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How, When, And Why You Should Aerate Your Lawn

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Apr 16, 2018

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Did you know that aerating your lawn can improve drainage? This is just one of the many benefits of aeration. It's a simple process that can make all the difference in the condition and appearance of your lawn. This week, let me help you learn about aerating and how it contributes to the health of your lawn.

Why Aerate Your Lawn?

Over time, your lawn's soil can become compacted. This makes it difficult for sunlight, water, and air to gain access to the roots of your grass. Poking holes in your lawn, or aerating, allows the sunlight, water, and air to seep down to the grass roots. All of this nourishment in the springtime leads to a beautiful lawn of green, healthy grass through the warm-weather months.

How to Aerate Your Lawn

When it comes to aerating your lawn, you have some options. You can go with a power, push, or handheld lawn aerator. There are even special spiked shoes you can buy that aerate your lawn as you walk across it! Whatever method you choose, be sure the soil is moist, not wet, before you begin the process. I suggest running a quick test with the help of a small garden trowel. Stick the trowel into the soil and pull it out. If the soil falls off of the blade, then it's OK to aerate. If it sticks to the blade, then the soil is too wet. Moist soil allows the spikes of the aerator to travel deep into the ground. Start at one side of your lawn and move across it with your aerator. When you reach the other side of your lawn, turn around and aerate on your way back to the starting point. Aerating in two directions helps you cover all areas of your lawn. As you pull the plugs of soil up out of your lawn, drop them on the grass as you go. They will decompose, giving the soil even more nutrients.

When to Aerate Your Lawn

When you aerate depends on whether you have warm- or cool-season grass. If you have warm-season grass, such as centipede grass or carpet grass, then it's best to aerate late in the springtime. Alternatively, fall or early spring is best if you have cool-season grass such as Kentucky bluegrass. Aerating should be done in mild temperatures so that grass has a chance to grow back and fill up the holes.

How Often Should I Aerate?

The answer to this question depends on the amount of traffic on your lawn. Maybe you have kids or grandkids constantly running and playing on your lawn. This type of activity can lead to soil compaction, so aerating once a year would be appropriate. However, if your lawn has very little traffic, aerating it every three to five years should be fine.

You might even want to get your kids or grandkids to help you with aeration this year. They can each work with a handheld aerator. It's a great opportunity to teach them how to keep grass healthy!

Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: aerate your lawn

Aerate Your Lawn In 5 Easy Steps

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Nov 12, 2016

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By early autumn, many people have put aside their lawn care duties until next spring. But November is the perfect time to aerate your lawn. Aerating your lawn is a relatively simple task that can pay off for you when spring rolls around again next year. Discover some facts about aeration and the specific steps involved in the process to try it out before the ground freezes.

The Facts on Aerating Your Lawn

When you aerate your lawn, you're putting holes in the soil so that water, air, and nutrients have easy access to the roots of the grass. This helps the roots to grow strong so you can enjoy a healthy lawn in the springtime. When it comes to getting this job done, you have a few options. You can push a manual aerator across your lawn or get an electric aerator that does a lot of the physical work for you. Regardless of which option you choose, early November is a great time to aerate. The soil is still warm at this time of year, which gives fertilizer and other nutrients adequate time to penetrate the grass roots and prompt healthy growth.

Five Easy Steps for Aerating a Lawn

  1. Check Your Lawn's Moisture Level. It's best to aerate your lawn when the soil is moist and soft. So take a walk around your lawn to evaluate its condition. If it needs moisture, use a hose to sprinkle water evenly over the grass. Do this for two or three days before starting the aeration process.
  2. Make an Aeration Plan. It's important to create an aeration plan so you don't skip any portion of your lawn. Use a piece of scrap paper to draw a path for the even rows you'll make across your lawn. If there's a particular area that is heavily traveled by kids, adults, and pets, go over it a second time with your aerator.
  3. Use a Rake on the Dirt Plugs. After you aerate your lawn, you'll see a collection of dirt plugs scattered throughout your yard. As these dirt plugs break down, they release valuable nutrients back into your soil. Allow the dirt plugs to dry, and then use your garden rake to break them up so they can nourish the soil. I flip my garden rake over on its back to make breaking up the dirt plugs a little bit easier.
  4. Apply Compost or Other Fertilizer to Your Lawn. Putting compost on your lawn is another way to ensure its health next spring. The fertilizer will be easily absorbed into your lawn via the holes you've made. Also, you can add an herbicide to your lawn to lessen the growth of weeds that you have to deal with in the spring.
  5. Continue to Nurture the Health of Your Lawn. It's a good idea to water your lawn after aerating it in November. This is especially important if you go through some long periods without rain in your area. Rake up any stray leaves that fall onto your lawn so your grass has plenty of access to sunlight and rain.

Remember that aerating your lawn now can help you enjoy it even more in the springtime! Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: aerate your lawn

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