Most people who live in colder climates have to deal with a significant amount of snow outdoors between November and April, on average. While certainly scenic, snow is not a lawn’s best friend. Over the course of several months, the weight of heavier, snowy precipitation compresses the soil and makes it very hard to penetrate. As the snow thaws, this causes the vast majority of moisture and nutrients to run off the lawn rather than be absorbed into the soil. As a result, grass can look damaged, brown, unhealthy, and quite fragile. Aeration is designed to undo the damage of soil compression and restore nutrient pathways that keep a lawn looking healthy all summer long. It’s the best way to keep a lawn thick, green, and resilient no matter the summer weather conditions that are waiting in the wings.
A Look at the Benefits of Aerating the Lawn
Lawn aeration has a number of distinct benefits that improve soil quality, turf resilience, and the overall aesthetics of outdoor areas surrounding the home. These benefits can be broken down into a few key categories, each of them equally important for long-term lawn health and turf maintenance throughout the spring, summer, and fall months of the year.
1. Reduced Runoff, Puddles, or Ponding
Because aeration softens the soil and opens up pathways to areas below the surface, water is more likely to be absorbed rather than discharged. This reduces damaging runoff that can erode lawn features, cause damage to driveways and sidewalks, and present other hassles to homeowners. It also reduces the likelihood of puddles or ponding in lower areas of the lawn, thanks to a more absorbent surface. The improved water uptake also ensures that grass isn’t dry and prone to quick death in high heat.
2. Easier Breakdown and Removal of Thatch
Compacted soil is not the only problem resulting from winter weather. Compacted grass often turns into thatch, which obscures the soil altogether and creates brown patches in the lawn if left untreated. Aerating helps with thatch breakdown, clearing the way for a dethatcher or other processes to restore the lawn’s appearance and integrity.
3. Looser Soil is Better for Turf Quality
Reducing the level of soil compaction is good for all kinds of plants, and it creates a lawn that is more absorbent, more resilient in challenging weather conditions, and even softer to walk on or sit on. Aeration improves not only the lawn’s appearance, but also its functions and its comfort for people and their pets throughout the summer season.
4. Better Response to Fertilizers
Fertilizing the lawn is a worthwhile effort that can lead to long-term health and growth during the warmest months of the year, but that effort is wasted if the fertilizer can’t reach the roots and perform its job as intended. By creating small pathways deep into the soil, homeowners are creating an “easy access route” for fertilizer that will help it equally provide health and nutrients to every individual blade of grass. This makes fertilizer even more cost effective and consequential during the early spring months. Improved access to air also helps fertilizer work, and keeps grass healthier overall.
5. Stronger Roots
Easier access to water, air, fertilizer, and key nutrients, helps to toughen the roots and give grass “staying power,” even during dry spells or on very hot days. Strong roots also lead to a thicker, fuller lawn that looks far more appeal to the eye both up-close and at a distance.
Available Aerators: Several Models to Choose From
Aerators typically come in several key varieties that function quite differently. Perhaps the most popular aerator is the walk-behind model, which looks much like a traditional lawn mower. Operators start the equipment and push it throughout the lawn, covering all turf that needs easier access to water, nutrients, fertilizer, and air. Other models attach to lawn tractors and work more as an accessory, which allows for lower up-front equipment costs and more intuitive use in conjunction with larger equipment.
Aerators themselves have different kinds of tines that do different aerating work. Customers can buy tines as short as an inch or as long as four inches, and as large in diameter as 3/4-inch. Most aerators can be found with either hollow tines, for removing soil cores, or open tines, which produce divots. Consult a sales professional for clarification on which of these models would be more appropriate for certain lawns, soil types, and ultimate goals.
Where to Find Aerators and Related Parts for Perfect Lawn Maintenance
If the time has come to undo winter’s damage to the lawn and ensure that proper nutrient pathways are restored, then it’s time to consider one of the numerous available aerator models. To learn more about how each model works and how it can benefit a different type of lawn, consider getting in touch with Ralph Helm, Inc. Located on Foothill Road in Elgin, Illinois, and at 7402 Treckler Boulevard in Crystal Lake, customers will be able to find the perfect aerator in consultation with a seasoned sales professional. They’ll also be able to find the right replacement parts, as needed, for their aerator’s needs long after completing the purchase and putting the equipment to work throughout the year.