Over time, the soil that lies underneath a lawn settles and becomes highly compacted, which can cause quite a bit of problems for today’s homeowners. A compacted lawn is more likely to produce runoff, which means it will resist absorbing moisture and nutrients. This, in turn, can cause the lawn to be malnourished and insufficiently hydrated, leading to brown patches even during ideal summer weather conditions. Aerating the lawn, though it takes a lot of work, is actually pretty simple and can save homeowners a significant number of headaches as the summer season wears on.
So, What is Lawn Aeration, Exactly?
As its name might imply, lawn aeration is all about opening new channels within the lawn that expose the soil to air, moisture, and key nutrients. This procedure requires a piece of power equipment known as an aerator, which comes with sharp and precise tines that deliberately puncture the soil and loosen it up. These punctured areas restore nutrient pathways and ensure that the lawn can be as receptive as possible to the nutrients and moisture it needs to develop strong roots, resist summer heat, and guard against the dangers of runoff. When performed early or late in the season, aeration sets the lawn up for more durable growth during late spring and all of summer.
Should I Be Aerating My Lawn?
The answer to this question is decidedly “maybe,” although there are a few clear-cut scenarios where the lawn should certainly be subjected to aeration during the spring or fall. These common scenarios include all of the following:
– If the lawn sat underneath a significant amount of snow throughout the winter, this likely compacted the soil significantly. As a result, the turf could have problems properly absorbing moisture and nutrients as the snow melts and the weather warms up.
– Lawns that serve as common recreation areas for pets, children, and adults, often need to be aerated at least once per year. The activity that takes place on the turf does cause the soil to become harder and denser, but regular aeration will preserve the grass and permit proper delivery of key materials.
– Newly constructed homes often require aeration several times, since construction equipment can compact the soil. New construction also sees changes to the stratification of topsoil and subsoil, which can cause nutrient delivery problems in warmer weather. Aeration in the fall and spring will help alleviate these problems and allow the lawn to grow stronger over time.
– Most lawns that originated from a sod installation will require aeration for a few years afterward. This typically is required because of differences in the soil that arise when the sod is placed, which might make it hard for the roots to extend into the soil that existed prior to the sod installation.
What is the Best Time to Aerate the Lawn?
The lawn requires aeration during the growing season, which means homeowners should not perform the process after the first frost or before the spring thaw. Generally, “cool” season grasses should be aerated in the early spring or late fall, while “warm” season grasses can be aerated until late spring or toward the very beginning of the fall season. Aeration generally is not performed in the summer due to potentially dry or stormy conditions that could cause issues with the newly created nutrient pathways.
What are the Equipment Options for Aeration?
Typically, aerators can be found in two basic types. The first of these is a standalone aerator that looks somewhat similar to a very large lawn mower. Standalone aerators can be purchased in numerous sizes and shapes, designed to produce excellent results in smaller lawns, larger residential areas, and even commercial settings.
Another popular type of aerator comes in the form of a lawn mower attachment. This saves homeowners space and money, and simply attaches to an existing riding mower to perform the job with ease. Aerators can also be purchased with two kinds of tines. Tines with a spike design simply puncture the soil, while those with a plug design actually puncture the soil and remove a “soil plug” so that a larger pathway is created.
How to Aerate the Lawn Properly
The typical aerator will only cover a small portion of the lawn on the first pass, and key areas may be left out. For this reason, most experts recommend making at least two passes over each part of the lawn for maximum effectiveness. In addition to aerating only during the spring and fall, homeowners should make sure that they perform this task on moist soil so that it is most effective. Aerators with “plug” tines will produce quite a bit of excess soil on the surface; once those removed plugs have dried, pass over them with a lawn mower to break them up and restore the lawn’s aesthetic appeal.
Trust Ralph Helm, Inc. for Aeration Equipment and Parts
Customers in Elgin and Crystal Lake, IL, can trust RalphHelmInc.com to supply them with the knowledge, equipment, and parts they need to successfully aerate the lawn and undo dangerous compaction that could otherwise put the turf at risk. Whether it’s a brand new aerator from one of today’s top brands, or the OEM replacement parts needed to maintain an older aerator that has competently done the job for many seasons, it can be easily searched and secured at the RalphHelmInc.com website.