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Lawn aeration has become increasingly popular in our lawns in recent years. Perfect lawns are not just about sowing and mowing. Standards and expectations are rising, and if you do things right, aeration becomes necessary. You don’t want your neighbor’s grass to be greener, do yours? So in this article, we will tell you what is the best time and how to aerate your lawn.
Lawn aeration is carried out with aeration machines before fertilization or irrigation to balance the effects of trampling and rolling the lawn. On larger areas aeration is carried out with special rollers with spikes, and on smaller areas, aeration can be achieved by using special shoes with spikes, machines for aerating the lawn with rotating tines, special rakes with knives or ordinary pitchforks. Aeration is best to carry out in spring and autumn.
What is lawn aeration, why, how and when to do it, find out in our post today.
Lawn aeration – the key to the vitality of grassland
Lawns are often found on soil that is not sandy enough, so too little air penetrates to the roots. Then comes asphyxia, that is the extinction of the plant, in this case, grass, and it occurs due to lack of oxygen in the soil.
Lawn aeration is carried out to balance the effect of treading and rolling the lawn. It is advisable to apply it by machines for aeration (ventilation), before fertilization or irrigation. It can be fun if you have the right, high-quality tools to make your job easier.
On gardens, that is smaller surfaces, aeration can be achieved by the use of special tools, lawn aeration machines with or without rotary teeth, and special rakes with knives. On larger surfaces (sports fields or golf courses) aerification is carried out with special rollers with spikes that ventilate the soil at a depth of 0.8-1 inch.
What is the best time for aeration?
Aeration is best to do in the fall. After summer mowing, a layer of dead grass has emerged on the lawn during the growing season, which has not completely decomposed and now has a detrimental effect on grass growth. This layer also called felt, creates favorable conditions for the development of diseases and pests. Therefore, at the beginning of the growing season, it is necessary to vertically cut the lawn with special machines (if it is a large lawn) or hand tools similar to a knife rake (if the lawn is smaller). It is necessary to cut the soil to a depth of 0.8-1 inch, and the accumulated felt to be raked and removed.
Where the grass is weak or has dried parts, it is necessary to rake well, remove dry grass and loosen the surface of the soil with rakes.
What to use for aeration?
Lawn aerators are machines that perform vertical lawn cutting with knives or springs. Very useful machines.
The motor ones are the best solution, but also the most expensive. The profitability of the purchase is questionable if you will use them once a year. They are purchased primarily by professionals for use every day. Or, for small lawns, people with excess money and lack of experience that want to impress their neighbors. They will use it once and then store it somewhere in the shed because they don’t want to rake after work.
The electric ones are a cheaper option, there are plenty of quality models. It is a disadvantage to pull the cables – be careful not to aerate them as the electricity will aerate you.
Basically, the aerator is a machine that should be used several times a year. Better anything than none.
I use the electric one almost all year long – whenever I find it necessary. I use it to pull out dead grass. I adjust the height so it almost doesn’t touch the ground, it just combs the grass. Namely, after various stresses (a type of fertilization, lack of water, excess water, disease, etc.), the grass reacts so that its lower side leaves begin to turn yellow. Immediately new ones start to grow and grow, but those yellows remain and need to be addressed.
Whenever possible, buy an aerator with a basket. You don’t have to pick grass as it will be thrown into the basket.
I also use the aerator when preparing the soil for sowing, it serves as a small cutter. When sowing, the bottom of the soil should be stable and firm, and the top 0.4 inches should be dust. The results are excellent. Knives wear out quite quickly with such use, which is no wonder considering the turning speed and hard surface. Aerators by their nature are not designed for this, so be careful and “have a feeling” – this use makes it easy to damage the machine, burn the belt or even worse, the engine.
Hand-held aerators are a very good way of aerating. Provided you have a good tool. You can’t do this with bad tools. It’s tiring and hard work.
With a manual aerator it is a serious business. Get ready for the blisters and cursing the person who talked you into it. But without further ado, it has enormous effects. I’m always surprised how much dead grass I manage to pull out, and at first glance, it seems like it isn’t even there.
Do not use ordinary rakes on the lawn. They will just rip, tear and stall, and you will lose the will to work. Without the right tools, there is no craft.
There are also shoe accessories on the market, ones with spikes. Like, as you walk and work, you immediately make holes. This works until you come across the first stone in the ground and twist your leg, and while you are falling you get stabbed with the other leg and end up in an ambulance. So it’s not functional – don’t buy. Unless you have a 20 ft² lawn.
A spiked roller is also a good option, who has the patience and knowledge to make in the garage.
There is another method of aeration, quite different. It works with machines that are designed to make a lot of stabbing into the ground while ejecting plugs of grass and soil. There are holes in the soil that are filled with sand. These machines are expensive and unprofitable for small areas. However, this procedure is an extremely desirable procedure at least once every few years.
How to aerate your lawn?
The grass should be cut as low as your current condition allows. The lower you mow, the less work you will need to clean it, but the longer it will take to recover and vice versa. Adjust the blades to penetrate the ground 0.4-0.8 inches, again depending on the substrate. Observe and listen to the engine on this basis, adjusting parameters – pushing speed, depth, etc. The point is that the blades eject dead grass and prune the ground to allow more air, water, and light to reach the roots and thus encourage the plant to plow, ultimately results in a denser lawn.
By aerating in the fall, you can hardly go wrong, because grass growth is intense and even your mistakes cannot prevent it. If you try to do this in the summer and do not have irrigation, you will only see your lawn again in the fall.
Cross the lawn along and across. The pushing speed must be less than the speed at which you push the mower.
When you already have cuttings made from knives in the lawn, it is a real pity not to sow with seeds. You will spend some time and some money and the result will be great. Sprinkle the seeds and water well – the water will push the seeds into the holes.
For various reasons, some types of grass pull away or disappear from the lawn, so after a while, on the lawn, you no longer have the same ratio that was in the bag when you sowed.
Otherwise, it will take a few years after the new lawn is erected to get it right, so don’t worry if your first year is not at your will. Autumn is the time when even the worst lawns look good – weeds stop growing, there is plenty of moisture, moving bushes. Don’t let that skyrocket you think you’re an expert – just look at your lawn picture from summer months. It is an indicator of your level of knowledge.
And now you know more about aeration, how to aerate your lawn and what is the best time to do it.