It’s important for your lawn to breathe, to remain healthy. Each time you walk in your yard, play with the children or mow the grass, your soil is compacted. If you only use your lawn now and then, this doesn’t usually create a problem. Still, aerating your lawn once or twice a year will help in keeping your lawn disease-free and thriving.
Your lawn needs to have loose soil for more than one reason. These helpful lawn ingredients will move more easily into soil that is loose:
- Vital nutrients
In addition, grass roots can extend more easily into loose soil to extract all of these important nutrients. Aerated lawns also promote microorganisms that are helpful in breaking down thatch. Home Advisor explains that spongy thatch can block nutrients, leaving grass more vulnerable to diseases.
How Does Aeration Work?
Your landscaping service uses lawn aerators to remove plugs of soil from the lawn. This allows compacted soil room for expansion into these empty spaces. Typical aeration patterns include removing plugs that are 1/2 inch in diameter for every two to six inches in your yard. These plugs are generally from one to six inches in length. The exact dimensions will depend on your soil type and the degree to which your lawn is compacted.
Compacted soil is a problem that can lead to unhealthy lawns. Air becomes compressed from the soil’s top layer by parked cars, foot traffic, mowing, heavy rain and children playing. These lawns must have the soil opened up, and core aeration is helpful for this type of compaction.
During core aeration, your landscape company will extract soil plugs, which leaves holes by which air can enter the soil. These holes will eventually fill with organic matter and moisture. This gives your soil the proper environment for organisms to break down soil’s organic matter to provide plant nutrients.
How Often Should a Lawn Be Aerated?
The number of times per year when a lawn should be aerated depends on your soil type and grass type (http://www.fischerenv.com/lawn-horticulture/12-point-lawn-analysis/). Aerating right before seasons of growth is healthy. Your local lawn service will know when the proper time is to aerate.
If you have a lot of clay in your soil, it would be good to have it aerated twice a year. If your lawn is sand-based, you may be able to have it aerated just annually. If you use your lawn a lot for recreation, your lawn care company will advise more frequent aeration. These professionals have dealt with many types of lawns and many various degrees of compression, so they will know how often your lawn should be aerated based on their experience.
Lawns are usually aerated in spring or fall, during off seasons, to avoid shocking your lawn. If your landscape company will be overseeding, aerating is usually done first. Likewise, aeration is a good idea if new sod is planned.
What Is the Aeration Process?
Your landscape company will mow the lawn first, and then water it. Hand core aerators are used in small areas of high traffic or around areas with stepping stones or other obstacles. This will help keep bare spots at bay. The size of the holes and their spacing will be determined by your landscaping company.
Your landscaper may leave the plugs on the grass, where they are dissolved in rain, which adds nutrients to the grass. Plugs may sometimes be raked or broken up in order to speed up the rate of decomposition. It is also helpful in distributing the soil more evenly over your entire lawn.
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