Aerate – Why and When
You may have heard it’s almost time to aerate your lawn, but you might not know what that means. Why go through all the trouble, and when should you go through it? The simple answer: it’s a little more complicated than that.
In a nutshell, aeration lets your lawn absorb water and nutrients from fertilizer easier. But there are several schools of thought on when to aerate, and every lawn’s nutritional needs and soil problems are a little different. Here are some more simple answers to the questions you’ll have to start asking yourself before you tackle your next aeration project.
Reason 1 – Cuts through compacted soil and lawn thatch
No matter how much care you’ve taken of your lawn, these problem areas will often pop up and will have a harder time absorbing the nutrients they need. Aerating will create an opening straight into the core of your soil, even in the tougher spots where the soil is more compact and where thatch has built up over past seasons. In areas with dense, clay-heavy soil, aeration is essential to keeping your grass properly fed and hydrated.
Reason 2 – Helps those heavy-traffic areas stay healthy
Do you struggle keeping patches of lawn with higher foot-traffic flourishing and healthy? These areas need plenty of aeration to keep up; their compacted soil bases can’t soak up as much fertilizer as the more untouched areas. A hefty aeration session – and keeping feet off the lawn during the healing process – will do wonders for these sickly patches.
When to Aerate?
The biggest question of timing comes down to two options: should you aerate in the spring, or the fall? There are different benefits for both, but one could argue that either would work for any lawn. It all comes down to preference.
Spring – For warm-season grasses, a spring aeration is a great way to prep the lawn for summer and give it a jump start on the way to green glory. It will especially help prepare your lawn for withstanding summer dry spells. You’ll have to wait until your soil has thawed, and for any subsequent winter freezes to be unlikely (though it won’t ruin your lawn if you’re caught by a surprise cold spell). The main downside for certain fast-growing breeds is that, if your timing isn’t right, a spurt of growth will fill up all the holes you punched and make any aeration benefits short-lived.
Fall – This helps nip lawn thatch in the bud and will make everything easier come springtime. Many argue that fall aeration is even more nutritionally beneficial than spring aeration. This might be because the grasses are in the process of adapting their root areas to prepare for colder months, and catching them in this enhanced state gives them a straight shot of nutrition that will continue to do good for them when the weather warms up.
Where to Start?
In the end, is it really all as simple as poking holes in your grass? Technically, yes. But taking a skewer to your lawn won’t ensure proper coverage and might end up being more work for you. You can rent a lawn aerator to help you administer a more thorough “core aeration,” or reach out to us to help you with your spring or fall aeration. However you choose to go about it, make sure you do it early enough to see the benefits and keep up on your watering and fertilizing schedule! You’ll be blessed with a beautiful lawn for longer, thanks to your efforts.