Learning how to aerate a lawn will give you a leg-up when it comes to maintaining the greenest possible spread throughout the summer months. Fertilizing, seeding and watering are important, but sometimes a lawn requires more than the basics in order to recapture the color and vibrancy it once had. This is where aeration can step in and work wonders for the state of your grass.
You may have noticed that some areas of your lawn — specifically those where people often walk, bike or stand — don’t look quite as good as other parts. If you were to take a shovel to investigate, you’d discover that this grass simply doesn’t have the kind of root penetration needed to stay healthy. This is because the ground has become compacted over time from the constant traffic moving over it. Sometimes, the type of soil plays a role too, with clay-heavy areas more vulnerable to compaction.
Aerating your lawn is a method of providing needy roots with the oxygen needed to be healthy again. Since the soil is dense, you need to use a tool that will create channels so oxygen can reach down to the root level. A mechanical aerator, which looks like a spiked roller, is the best option for this task. Of course, as you learn how to aerate a lawn you’ll discover that not all aerators are created equal. Those that simply use spikes aren’t ideal, because they can actually compress and compact the soil even further. Instead, look for a core aerator that uses hollow tines to pull dirt and clay up and out of the lawn, rather than push it in.
How to Aerate a Lawn
When aerating your lawn, be sure to follow the correct protocol. First, water the lawn a few days before you plan to aerate. You’ll want to do a thorough watering job, because a moist lawn is easier to pull cores out of. Next, make sure you know the best time of year for aeration. Northern climates respond best at the end of summer or early fall, while warm climates prefer the spring months. Finally, after running the aeration machine over the lawn, cover it with a thin layer of sand or compost in order to protect and fill the oxygenating holes that were made.
Even if you have never attempted it before, you now have the key ideas and steps involved in aerating your lawn.
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Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.