Aeration Timing – When to Do It
When lawns are in the growing season aeration has the most positive impact. Aeration creates holes, removes dirt and grass roots. During the annual growth phase of a lawn grass it can expand its root system after aeration is completed. It is recommended that aeration be done on lawns with warm season types of grass during the latter part of the spring and for laws with cool season types of grass aeration should be done right when spring kicks off or when the season turns to fall.
The Aeration Dilemma – Spike vs. Plug
There are currently two types of lawn aeration tools, the spike or the plug. A spike aerator tool punctures the grass with a solid piece of steel, creating a hole straight down. A plug aerator creates a plug of grass and soil by removing a small core. The top method for lawn aeration is a plug aerator. Spike aerators are okay, but it probably causes more damage to a lawn than create a benefit because it causes more soil compaction than aeration.
Seek out a plug aerator machine that removes plugs that are 3 inches in depth and ½ to ¾ inches in circumference. A plug aerator machine can be found at your local equipment rental store or at a local home improvement store. Be sure to follow the exact instructions provided with the machine when using it. The goal in aerating your lawn is to create the most beneficial outcome when the job is finished.
Steps to Follow Aerating Your Lawn
Once you’ve made your assessment about aerating your lawn and you’ve determined it makes good sense to do it, follow these steps below:
- Take the necessary steps to add moisture to your lawn. Trying to aerate a lawn that has no moisture will do more harm than good. Aerating it will be very difficult and it will tear up the lawn and soil. Water the day before hand and you’ll be glad you did. If it rains the night before you aerate that will work as well.
- Aeration machines are small, so it will take multiple trips back and forth to aerate your entire lawn. Don’t be shy about using the machine to its fullest capacity. Bring extra gasoline home for fill ups to make sure you have enough fuel for the machine to complete the job.
- Aerating your lawn with a plug aerator will leave many plugs on your lawn. Leave them on the lawn. The plugs ill dry up eventually and disintegrate. The soil from the disintegrated plugs will fill in throughout the lawn and make up for the holes created from aerating. To speed up the process of the plugs falling apart, run over them with your lawn mower a few times or rake them together, then break them up with the back of shovel. After they’re broken up, rake the soil evenly across the lawn for fill. The soil will help your lawn improve with fresh nutrient rich soil.
- A suburban or urban legend out there theorizes that if you aerate it will ruin the positive impact of any herbicide applied beforehand. It’s like any other “urban legend” or “suburban legend”, it happens to be totally untrue. The weed control you added to your lawn before aerating will not be impacted at all.
- Post Aeration Action Plan – Keep up the good work on your lawn, just like usual, with watering, fertilization and regular scheduled mowing.
A nice-looking lawn can look even better when it’s aerated on an annual basis. It’s not a hard task and all it takes is a bit of learning before hand and completion of basics tasks to do the job the right way. If your lawn indicates the signs it needs aerating, go ahead and do it. Your lawn will improve, look nicer, get healthier and become even more enjoyable.
For additional tips about Albuquerque landscaping and aeration, give R & S Landscaping a call at 505-271-8419.