Lawn Aeration Work?
- Adequate amounts of vital nutrients including water, oxygen, nitrates, phosphorus, and potassium are unable to reach the roots.
- Aerators relieve soil compaction by removing evenly-spaced cores of turf up to 3 inches in depth.
- Once the soil is aerated air exchange is improved and the soil can easily absorb water, fertilizer and other nutrients.
- Aeration promotes deeper root growth for a lawn that is lush, healthy and drought resistant.
Lawn Aeration is one of the most important things you can do to get and keep a healthy lawn.
The type of aeration that I perform is called “core aeration.” I remove little plugs of soil from your lawn. This brings air down to the root zone and releases trapped gases. The length of the plug can be up to 3″ long, depending upon your soil conditions.
The plugs left on your lawn will eventually break down and feed microorganisms that help reduce thatch production. Each one of these little plugs represents a hole left in your lawn. This hole actually acts as a reservoir, holding water and therefore cutting your watering costs. In addition, each hole becomes an individual germinating chamber when aeration is combined with overseeding, in the spring and fall. If you don’t like the plugs on your lawn, you can always use a rotary lawnmower to break them up.
Aeration is usually performed twice a year.
Generally lawns that have a lot of sand in the soil only need aeration once a year. Heavily compacted lawns that have sod laid over hard clay need aeration twice a year.
Aeration can be used to improve your existing soil.
In addition to aeration, bringing in organic compost and raking it into the holes can improve your soil. When the compost breaks down, organic matter is then introduced into the clay to nourish and enrich the soil, which then encourages worms and strong root growth.
Many people ask me about adding sand after aeration.
DO NOT ADD SAND! If you have clay and add sand, sand + clay = cement! Golf courses have a mobile lab that comes out four times a year to analyze their soil composition. They know exactly what they need to do to improve their soil over time. When a homeowner haphazardly adds sand after aeration, big problems can occur. This is why I say add organic material and you will build a healthy soil profile.
Most homeowners mark their sprinkler systems before our arrival. This way we don’t destroy your sprinkler heads. We usually have irrigation flags with us that we can leave with you for future visits. Many people just use bamboo stakes or sticks the first time I visit
These plugs are an example of sod that has been laid over hardpan clay. When you examine the plugs, notice how fine the clay particles are and how shallow the roots are. You can see how it’s almost impossible for air and water to penetrate. No air and water leaves you with poor soil!
Aeration of Lawn with Sod Over Clay
For those who want to do this yourself Stewart recommends