Determining and Preparing Lawn for Aeration
If grass has not been looking its best or water has a hard time penetrating down to the soil’s surface it may be time to aerate. Lawn resting in clay soils or have heavy foot traffic is prone to becoming compacted, causing them to need aeration more often. To determine if this is needed dig out a portion of the lawn– if the roots do not extend past two inches of the soil’s surface it may need to be aerated.
Preparing the Lawn for Aeration
To begin preparation, water the area thoroughly one to two days before aerating by applying at least one inch of water to the grass. This will help the aerator machine to better penetrate the soil. Next, inspect the area and mark irrigation heads and other hidden objects. It is important to note that lawns which have been seeded or sodded within the past year should not be aerated and the best time to perform this process is during grass’s active growth period depending on climate and grass type.
Aerating the Lawn
Once proper preparations have been made, it is time to aerate the grass. Mechanical aerators are generally the best piece equipment to use for this task – the hollow tines will pull soil cores from the ground where spiked aerator systems can actually compact the grass more. For the best results, run the mechanical aerator over the lawn in such a way that the entire area is covered with only one pass. If you cannot afford a mechanical aerator, there are also manual ones, but dig in for a long and physical day of work. Walking over freshly aerated soil can reverse any work the mechanical aerator may have done.
Post Aeration Steps
Once the area has been aerated, sprinkle compost, sand, or peat moss over the lawn to help fill in the holes left by the aerator. If grass needs to be planted, the best time to spread seed and fertilizer is after aeration – newly regenerated soil is the best environment for grass seed to grow and flourish. Soil cores can remain in the grass to decompose, or racked up and placed in a compost area. If left in the grass, it generally takes two to four weeks for full decomposition.
A freshly aerated lawn looks healthy and rejuvenated. This process also creates the perfect environment to keep grass strong and even grow need seeds without having to use expensive chemicals or new sod. With proper preparation, the right machinery and finishing the process correctly, aerating your lawn is a simple, quick way to help keep your backyard looking great!