Aerating your lawn is one of the best and quickest ways to promote new growth because it stimulates root development. Over time, the soil under your lawn can become compacted, and the layer in between your grass and dirt (thatch) can also build up. The grass struggles to get nutrients, grow, and protect itself from heat or low rainfall. Aeration creates thousands of tiny holes in the soil that allows fertilizer, air, and water to reach the roots.
Here’s how to aerate your lawn:
Step 1: Determine the best time to aerate
The best time to aerate is at the start of the peak growing season. You never want to aerate dormant lawns. For cool-season grasses, the best time to aerate is early fall.
Step 2: Assess your lawn’s condition
Your lawn may need aeration if you have a lot of clay in your soil, if it dries out quickly, if you recently had construction, or if your family and pets are constantly running around and playing in the yard. To examine it, dig up a square-foot section of your lawn, about 6 inches deep. Ideally, the grass’s roots should extend more than two inches deep into the soil; if it doesn’t, your lawn will benefit from aeration. You can also try inserting a screwdriver into the grass. If the screwdriver meets resistance, you have compacted soil.
Step 3: Prepare your lawn
The moisture level of your lawn is vital for aeration. Too dry, and the soil is tough to puncture with the holes. But overly wet soil isn’t good either. You want the soil to have about an inch of irrigation, either by rain or watering, in the day or two before you aerate. This will help the aerator penetrate and pull up the soil. Of course, you will also want to inspect your lawn and mark anything, such as hidden irrigation heads, so that you can avoid running the aerator over them.
Step 4: Aerating your lawn
Aerating your lawn does require special equipment, which you can usually rent. There are three types of aerators – spike, slice, and core or plug. The differences have to do with how the aerator works. Think drilling spikes in the ground or rotating blades that slice into the soil. Lawn professionals typically prefer core or plug aerators.
You don’t need to aerate much; even a layer of just a ¼ to ½ inch can be the difference between a healthy, lush lawn and one that struggles to grow. Move the aerator back and forth over the yard, just like mowing, with several passes in different directions. Spend a little more time on problem areas.
Step 5: What to do post-aeration
Once aerated, let the soil plugs fall where they land and leave them to breakdown in the rain or the next time you mow the lawn. This adds beneficial nutrients back to the soil. Now is also a great time to seed and fertilize your lawn because the aeration has created openings that allow the seed and nutrients to be better absorbed.
The Experts at Moyer Can Professionally Aerate Your Lawn
Aeration is one of the best things you can do for a healthy, lush lawn. It’s best done in the fall and followed up with seed and fertilizer. It does require special equipment that you can rent, or you can leave it to a professional. Our professional technicians will be glad to evaluate your lawn and recommend the service that will help you grow a healthy, lush lawn. Contact us or call us at 215-799-2016 for more information.