Aeration is a widely practiced technique to maintain the nutrition levels and overall health of the soil bed. Lawn aeration refers to a method of aerating the soil or increasing its oxygen absorption and retention capacity. More oxygen and consequently, moisture and nutrients are sourced towards the root system of the grass. People planning aeration of their gardens can choose across different techniques that can be used for this purpose. Lawn aerator shoes are not recommended because the small size of the spikes can actually compact the soil further.
Aeration commonly refers to the process of using manual or mechanized equipment to either puncture the soil with spikes (spike aeration) or remove approximately 1″ x 2″ cores of soil from the ground (core aeration). Aeration may be overlooked when trying to restore a lawn but is vital to bring it back to health. It improves drainage and reduces puddles formation.
Spike aeration involves the use of an aeration machine with spikes up to a foot or more in length. It is sometimes used to address drainage issues in areas with turf. Core aeration is done on turf areas as a means of reducing turf compaction, reducing thatch buildup, improving the infiltration of water/nutrients, and creating an environment where grass seed can have direct contact with the soil.
There are many types of lawn aerators including stand up models, ride on versions and tractor pulled versions.
Soil impaction occurs when there is heavy use from athletic activities, pets, vehicle traffic and parking. Soil compacting forces are most severe in poorly drained or wet sites. Compaction greatly reduces the pore space within the soil that would normally hold air. Roots require oxygen to grow and absorb nutrients and water. Compaction reduces total pore space and the amount of air within the soil. This results in poor top growth and lawn deterioration
Reasons to aerate your lawn:
*Your lawn is heavily used or driven upon on a regular basis.
*The thatch layer is in excess of 1/2 inch.
*You have a heavy clay soil.
It is extremely difficult to core aerate heavy clay soils or soils that have stones, rocks or tree roots below the soil surface.
When aerating be sure to mark sprinkler heads, shallow lines from sprinkler, underground utilities, cable, and septic lines to ensure they will not be damaged.
Soil cores are best left on the lawn surface; they typically work back into the grass in 2-4 weeks.Lawns may be fertilized and seeded immediately following aeration with or without further soil top dressing.If your soil is heavily compacted, you can apply stable, mature compost 1/4 inch deep. Rake the compost over the lawn, filling the aeration holes.Lawns can be aerated once a year, especially under heavy use conditions